Mumbai: Malls shut after two days of operations | Mumbai News – Times of India


MUMBAI: Two days after starting operations, most major malls in Mumbai shut down on Tuesday.
Many said they went by the BMC chief IS Chahal’s directions that allowed staff of malls to enter even if they had one vaccine dose.
But with the state government’s August 16 notification stating that all employees including managers and housekeeping staff of malls must have completed 14 days after receiving both the doses, they have decided to shut down malls again.
In the western suburbs malls like Inorbit and Infiniti at Malad, Growel’s 101 Mall in Kandivali, and in the eastern suburbs R City in Ghatkopar, all remained shut on Tuesday. A representative of one of the malls said, “We opened up on Independence Day under the impression that even one dose of vaccination for the staff would suffice. However, with the government rule clearly mandating that two doses are needed, the majority of our staff yet needs to be administered the second dose and so we decided to shut down the mall.”
Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India (RAI), said, “Considering the impact of the prolonged closures on employment in malls, the commissioner of Mumbai had indicated that the guidelines applicable for the city would be reviewed to allow employees working in malls to resume work with at least one vaccination. We do believe that the state government’s ‘Break the Chain’ revised notification dated the 16th of August may need to be modified to ensure a balance between saving livelihoods and lives.”
Another mall representative said that a very small percentage of their staff had taken both the vaccine doses and it would be impossible to run the mall with much less staff strength. “Apart from our retailers, even many of the support staff like cleaning, parking attendants are yet to take the second dose. Besides in the case of covishield, there is an 84-day gap between the two doses and hence many of our staff are still waiting to complete the same before taking the second dose,” said a mall representative.
The Maharashtra government rule allowed malls to open up since August 15 this year after asking them to stay shut all throughout the second wave of the covid-19.
Rajneesh Mahajan, chief executive officer, Inorbit Malls India Pvt Ltd and also a director on the Shopping Centres Association of India (SCAI)-a body that represents many major malls in the city namely Phoenix, Infiniti Malls, Inorbit Malls said that they were expecting certain relaxations from the government in case of vaccination of staff.
“We started the mall going by the BMC commissioner’s statement that a single dose for staff would suffice and accordingly mobilised manpower and undertook sanitation of the premises. Malls are a large infrastructure and everything needs to be rebooted again when starting after a gap of a few months. We were expecting certain relaxation which did not happen as per the August 16 government notification which clearly said both doses were mandatory for staff. We all want to comply with the government rules and hence have decided to shut again,” said Mahajan.
Sachin Dhanawade – Chief Operating Officer (COO) Retail & Real Estate, Grauer & Weil (India) Limited, which operates Growel’s 1O1 Mall in the Kandivali suburb of Mumbai, said, “The condition relating to mall and retail staff/employees to be fully vaccinated is difficult to fulfill for malls as a large majority of employees and staff fall in the age group of below 45 years of age. Vaccination for those under 45 years of age started in May in Maharashtra, which was soon suspended due to a shortage of vaccine supply. Furthermore, the Central Government also extended the gap between two doses for Covishield. Most mall staff are therefore partially vaccinated (one dose) having taken their first dose in the last 30-45 days. In this situation, as a sizable number of their staff and employees is not eligible to get their second dose, malls will not be able to operate before September-end.”

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