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No crowd due to WFH: Shops at Changi Business Park forced to close as sales plunge up to 80%

Shops at Changi Business Park have been forced to close due to a lack of crowds as people work-from-home.

According to Lianhe Zaobao, many saw business slip 70 to 80 per cent as employees stay home due to Covid-19 safety measures. Merchants who are unable to withstand the rental pressure have been forced to shut.

The pandemic safety measures have led to a reduction in the flow of people in the mall, a spokesperson for Changi City Point said.

Image Credit: Changi City Point

The mall is helping tenants with rental rebates to tide over this period, and also assisting them in marketing and digitalising their businesses to reach the wider online audience.

Singapore is currently under Phase 2 Heightened Alert which took effect from July 22nd and ends on August 18th. Measures include a reduction of social gathering group sizes from five to two, work-from-home to remain the default at workplaces, and the cessation of dining-in at all F&B establishments, with only takeaway and delivery allowed.

The Changi Business Park area began operations in 1997 and had attracted businesses from industries such as commerce and deep-tech. It houses companies including IBM, Xilinx, DBS, and Standard Chartered Bank.

Ascendas Reit is introducing measures like free parking during lunch hours to attract more business to its food and beverage (F&B) tenants during Phase 2 Heightened Alert.

The Reit is optimistic that more employees will return to the office as vaccination rates increase and the government relaxes restrictions.

Image Credit: The Smart Local

At least one real estate manager is confident that business will do better than pre-pandemic levels.

The spokesperson for ESR Real Estate Investment Trust (ESR-Reit), which runs ESR BizPark@Changi said that current occupancy rates are similar to pre-pandemic levels, and it expects more tenants in the coming months as tenants leave pricy central business district (CBD) locations and look for alternatives.

ESR-Reit added: “As more companies adopt telecommuting arrangements, they will look for cheaper options than offices in the CBD to accommodate necessary services.”

Image Credit: The Smart Local

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Featured Image Credit: Daniel Food Diary

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