The Haryana government’s decision to revise the days on which shops and malls are to remain closed every week — from Saturday and Sunday to Monday and Tuesday — has given malls and markets in Gurgaon a “lifeline” as they struggle to attract business.
To curb the spike in Covid cases, the Haryana government issued orders on August 21 for weekend closure of public and private offices, malls and shops not dealing in essential services. On Friday, however, fresh directions were issued stating that “shopping malls and shops, except those dealing with essential goods and services” would have to remain closed on Monday and Tuesday instead. “Accordingly, there is no bar on opening of shops and shopping malls on Saturday and Sunday in these areas,” states the order.
Officials from malls and office-bearers of market associations, though still incurring losses, said the two-day closure will not impact them as badly.
“This is much better than the weekend closure. Most of our sales have been happening on Saturday and Sunday since the lockdown; if we had to be shut on those days, the losses would be a lot more. However, staying closed on any day means a loss as malls have their own expenses. We pay Rs 40-Rs 50 per square foot as maintenance, salaries of employees are higher than at normal markets, and so are the rentals,” said Aman Bajaj, a member of the MGF Metropolitan Mall Association. “Our desire is we get full working hours so we can meet our costs… but it is better the government keep Monday and Tuesday closed and give us the weekend,” he said.
An official from Ambience Mall said: “The impact of this two-day closure will not be so much as these are the first days of the week and people usually don’t venture out to malls and markets on these days.” He added that at Ambience Mall, footfall has improved significantly in the “last four-five weekends”, with around 35,000-37,000 people visiting on weekends— an improvement from July when malls were allowed to reopen. At Galleria market , officials said the situation is close to normalcy but were apprehensive that such lockdowns may undo the progress made in the last two months. Neeraj Yadav, head of the Galleria Market Association said, “This will also have a long-term impact…tenants may insist on reducing rent or ask for waivers, there will be disputes, and more shops may get vacated.”
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