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05/08/2021 03:08pm

Continued closure of Malls in Maharashtra a blow for lakhs of people employed: RAI

image Continued closure of Malls in Maharashtra a blow for lakhs of people employed: RAI

Mumbai, Aug 5 (KNN) Retailers Association of India (RAI) on Thursday said that failure to open malls in Maharashtra due to COVID-19 pandemic is a big blow to business and lakhs of people working there.

The retailer's body claimed that malls have been diligently following all Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) on preventive measures issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, to ensure the safety of the staff & citizens. Malls associated with RAI have also been adhering to the detailed & comprehensive SOPs formulated by RAI to curb the spread of the virus.

''These SOPs are based on the framework of guidelines endorsed by the Indian Medical Association. Despite this, malls in Maharashtra continue to remain closed,'' it added.

It further said that as the state of Maharashtra issued orders to resume retail activity, it continued to keep malls shut, disappointing lakhs of people working in malls who were eagerly waiting for their livelihoods to resume.

“All other states in the country except Maharashtra have allowed malls to open along with other formats of retail. Malls in Maharashtra have been continuously giving assurances about following the required SOPs and structured processes to ensure social distancing and safety of shoppers. Permitting Malls to operate will pave the way for citizens to shop in a safe and sanitized environment but will also save jobs of lakhs of livelihoods the mall ecosystem supports,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, RAI.

RAI also said that there is a misconception that being air-conditioned spaces, malls could exacerbate the pandemic situation. There is no medical guideline or evidence that prohibits the use of air conditioners in view of the virus. Moreover, the belief that the virus can spread only through air-conditioned malls and not in any other closed air-conditioned establishments or airlines is not logical.

According to RAI, malls in the state generate a business of Rs 40,000 crores and contribute Rs 4,000 crores in GST, per month.

''The prolonged closures are impacting more than 2 lakh people employed in about 50 malls in the state. They are also impacting all the businesses associated with malls—on an average, a mall has 200 retail stores operating in it and over 5000 business entities associated with it as suppliers and vendors,'' RAI added.

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