PETALING JAYA: Malls in Selangor have started full operations since Monday, but their tenants are still cautious despite the government relaxing conditions for some businesses.
The malls say they are abiding by the rules set by both federal and state governments, saying that the health of all and curbing the spread of Covid-19 is their main priority.
For example, while the Federal Government has allowed dine-ins in restaurants, the Selangor government has only allowed for takeaways, as was the practice during the movement control order (MCO).
Outlets such as gyms, cinemas, salons and karaokes are not allowed to open yet while fashion shops are restricted to ‘shop and buy’ with fitting rooms closed.
All the malls are also emphasising general cleanliness with frequent cleaning and the use of sanitisers.
Thermal scanning is also conducted at entrances for all visitors with social distancing markers visible all over these malls.
Samantha Lee, the General Manager of Operations, 1 Utama Shopping Centre said that they have developed QR scanning Health Checks via 1 Utama’s Mobile app to ease contract tracing.
She said that moving forward, more marketing campaigns will be organised to drive retail sales during and after the conditional MCO period.
Allison Chan, Assistant Manager of Advertising and Promotions for CITTA Mall said that malls should be allowed to open in stages, but even so, precautionary measures must continue to be exercised.
“But it can also be up to the discretion of the malls, and at present, we have taken precaution by reducing the number of operating hours,” she said.
She added that shops allowed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (Miti) are currently open, although they noticed some tenants were still getting ready to operate their businesses by carrying out the necessary disinfection exercise.
H.C Chan, the CEO of Sunway Malls & Theme Park said they were working with their retailers to base their reopening on the state and federal guidelines, as well as sector specific guidelines.
Sunway operates seven malls around the country.
Chan said that Sunway Malls has offered the option for non-essential retailers to trade on flexi-hours post MCO too, so that they can manage wages and electricity costs better.
Chan said that in the short term, the sustainability of the retail sector depends on how the revival of economic activity and the safety of the communities was managed.
“Moving forward, the industry will need to alter the mall business model. What we will be seeing is the increasing prominence of co-sharing, be it profit, risk or resources between mall operators and retailers.
“The new maxim is one of shared prosperity and shared burden. Rental will largely be on percentage of sales,” he said.