Shopping malls reopen, but offsetting losses won’t be easy
One in five stores have closed for good, averaging €12,000 in monthly losses
Shopping malls and large retailers reopened on Monday, nearly two months after they were ordered to close, as Catalan authorities have eased some Covid-19 restrictions.
But offsetting losses will not be easy.
One in five stores located inside malls have closed for good, according to Catalonia’s association of shopping center stores. Businesses averaged 12,000 euros in monthly losses.
"It’s making us weaker and this affects our competitiveness," said Francesc Casanovas, a spokesperson for the association.
While malls can reopen at 30% capacity, bars and restaurants inside their premises must remain closed. In contrast, those located outside can open both their terraces and indoor dining areas for breakfast and lunch.
"We hope it's the last reopening"
Miguel Ángel González · Parc Central manager
Catalan authorities argued that keeping bars closed would discourage shoppers from spending a lot of time at the mall. Casanovas disagrees, describing it as "puzzling" and a "grievance," and has already led to the filing of an official petition urging the government to rectify.
"Every time we make realistic proposals they are accepted, sooner or later; we believe common sense will prevail again," said Casanovas.
According to the association, there are 49 shopping centers in Catalonia that employ some 35,000 people and house around 3,500 different businesses, 20% of which are restaurants.
Five reopenings during the pandemic
In the southern Catalan town of Tarragona, the manager of the Parc Central mall said it is the fifth time the shopping center has reopened after being shut due to Covid-related restrictions. "We hope it's the last reopening," said the manager, Miguel Ángel González.
Some of the measures put in place to ensure adequate ventilation include keeping the entry gates open at all times, as well as using machines designed to renew the air. Hand sanitizer will be available to shoppers, who are ordered to walk in lanes designed to reduce crowds and ensure social distancing.