Kolkata malls focus on safety protocols to tackle increasing footfalls ahead of Durga Puja

    Kolkata, Oct 14 (PTI) With rising footfalls in the
run-up to the Durga Puja festival, the authorities of shopping
malls in the city are taking all health safety measures,
including the use of ultraviolet rays to sanitise elevators
and handrails, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials
said on Wednesday.
    They also felt that strict adherence to safety
guidelines has helped them attract visitors.
    Leading shopping malls such as Acropolis, South City
and Quest are currently experiencing a surge in footfalls
ahead of Durga puja and expecting that number of visitors will
further rise with multiplexes reopening from Thursday.
    "We are careful about safety protocols since the
reopening of our mall and diligently following all the
guidelines. We will allow people up to 50 per cent of our
standard capacity of around 50,000," Acropolis head K Vijayan
told PTI.
    Around 25 washbasins have been installed outside the
mall and no one is allowed to enter the premises without a
mask, he said.
    "Strict vigil on enforcement of the guidelines helped
us attract people. Around 3,500 permanent and outsourced
employees also remain safe. No one among our staffers has been
detected with the disease till now," Vijayan said.
    South City mall has witnessed a 20-30 per cent jump in
footfall in recent weeks and is also concentrating on the
frequent sanitisation of common touchpoints, an official said.
    The shopping destination in the southern part of the
city recorded over 40,000 footfalls on Sunday.
    "We are also displaying boards and video messages
about health safety guidelines and asking all store employees
and security officials to maintain social distancing norms,"
South City head Manmohan Bagree said.
    Quest Mall VP Sanjiv Mehra said following the health
safety protocols is their highest priority.
    "We are not much concerned about the crowd with around
30 per cent footfall. It may go up to 50 per cent as the
festive days near," he said.
    With increasing retail sales, the mall authorities are
witnessing higher conversion rate, the percentage of people
that walk in and make a purchase, as compared to that of last
    Compared to the pre-puja period in 2019, sales at food
courts were up by 25 per cent this year, Bagree said.
    According to them, festival advances to government
employees and puja bonus to many private entities will further
boost consumer spending. PTI BSM SBN

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)