120,000 mall jobs lost because of Covid-19 (so far)

mall jobs
Closed mall in Brasília. Photo: Marcello Casal Jr/ABr

At least 120,000 retail workers have been laid off by shopping malls since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. An estimated 15,000 mall stores will have to be closed as a result of quarantines. For Nabil Sahyoun, a representative for store owners, the situation “will get worse if governors and mayors do not announce a gradual reopening of the economy.” 

“What if we reopen today, and nothing happens? Is it not worth the risk? If it does not work out, we go back.” Mr. Sahyoun told UOL, perhaps forgetting that “nor working out” means that many people will die. “When you are the leader of an entity, you have to take a position and take a risk. Statistics are saying that social isolation is not the answer in all cases.”

Brazilian states that have started reopening, however, have already experienced an increase in the Covid-19 cases. In the southern state of Santa Catarina, the scene of hundreds of people flocking to a shopping mall became a symbol of the dangers of an early reopening. There is also no guarantee that shoppers will return en masse to malls given the risks posed by Covid-19.

More detailed data on the profile of impacted workers and companies are expected to be released next week.

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