Vax certificate rider: Gurugram malls witness long queues


Shopping malls across the city are witnessing long queues due to checking of vaccination certificates by the security guards deployed there. Several malls on MG Road, Sohna Road and Golf Course Road witnessed high footfall on Saturday and Sunday as people visited there for New Year celebrations but had to face problems due to the vaccination directive by the state government.

According to a recent directive by the Haryana government, from January 1, public places such as malls, public transport, parks, religious places, and restaurants will be out of bounds for those who are not fully vaccinated.

Akash Oberoi, president, MGF Metropolitan mall on MG Road, said that the government has passed the order but failed to spread awareness. “This notification has created a chaos. During the peak season, we have more people outside the mall than inside,” he said.

Visitors alleged that the security guards at the entrance of the mall were not well trained to check the certificates.

Rohan Shukla, a resident of Saket in Delhi who visited the mall, said that his group used same certificate to enter the mall and the guard could not even check the name and details. “Same certificate was used by four of us. It is waste of time standing at the entry gates,” he said.

Another visitor said that it took him 30 minutes to enter the mall. “There were more than 50 people standing in the queue and no one was maintaining social distancing. It’s just an eyewash to show implementation of the vaccination directive,” said Nakul Tiwari, a resident of Gurugram’s Sector 10.

Shop keepers at some malls said that in many cases, people did not update their vaccination certificates leading to chaos. They fear that their business will suffer on account of the fully inoculated rider.

Aman Bajaj, one of the shop owners at the Metropolitan mall, said that people are unaware of the new directives and most of them don’t have their certificates handy. “This has hit our business badly. We accept the measures, but a little awareness would do the needful,” he said.

The state government on Saturday also ordered that malls and markets would be allowed to open only till 5pm in five districts, including Gurugram, which have high Covid-19 caseload. “The extension of the deadline will be helpful for business, as the 6-8pm window is the peak time for customer inflow,” Bajaj said.

Amit Kamboj, a shopkeeper at Metropolis mall on MG Road, said, “Most people in the 18-45 age group, who visit malls with friends and families, have not been fully vaccinated. But they should be allowed to carry their RT-PCR negative test report not older than three days.”

Gurugram deputy commissioner Yash Garg said that they are implementing the government’s directives strictly to check the spread of Covid-19. “The number of cases are rising, and following Covid-19 protocols will help to remain safe,” he said, adding that people should wear a facemask and ensure social distancing at public places.

The Haryana government on Saturday announced several restrictions in five districts, including Gurugram and Faridabad. The restrictions, which will be in place till January 12, include closure of cinema halls, theatres, and multiplexes in these five districts for 10 days.

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