Retailers Association of India (RAI) on Friday asked the Maharashtra government to let malls and shopping centres open by following COVID-19 protocols. Stating that other states like Delhi and Haryana have allowed the opening of malls along with other markets, RAI said letting malls and shopping centres operate will not only help save employment but will also pave the way for citizens to shop in a safe and sanitized environment.
In a statement, RAI said it has asked the Maharashtra government to ”allow malls and shopping centres to operate at par with stand-alone shops and markets, and serve citizens in a safe and controlled environment”. RAI Chief Executive Officer Kumar Rajagopalan said formal retail spaces such as malls and shopping centres play an important role in the economy due to their contribution to the exchequer in the form of taxes and the people they employ.
”The Delhi and Haryana governments have supported the ecosystem by opening up malls along with other markets. We request the government of Maharashtra to extend their support too.” He further said,”This will not only help save employment but will also pave the way for citizens to shop in a safe and sanitized environment. Malls can handle crowds more efficiently than markets and hence should be allowed to operate at par with other shops and markets.”
RAI asserted that malls are important for the economy and consumers alike as each mall employs over 4,500 people, accounts for over Rs 10,000 crore of business and over Rs 1,000 crore of GST. ”It is estimated that there are 50 malls in Maharashtra covering an area over 2 crore sq ft,” the retailer’s body said adding malls have been strictly following all standard operating procedures on preventive measures issued by the health ministry to ensure the safety of the staff and citizens.