The Gurgaon administration Wednesday directed all shopping malls in the district to remain closed until March 31 as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus outbreak. The move comes three days after the Haryana government directed all schools, colleges, gyms, clubs, cinema halls and theatres in the state to remain shut until month-end.
The order, issued in the evening, also restricts any gathering in Gurgaon to a “maximum of 50 persons”.
District Magistrate Amit Khatri has directed several other activities to be “suspended” until March 31, including “the operations of weekly bazaars, shopping malls, except pharmacies, medical establishments, grocery stores and supermarkets”.
This decision was made earlier in the day at a meeting involving officials from the district administration, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS) of Health and Family Welfare, Rajiv Arora, who was also appointed nodal officer for COVID-19 Wednesday morning, and representatives of hospitals, restaurant associations, and National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM).
Although the order directed that the direction be adopted with immediate effect, malls in the city continued to operate Wednesday evening.
An official from the MG Road Mall Association said, “Malls have just received the notice, so from tomorrow we will close down. Right now, there are customers in malls. If we start to suddenly close, it may create panic. We don’t want that, so we will stop entry for customers and shopkeepers from tomorrow.” He added that employees will continue to be paid.
At Ambience Mall, too, officials said shops would be closed from Thursday. “We have just received the order, and will implement it from tomorrow. Everything at Ambience will be closed until March 31, except Big Bazaar and the medical facility we have for customers, until further directions,” said an official.
At shops, meanwhile, confusion prevailed among employees, with many saying they have not received any direction from mall authorities or the companies they work for. “We have all heard of the order, but the people at the mall have not told us how they will implement it, neither has the company; so we do not know whether we have to remain open tomorrow,” said a salesperson at a clothing store in Ambience Mall.
Wednesday’s order also directs spas, multiplexes, bars, and lounges to remain shut. In addition, it directs that all restaurants having in-dining facilities restrict “capacity to less than 50 seats”. It also directs public dealings at government offices to be minimised.
Although salons, beauty parlours, and grooming centres have been allowed to continue their operations, the DM has directed their owners to decontaminate and sanitise their premises “frequently and regularly”, and ensure availability of hand sanitisers at entry gate. Private cab operators have similarly been directed to decontaminate and sanitise their cabs and ensure hand sanitisers are available in their vehicles.
While the Haryana government had on Sunday prohibited gatherings of more than 200 people across the state, with two cases of coronavirus emerging in Gurgaon since, the DM reduced this figure to 50.
The DM further stated : “Any person contravening this order shall be punishable u/s 188 of IPC. Commissioner of Police, Gurugram shall implement this order.”