São Paulo state entered the “transition phase” of its reopening plan, allowing malls and places of worship to operate with reduced opening hours. On the first day of these looser restrictions, shopping centers enjoyed a significant increase in activity. According to the Brazilian Association of Shopping Mall Retailers (Alshop), establishments saw “reasonable to good activity” immediately after they were allowed to reopen.
“There is pent-up demand after 30 days of closed stores, so naturally, people have a necessity to buy,” explained Alshop president Nabil Sahyoun.
Nevertheless, the sector is still not fully happy with the looser restrictions. According to the announcement made by the São Paulo government last week, shopping malls and high-street stores can only operate at 25-percent capacity and from 11 am to 7 pm. Shopkeepers fear the changes made in the sector in recent months may have confused consumers and affected payroll forecasts. The São Paulo administration allowed the change after a drop in hospitalizations. As we reported last week, shopping malls announced that they could fire 60,000 workers in the next few weeks.
Responsible for almost 30 percent of the country’s GDP, São Paulo’s handling of the pandemic serves as a benchmark for several other states. Loosening restrictions could lead to other regions adopting similar measures. Furthermore, the second stage of the transition plan — in force as of April 24 — will allow other segments of the services sector to reopen.
Restaurants, bars, beauty salons, gyms, and parks will be able to function with restricted hours, which could cause a chain reaction throughout Brazil.