KOCHI: It’s back to square one for the shopping malls in the city, which have been slowly recovering with increased business as the new rules force them to shut shop at 7 pm from Tuesday.“For the past one year, we have been following the protocol issued by the government and will be continuing to follow it,” said N B Swaraj, Lulu Group India Media Coordinator. Lulu Group runs Kerala’s biggest shopping mall at Edapally in Kochi. He admitted that the new restrictions meant lower sales, but added that it’s for the safety of the public.
“We conduct Covid tests for all our staff frequently. Over the last few weeks the number of visitors to the mall has declined due to the rise in Covid cases,” he said. Swaraj said Lulu has already taken measures to reduce the crowd by allowing limited customers to the hypermarket. “We will expand online shopping options so that customers can purchase by avoiding the crowd,” he added.
Proprietors of Centre Square Mall, also echoed similar sentiments. The sales will decline but we have no other option as Covid cases are rising, they said. “The business will surely be affected but we have to follow government guidelines. Almost 80 to 85 per cent of business came back after the lifting of restrictions,” said Monu Nair, centre head, Centre Square Mall, Kochi.
The new Covid restrictions will also force private tuition centres, which were functioning on online mode, to remain shut.Owners of tuition centres said the new restrictions would not affect them much as they have been providing only online classes for students for the last one year or so. The first lockdown in 2020 forced schools and tuition centres to online mode.
“When the government lifted restrictions, we continued to conduct classes online,’ said Vinayak Mohan, who runs a coaching centre in Kochi. “Life has been the same for the past year,” he added. On the other hand, a few tuition centres that began taking offline classes moved to online mode two weeks back because of the surge in Covid cases. “We suspended offline classes as the number of cases increased. We have decided to start offline classes after schools reopen,” said Sreekanth Vinayak, who runs a private tuition centre in Kochi.