São Paulo shopping malls could fire 60,000 workers in coming weeks

São Paulo shopping malls could fire 60,000 workers in coming weeks
High-end JK Iguatemi mall in São Paulo. Photo: Alf Ribeiro/Shutterstock

Closed for more than a month as pandemic restrictions were tightened, shopping malls in the state of São Paulo announced they may have to fire 60,000 workers over the coming weeks. The number is even higher than last week’s figures, when the sector estimated some 55,000 jobs could be slashed. 

According to a survey by the Brazilian association of shopping centers obtained by the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, 236 of the country’s 601 malls remain closed. Moreover, another 365 operate under restrictions. The association issued a manifesto to reopen shops, gathering the support of 20 entities from the services sector, among the hardest-hit by the pandemic.  

As we reported on April 15, the Brazilian services sector grew 3.7 percent in February, but experts warn the immediate outlook is poor, as tougher restrictions were brought in in March. Sales are 8.6 percent down over the last 12 months. 

On Friday, São Paulo Lieutenant Governor Rodrigo Garcia announced the state would allow stores and places of worship to operate — with reduced opening hours — from April 18 onward. This change was permitted due to a drop in hospitalizations, as ICU occupancy rates fell to around 83 percent state-wide.