Yediyurappa hints at opening malls, theatres after July 5

Bengaluru: As proof of the pandemic’s second wave waning, recoveries from COVID crossed 27 lakh in Karnataka and Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Tuesday said that the state government was working out modalities to unlock the state further after July 5.

After a meeting with members of the Shopping Centres Association of India (SCAI-Bengaluru), Bengaluru chapter, Yediyurappa told reporters that the state government was evaluating and discussing pros and cons of allowing air-conditioned shopping centres and theatres for the time being.

 “We have not yet arrived at a final conclusion on this yet, but certainly discussions in this regard are on,” he said, hinting that unlock 3 will be more liberal after July 5.

 He added that members from Bengaluru malls (Shopping Centres) association have met him and discussed several issues pertaining to their businesses.

“We’re happy that Covid is declining and its benefits should be passed on to the common man as well and help those in distress. In that direction, we will make a decision soon. I will discuss it with my cabinet colleagues. We are discussing giving certain concessions with some riders. No decision has been taken yet,” Yediyurappa maintained in response to the question.

Earlier in the day, an association of malls met the CM and submitted a memorandum seeking resumption of their business for 12 hours a day.

“We requested the CM to allow the Malls to operate from 9 am to 9 pm instead of 9 am to 6 pm which will not work. We assured him that the owners will comply with whatever measures necessary, including Covid-19 protocols,” Garuda Mall general manager Nandeesh MR, who represents the association, told reporters after meeting with the CM.

Chain of Garuda Malls in the state are owned by the ruling BJP legislator, Uday Garaudchar. All over Karnataka has 84 malls and cumulative annual turnover of these Malls is estimated to be around anywhere between Rs 40,000 to 45,000 crore annually, and their continued closure will bring lakhs of employees on to the streets, Nandeesh said, adding that the managements have been paying salaries to employees for now.

Notably, Karnataka had been enforcing a lockdown in the state since April 27. However, it announced some relaxation on June 14 when it unlocked the state in a graded manner.

Many economic activities were allowed with some restrictions.

In the subsequent stage, 16 districts were unlocked and then 6 districts were added to the list.