All state governments have been asked by the Retailers Association of India (RAI) to permit utilisation of open spaces in malls as additional well-spaced dining areas for operating restaurants and food courts. The order Wednesday said the in-mall food and beverages, and restaurant businesses continue to face severe financial stress due to the 33 per cent restrictions on seating capacity despite resuming business after months of lockdown.
Commenting on the proposal to state governments to allow malls to use open spaces within their premises as food courts and open-dining areas for restaurants, RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan said, "This will ensure that customers can eat out in a safe manner ensuring proper social distancing.
It will also ensure that business happens."
The RAI said open spaces will provide a safe space for people to congregate. Social distancing is easier to maintain in the mall's spacious and well-ventilated outdoor areas.
It further said with the ongoing festive season, the number of customers visiting the mall has gone up. The additional tables in the open areas will help cater to their needs, saving them inconvenience.
"Open spaces will help malls and restaurants accommodate additional customers and bring business back without violating social distancing requirements," RAI said adding the business generated through open spaces will help save jobs of locals employed in the malls as well as the staff members of the various restaurants in them.
It said that many countries have already adopted the policy of converting open areas and public spaces into additional outdoor dining spaces.
Implementing the same in our country will aid a smoother revival of the economy.
(With inputs from PTI)