Bengaluru: Malls, eateries limping back to life

Reopening after 75 days of Covid-induced lockdown on June 8 (Monday), shopping malls and eateries in this tech city are limping back to business, with rising footfalls and steady customers, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing as per the government guidelines.

“Footfalls are slowly increasing by the day with more in the evening though business in shops is yet to pick up. Due to restriction on allowing only 50 per cent of the capacity at a time, footfalls are certainly not what they were before the lockdown was enforced,” Phoenix Market City mall manager Mohan told IANS here.

Located in the upscale Whitefield of the city’s south-east suburb, the sprawling mall has about 330 shops, kiosks, food courts, restaurants and theatres.

“As food courts and cinema theatres remain shut, there is a 50 per cent drop in footfalls from the pre-lockdown days. Guideline to regulate the entry and movement of customers inside the mall for shopping has also limited the footfall, as not many people are willing to wait in queues outside, especially those with family, including children,” said Mohan.

Admitting that some shops in the mall were yet to reopen as they need to replace stocks (merchandise), Mohan said there was more window-shopping than real buying as customers were wary of spending.

“As visiting malls is more than shopping, especially for the young and trendy, many customers are uncomfortable wearing mask, waiting for entry, washing hands with sanitizer, facing thermal scanner and maintaining physical distance even if they are couples. Shopping experience is missing,” lamented Mohan.

Echoing Mohan, Forum Mall manager said the people’s response since the reopening was encouraging but not exciting due to guidelines with more don’ts than dos although they were returning to malls after being stranded at home for over 70 days, which never happened before.

“We have about 80-100 shops, mostly branded showcasing and selling a variety of goods from clothes, readymade garments, cosmetics, footwear, novelties to electronics and consumer products. With food courts and cinema halls in the mall still closed, footfalls are about 40 per cent of our capacity,” said the manager on the condition of anonymity.

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