Coronavirus pandemic: Order to shut malls impacts retail industry

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The retail industry is already bearing the brunt of government’s order of keeping malls closed amid rising positive cases of novel coronavirus infections.

In a drastic step to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, the Maharashtra government ordered closure of cinema halls, gyms, swimming pools and malls in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Nagpur cities from March 13 midnight.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also appealed to people to avoid visiting malls.

A similar move was earlier announced by Delhi and Karnataka government.

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The number of coronavirus patients in the country has risen to 96.

“The order of closure of malls and multiplexes across many top cities by the respective state governments to prevent people congregating for any reason, has caused the organised retail scene in these cities to come to a grinding halt,” Anuj Kejriwal, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer – ANAROCK Retail said.

According to ANAROCK Retail, the top eight main cities of India have 126 malls sprawling over 61 million sq. ft. of area, and more than 100 malls have multiplexes attached.

The recent rise in COVID-19 cases has impacted retail consumption as people avoid crowded areas, especially food and beverages, entertainment centres and shopping malls.

“Wherever it has been mandated, there will therefore be a high number of establishments that need to shut down for operations. Even short-term closures will have significant financial implications,” Kejriwal said.

“However, what matters more is that these establishments attract massive footfalls. In a health crisis like the coronavirus pandemic, shutting them down can be a major step forward in terms of harm-prevention,” he added.

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