The number of novel coronavirus cases in the country rose to 107 on Sunday. With 12 new cases reported in Maharashtra on Sunday, the state government put Mumbai, the financial capital, in a semi-lockdown mode.
Top malls, multiplexes, the Byculla zoo and the Taraporevala Aquarium in Mumbai have been closed as the state government strives to contain the spread of the virus.
So far, Maharashtra has reported 32 confirmed cases of COVID-19, ahead of Kerala’s 22 cases.
In a conversation with Business Standard, officials at Inorbit Mall confirmed that their Malad and Vashi properties were closed on Sunday, and that it would remain shut for few days. R-City Mall in Ghatkopar, Phoenix Market City in Kurla, and Infiniti Mall in Andheri and Malad have all downed shutters to avoid congregation of people.
The World Health Organization, monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic, has identified community transmission as one of the reasons for the spread of coronavirus.
On Friday, the state government had announced that cinema halls, gyms, and swimming pools in cities including Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad, and Nagpur would be shut till further orders. Schools and colleges would also be closed in all urban areas within the state till March 31, Health Minister Rajesh Tope had said.
The impact on business has been severe due to the lockdown.
Footfalls across malls, multiplexes and restaurants in the city were down 50-60 per cent in the last one week, industry experts tracking the retail market said, as confirmed cases began growing.
Now, the complete shutdown of malls and multiplexes has meant that business has come to a grinding halt, said Anuj Kejriwal, managing director and chief executive officer, Anarock Retail. “This has financial implications since even a short-term closure hits retail hard,” he said.
Grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, and beauty centres in Mumbai, however, were open on Sunday. At a leading skin clinic in Bandra, customers and clients walking in were asked to sanitise their hands at the entrance. Those using the clinic’s services were asked to fill a form disclosing their recent travel history and health details.
The Linking Road stretch at Bandra, a popular shopping destination in the western suburbs of the city, wore a deserted look as people stayed away from buying or eating out.
In a statement issued on Sunday, Infiniti Mall said that the health of its patrons was important and that it would implement all directives and strictures issued by the government.
R-City Mall said that it was shutting all stores at its property at Ghatkopar barring Big Bazaar, which would stay open for those wanting to buy groceries and essential commodities.
Officials at Big Bazaar said it had not shut any store but had put in place standard operating procedures, including sanitisers for staff, temperature sensors at entry points, disinfecting trolleys, baskets, and toilets.
The Mumbai police, meanwhile, issued an order to prohibit all group tours within India and abroad till March 31. “It is apprehended that there is a likelihood of spread of coronavirus through business and holiday groups travelling together,” deputy police commissioner Pranaya Ashok said in the order. Those flouting the order can face action under Section 188 (disobedience of an order duly promulgated by a public servant) of Indian Penal Code. However, the order said, tour operators can seek exemption in case of exceptional circumstances.
In Maharashtra’s Satara, five people were booked for violating social distancing rules in place to tackle the coronavirus outbreak by organising a religious event on March 13 in which over 5,000 people participated.
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With input from Aneesh Phadnis