Malls reopen, shoppers return for last-minute shopping during Raya

PETALING JAYA: Several shopping malls in the city saw the return of shoppers on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri following their temporary closures after being flagged through the Hotspot Identification for Dynamic Engagement (HIDE) last week.

Sunway Malls and Theme Parks chief executive officer HC Chan described the return of shoppers as an encouraging sign as there are still those who wanted to do last-minute shopping during the festive period.

However, he said shoppers were more “careful and cautious” under the present situation and complied strictly with standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure safety.

“We have intensified security checks and we are more vigilant now by accepting only those with low-risk status to enter our premises.

“Those with high-risk status will be denied entry for the safety of everyone.

“Those who are high-risk must stay home otherwise the situation will worsen,” he said.

Shopping malls reopened on Wednesday (May 12) after being forced to close for three days for sanitisation works after being flagged as a potential Covid-19 hotspot under HIDE.

Pavilion Kuala Lumpur chief executive officer (Retail) Datuk Joyce Yap said that although shoppers are gradually returning, she does not expect an immediate recovery.

“Our foot traffic is probably back by 20% to 30% on the first day (after reopening).

“I expect a little bit more of shoppers on the first day of Raya but do not expect to see them in droves,” she said.

Yap said this is because shoppers are generally taking a "wait and see” attitude in light of the current pandemic situation.

“I believe people are still cautious over the next few days and will only go out on a-needed basis,” she said, adding that the mall has put in place more stringent checks on those entering the premises.

An IOI City Mall Putrajaya spokesperson also said that it was encouraging to see shoppers gradually trickling in although leaving shortly after making their purchases.

“Shoppers would come in to order their food takeaways or get their Hari Raya shopping done and then leave,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added screening before entry into the mall was strict with the risk-status of the MySejahtera app of each shopper checked before they were allowed in.

“This is to ensure the safety of all shoppers and tenants of the malls,” the spokesperson said.

At the 1Utama shopping mall, stringent checks of people’s risk status on the MySejahtera app were also being conducted.

Throughout the mall, people were mostly seen walking in pairs browsing clothing stores.

There were others too seen gathering to take photographs with the Hari Raya decorations put up by the mall.

Checks by The Star at the Sunway Putra Mall only saw several window shoppers browsing outlets which remained open on the first day of Hari Raya.

Most were seen ordering takeaway food or buying groceries at the mall’s grocer before leaving.

Screening was also tight at the entrance of the mall with a policeman spotted checking the MySejahtera app of those intending to enter the building before taking their temperature.

This was to ensure that only shoppers with a low-risk status reading on their MySejahtera app were allowed into the mall.

Across the street, the Covid-19 vaccination centre at Putra World Trade Centre was deserted with only a policeman manning the entrance into the building who said that vaccinations would resume after the Raya break.

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