G Plus Poll | Guwahatians Divided in Opinion Over Reopening of Malls
Now that shops in market complexes and large sized standalone stores have been allowed to open as part of the relaxation in Lockdown 4.0, Guwahatians seem to have mixed opinions about reopening of the city’s malls.
While some people express fear of cases multiplying exponentially with the new relaxations in place, others believe that if almost everything else is open, why not malls? After all, malls are far more spacious and much less crowded.
G Plus conducted a poll on its social media channels and asked Guwahatians whether it make sense for malls to remain closed with shops in market complexes now open.
More than 4,800 people participated in the poll. On the one hand, the results showed 48 percent of the people being in favour of malls reopening, a conflicting 52 percent of voters said that it was better if malls remained shut.
Netizens actively commented on G Plus’s Facebook post after casting their votes in the poll conducted on May 20.
Opening the malls could, to an extent, reduce stress on mall-owners and provide them an opportunity to try and make up for the massive losses caused during the period of this lockdown.
Reopening of malls could also reboot the economy if safe shopping is promoted simultaneously, following all COVID-19 safety and prevention measures. A well thought-out action plan in collaboration with governments could also help accelerate the economy of states and help those employed in these malls can get back to work.
In response to the question asked in the poll, one Facebook user, Raja Gohain, expressed his views, “I feel that malls will have much better sanitisation facilities and take more care to check the customers that are coming in. It makes no sense to keep malls closed when the market complexes are open.”
Another Facebook user, Mandira Ghosh, opined, “Unlike market complexes, malls have better control on movement of people and crowds, wherein with the help of technology they can monitor footfall and restrict them from time to time and case to case. Similarly for temperature and hygiene control as well.”
“Malls, eateries, schools and colleges, cinema halls and gyms are the last thing that will open in this pandemic. Big Bazaar and Vishal are providing home delivery of essential goods which the other malls can adopt for the time being,” said Simon Baishya suggesting that malls could opt for a similar home delivery service. “As far as revenue goes it is equally important those who are arguing about wine shops being open, let me tell you, liquor is the most taxable commodity and most of the revenue of our government comes from excise duty tax,” the cybercitizen said, in defence of liquor shops being open when some people on the internet began to take a dig at reopening of wine shops. He went on to explain that revenue is equally important for businesses to survive.
On the need to act responsibly while stirring outside one’s house, a netizen Monali Longmailai took to Twitter saying, “People go to hang out in malls more than shop. They just want to see the crowd inside the building. Small shops are more open and have limited space for customers. What encourages unnecessary crowding must be avoided now. Shoppers need to be responsible toward each other.”
Rajib Choudhary, on Twitter, highlighted the plight of overcrowding in urban areas and emphasised on the need to maintain social distancing. “No way is it justified. We need to understand if whether we really are able to maintain social distancing in overcrowded shanties or slums which can be a big source of spread of infection. So what is the point of not allowing malls to open now?” he asked.
Based on the responses from the poll, about half the population would prefer not going to malls as they suggest that a visit to the mall could be life threatening. With people still anxious about stepping outside their homes for leisure activities, with shopping and watching a movie at the bottom in that list, even if malls were to reopen, there is much uncertainty over the amount of business that they would get.