Shopping center manager: Restrictions better than closures

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Kristiine Keskus. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The government's decision to impose a 50 percent occupancy limit on stores and shopping centers instead of shutting them down is reasonable, CEO of Kristiine and Rocca al Mare shopping centers Kristjan Maaroos said on Thursday after new restrictions were announced to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Maaroos told ERR he is waiting for the official guidelines to be published but in general he considers the requirements reasonable and better than spring closures.

Store owners have noticed a decline in customers and growing caution since the second half of September. However, Christmas is the peak time for visiting shopping malls, which makes it understandable to set restrictions for that time.

"Undoubtedly, there is an impact on tenants' activities, but it can not be said that it is directly due to restrictions and will make the situation worse for traders. It is a combined effect of the pandemic and economic crisis, which makes it worse," he said.

If stores were closed instead, they would lose considerably more money, he said.

In Kristiine and Rocca al Mare shopping centers, capacity restrictions for each shop will be posted on the doors or windows and it is the responsibility of each shop to follow the rules. The shopping centers monitor compliance, especially in public areas, where visitors can be dispersed.

Maaroos is expecting the guidelines to say how many people can be accommodated per 100 square meters, which will be easy enough to follow.

The restrictions will come into effect on Saturday, December 5 and have been republished below in full.

Up to 50 percent capacity in sales areas and public areas of stores and service areas of service providers

There may be no more people than the 50% capacity of a given space in indoor sales areas and public spaces of stores and service areas of service providers. At that, people must also adhere to the 2+2 rule, i.e., only up to two people may travel together, and they must keep a two-metre distance from other people.

Restriction on visiting catering and entertainment establishments and locations for holding public events between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Catering and entertainment establishments and locations for holding public events where a stationary seat is not ensured to event visitors, must keep their doors closed to visitors from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Selling food for customers to take away or enabling a courier or transport service for purchasing food will still be allowed for catering establishments. Organising private parties is also forbidden in all these locations. Requirements on public events and sporting and recreational sports events will also be harmonised.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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