Delhi shopping malls wear deserted look after lockdown

New Delhi, March 23 : Shopping malls and multiplexes in the national capital and adjoining regions wore a deserted look a day after the government imposed a complete lockdown in the region.

Restaurants, cinema halls and retail shops in the malls had to down their shutters in a bid to bar the overcrowding.

The outbreak has claimed hundreds of lives till now.

Anurag Katriar, President of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), stated that the fate of 7.30 million employees in food and beverages sector is in thick soup due to the unprecedented crisis.

"We do not want them to suffer but we do not have the resources," he rued.

Katriar urged the government to provide immediate help, especially for the lower end staff, who are covered under the Employees State Insurance (ESIC) Act.

The multiplexes are also facing the brunt of the virus outbreak and their business have come to a grinding halt.

"This will lead to a substantial drop in quarterly Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for listed multiplex players such as PVR and INOX," said Suman Chowdhury, President-ratings at Acuite Ratings and Research.

The holiday season of April-June is the peak time for big movie releases; however, the latter may get postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, Chowdhury added.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry also raised concerns over the effect of shutting down of malls on retail business.

"This could lead to major job losses as companies will not be able to sustain this for too long."

The federation requested the Ministry of Finance to provide financial relief to retailers by announcing special rebate measures to ease cash flow and provide some relief on the GST front.

With COVID-19 cases rising by the day, businesses in India are in for a harsh summer.



Source: IANS