City Center shop owners are just as much in the dark about the mall’s reopening as the general public, frustrated vendors have said.
Business owners say that they’ve lost an untold amount of money in the three weeks since the mall was closed for flouting safety regulations.
Gulf Times reports:
Obviously annoyed at the delay in reopening, operators minced no words while expressing their displeasure…
“While superior safety devices are required one also needs to understand the financial losses entrepreneurs are suffering,” said (one store manager).
…Most operators said that they have no word from the mall operators on resumption. One of them said no one is answering the phone at the company’s office.
To help recoup their losses, some are pushing officials to consider reopening the mall for at least part of the day, allowing necessary upgrades to carry on during the rest of the day.
The abrupt closure of City Center came two weeks after a fire at Villaggio mall killed 19 people, 13 of them children.
An official investigation into the fire found that Villaggio was ill-equipped to handle emergencies, lacking available floor plans, functioning alarm and sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers in every shop.
On the one hand, the government’s move to indefinitely close City Center, which appears to be similarly unprepared for an emergency, signals its desire to improve safety.
But the suddenness of the closure and the lack of available information or recompense to mall businesses does appear to have hurt their confidence – and those of any investor following the developments – in doing business in the country.
Credit: Photo by LawrenceYeah