The Giftland Mall has re-opened its doors after being closed for three and a half months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but hundreds of employees still remain off the job.
In keeping with the guidelines of phase two of reopening the economy, 43 of 110 concessions at the Mall opens between 9am and 5pm daily.
The Mall reopened at the weekend with strict COVID-19 rules; hand washing stations and social distancing signs and markings were installed and there is absolutely no dining in the food court.
Proprietor of the Mall, Roy Beepat during an interview with the News Room said in the last few months millions of dollars were lost and over 230 employees from the Giftland Group still remain laid off.
Beepat assured that once the health crisis is over, those employees can return to work.
“We had at the beginning of the pandemic about 450 employees, at this point we have about 220, that means we have about 230 off right now.
“As soon as the measures are released that we can open until 9pm, I am sure we can return them back to work,” Beepat said.
Beepat noted while some businesses are taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis and are price gauging, the prices at Giftland Mall remain the same.
“Now we have followed all the Task Force guidelines in terms of opening and closing, we have been closed so according to the guidelines now we are allowed to open to sell essential supplies like electrical products and so on,” Beepat said.
He added, “We have taken a lot of precautions, there are sinks at each entrance, there are temperature guns and if anybody comes to the mall without a mask they are refused entry.”
However, masks are on sale at the entrances of the mall.
Shivani Baksh, Manager at Rooster’s Grill in the mall, said the response has been good so far. The employees are required to wear a face mask at all times and wash their hands after serving every customer.
The management of the mall will be conducting an assessment to determine how many persons are allowed inside during this time.
Beauty salons, barbershops, neighbourhood grocery shops, hardware, plumbing and electrical stores are among the services allowed to operate at this time.