CapitaLand shuts 4 malls in Wuhan amidst coronavirus, 2 other SG firms impacted

In view of the developing coronavirus (nCoV) situation, CapitaLand has closed all four of its malls in Wuhan and both of its malls in Xi'an. These six CapitaLand malls in Wuhan and Xi’an will reopen depending on the condition and directives from local government.

The Chinese government had also issued a directive that CapitaLand’s office properties in places such as Shanghai, Zhejiang, Guangdong and Chongqing will be closed until 9 February 2020. However, the supermarkets in CapitaMall Westgate, Wuhan and CapitaMall Xindicheng, Xi’an will remain open to ensure the supply of food and daily essentials to the local communities. Meanwhile, the remaining 45 malls in CapitaLand’s retail network across China, which are located in cities such as Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shanghai, will continue to operate with shorter hours.

According to CapitaLand, it has adopted the necessary precautionary measures in accordance with guidelines from the health authorities, and will continually review its properties’ operating hours in line with local conditions and regulations. All of CapitaLand's properties in China will also undergo temperature checks, as well as cleaning and disinfecting of common areas. CapitaLand will also conduct contact tracing and have designated premises at its properties for the isolation of persons suspected to be infected with the virus.

Meanwhile in Singapore, CapitaLand has implemented precautionary measures in accordance with guidelines from the authorities and has placed hand sanitisers for tenants, shoppers and guests in the properties. The real estate company has also created designated premises with predetermined routes within its properties for the isolation of persons suspected to be infected with nCoV. CapitaLand will also be stepping up cleaning efforts and aims to take precautionary measures further where necessary. The company has also put in place business continuity plans (BCP) to enable the group to continue its critical activities and minimise impact to operations.

Lee Chee Koon, group chief executive officer, CapitaLand Group said that the company has set up a special task force to coordinate its response across its operations in China and in the various markets it operates in. He added that to date, CapitaLand's business operations, including in China and Singapore, remain largely stable.

"Our priority is to focus on ensuring the well-being of our tenants, shoppers, guests and employees. We are all in this together during these trying times. CapitaLand will continue to work closely with the different local authorities in our markets to offer our support,” he said.

Manohar Khiatani, senior executive director of CapitaLand Group, who has been appointed as the group BCP commander, said CapitaLand’s business continuity plans guide its operations which includes how and when to limit the interaction of business-critical staff. This includes working from alternate sites, working from home and the use of teleconferencing. "Where necessary, operational personnel will be divided into primary and alternate teams. We will continue to monitor developments and the authorities’ directives, take the necessary steps to minimise impact to our operations and update our stakeholders in a timely manner,” he added.

Similarly, Singapore-listed tourism firm Straco Corporation has temporarily closed three of its attractions in China, namely Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, Underwater World Xiamen and Lixing Cable Car. This move comes as the company looks to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the People’s Republic of China. According to Straco, the company will continue to monitor on updates and advisories from the local authorities. Straco has also instituted precautionary health and hygiene measures, including cleaning and disinfection of facilities and necessary screening of its employees. On a separate note, Straco also temporarily suspended Singapore Flyer's flight operations in August 2019 due to a minor technical issue and has yet to resume operations.

Singapore-listed real estate investment company Dasin Retail Trust has shortened the business hours of its shopping malls. These include Shiqi Metro Mall, Xiaolan Metro Mall, Ocean Metro Mall, Doumen Metro Mall and Dasin EColour. The respective malls’ business hours were shortened with the exception of the provision of basic public services such as supermarkets and certain F&B outlets. In addition, cinemas, KTVs, ice skating rings, bookstores and other crowded places will be temporarily closed. Currently, Dasin Retail Trust's shopping malls have issued guidelines to prevent coronavirus that includes requiring staffs, tenants and all personnel entering and leaving the malls to wear face masks. The company will also cooperate with government departments to carry out epidemic inspection and conduct temperature tests on people entering the malls.