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The C3 Food Court where dining was closed to customers recently.

Moments before Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced a pending shutdown of non-essential services yesterday, C3 Centre customers were notified that the mall will be temporarily closed from tonight.

The announcements came even as more than 40 per cent of businesses in the southern city has already shut its doors.

In a statement, C3 Centre’s executive chairman Christopher Mack said the mall will be closed from 10 pm as they do their part in the fight against COVID-19.

However, essential stores and services at the mall will remain open. These include JTA Supermarkets, Bhagan’s Drugs, Eddie’s Pharmacy, RBL ATM, Scotia Bank ATM, Digicel, Excellent Stores, Payless and our Courtyard Restaurants for Curb-Side Pick-Up.

He said other tenants with exterior entrances may stay open at their discretion.

“Now more than ever it is critical that we not only take necessary measures to protect ourselves and those we love but also to remain optimistic. As a nation where every creed and race has always found an equal place, let us work together to show our resilience in defeating this global challenge,” Mack stated.

Gulf City Shopping Mall’s communications official Sarah Ragoonath said for now the mall will remain open. But, she said in light of the Prime Minister’s announcement they will now have to “adjust to suit.”

In an interview with Guardian Media prior to the prime minister’s announcement, Greater San Fernando Area Chamber of Commerce president Kiran Singh said those business owners who have kept their businesses open were either trying to continue to provide a salary to their employees or just did not want to stay home and be frustrated.

“Not the supermarkets and pharmacies that are selling pharmaceuticals and groceries, sanitizers and the things that people want at this time. The rest of consumer sales are down more than 75 per cent. It is really, really bad.”

Nigel Khan owner of Nigel R Khan Booksellers who has ten branches island-wide said COVID-19 has dealt the bookstore industry a severe blow. At least three other bookstores in San Fernando, RIK Services Ltd, Keith Khan Books Etc have already shut its doors.

Asked how he has managed to stay open, Khan said his main objectives are to keep his staff employed as long as possible and to provide a healthy and sanitised environment for both staff and customers.