Malls and restaurants in Noida and Ghaziabad will open with limited capacity starting Monday, as part of un-lockdown measures. With Covid cases dipping in Uttar Pradesh, the state government last week had decided to announce more relaxations. However, weekend lockdown will continue in the state.
Noida reported 10 Covid cases on Sunday, with the tally of active cases coming down to 137. Ghaziabad, in the last 24 hours, reported 4 cases, with 83 active cases across the district.
According to the guidelines, restaurants will be allowed to function with 50% capacity between Monday and Friday. Eating joints are supposed to put ‘do not sit’ markings on seats that are supposed to be left vacant, the order states.
Shopping malls have been instructed to have pulse oximeters and thermal screening at the entrance, while a Covid helpdesk needs to be set up on the premises. Mall authorities have been tasked to ensure less crowding in shops and common areas. All establishments will be allowed to function between 7 am and 9 pm on weekdays.
As per the latest orders, zoos and archaeological sites will also be allowed to open as per their usual timings.
The administration and police will carry out surprise inspections to check crowding and violation of Covid protocols. In case a district reports more than 500 active cases, all relaxations will be taken back and a lockdown will be placed again, said the orders.
The opening up of restaurants has come as a massive relief since these businesses have been relying on delivery and takeaways as their primary source of revenue. With establishments having already opened in other parts of NCR, the associations believe that relaxations will only increase in the times to come if protocols are followed.
“We welcome the move because the restaurant industry has been really struggling, and UP is no exception. It can be said that limited timing does hamper operations because most people prefer to reach restaurants a little later in the evening. But it will only get better from here because some revenue will trickle. The restaurants will try their best to maintain distancing and regulations so that full capacity seating will be allowed,” said Anurag Katriar, president of National Restaurant Association of India.
While markets had already been allowed in the previous orders, malls will be opening doors for the first time in three months. Mall authorities are not expecting a higher footfall in the days ahead, but they say that with increased vaccination crowds are set to increase by next month.
“Footfall will increase eventually. Delhi malls have been operating between 30-40% of the crowd, and it will take some time to increase that figure. As holidays and festivals approach, more people will venture out to malls. Many malls in Noida and Ghaziabad are using Aarogya Setu app and other measures to ensure checking and social distancing. The un-lockdown is an important step for shopping complexes,” said Amit Lokatia, CEO of Park +, which provides social distancing solutions to GIP and Pacific Mall in Ghaziabad.