scorecardFirst week of Unlock 1.0 – Here’s what worked and what didn’t
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First week of Unlock 1.0 – Here’s what worked and what didn’t

First week of Unlock 1.0 – Here’s what worked and what didn’t
IndiaIndia5 min read
  • On June 8, the first phase of unlock India began with shopping malls, offices, religious places opening across India.
  • However, the fear of the virus still looms large and the number of coronavirus cases continues to be on the rise.
  • Here's a look at what worked in the first week and what didn’t.
It’s been a week of India’s Unlock 1.0 – when the country slowly began to open up from the coronavirus lockdown. On June 8, shopping malls, offices, religious places opened across India.

Even while the fear of the virus still looms large and the number of coronavirus cases continues to be on the rise, businesses are beginning to return to work with the hope of normalcy returning soon.

But here’s a look at what worked and what didn’t.

Public Transport

With offices resuming in a phased manner, people are getting back on the roads. However, metros continue to stay shut, while buses have resumed service in several cities. In the national capital, the Delhi Transport Corporation had started shuttle services in mid-May and the ridership had already risen to 3.5 lakh as of May 22.

While Mumbai misses its local trains, autos, taxis and BEST buses are now plying on the roads again. But because of social distancing, the BEST buses aren’t working in full capacity and this has resulted in delays as people have to wait longer for bus availability. "We don't take too many passengers. Also, people are cooperating. If the bus is full, they don't come in," a bus conductor in Mumbai told NDTV.

In Mumbai, Freego – a self balancing scooter for the Mumbai police was also launched for patrolling.

In Bengaluru, public transport is still being avoided by people and people are preferring to travel their own cars.


A lot of the restaurants decided to not reopen as with the migrant workers having gone home, they are short staffed and the curfew timing doesn’t really help their operations. Footfall has remained low for almost all restaurants across the country.

In Delhi’s posh Khan Market, 40% of the hotels have shut down. The 9 pm curfew also means the restaurants have to start winding down at a time which would have been their busiest hour earlier.


“Over 250 malls have started operations again, operating between 60-70 percent occupancy. Categories like electronics, cosmetics, casual fashion wear, kids wear have seen a good uptake in the first few days,” said Amitabh Taneja, Chairman, Shopping Centres Association of India.

But that’s not the full story. A survey from the Retailers Association of India said that a majority 67% of the consumers surveyed showed little to no excitement in shopping post the lockdown. Moreover, 78% of the respondents said their shopping expenditure would decrease.

From directives like those from the UP government where malls can stay open, but not the shops in them to the rising number of coronavirus cases in India, consumers are still shying away from retail therapy.

“Retailers are amongst the most resilient entrepreneurs of the Indian ecosystem. Despite the lockdown relaxations, retailers are still facing a challenging time to revive their business. The impact on retail across the country is concerning and it will take a considerable amount of time for retailers to return to the green,” said Kumar Rajagopalan, CEO, Retailers Association of India.


The hospitality industry which has been one of the worst hit because of the coronavirus pandemic is now betting on “aas paas tourism”. The likes of Mahindra Resorts and OYO are betting on weekend getaways and driving destinations. Now, Airbnb too has joined them.

Airbnb has recently launched the ‘Go Near’ campaign – betting on driving destinations. “Key domestic markets for Airbnb are Goa, New Delhi, Rajasthan, Mumbai & Bangalore, but we are also seeing a surge in searches for stay options in nearby cities especially near metros like Alibag, Lonavala, Panchgani near Mumbai,” Airbnb said.

Meanwhile, OYO is also seeing a similar positive uptick in bookings. “A significant part of this demand is driven by metro cities, including Gurugram, Noida, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Hyderabad, with a majority of bookings being made by young travellers followed by corporates and SMEs. With most people opting for personal means of transport, bookings trends so far show guests’ preference towards same-city travel. A majority of this traffic is being generated by our own channels - OYO app, website and call centre,” said an OYO spokesperson.

Salons and spas

Probably one of the most popular YouTube videos during the lockdown became “how to cut your own hair” – while some managed it successfully, others waited for the salons and spas to open again. But not so easily, salons themselves had to go for a makeover before opening up.

"L’Oréal’s Professional Products Division in India has over 170,000 hairdresser partners, operating in over 45,000 salons. We are strongly mobilised to help our salon partners navigate these challenging times, with the primary objective of ensuring the safety of consumers, our partner salons and their employees. We are committed, now more than ever, to our role as partner and advocate of the hairdressing industry and will continue to work tirelessly to lessen the impact of this crisis on them,” said DP Sharma, director, professional products division of L’Oreal.

Meanwhile, as companies like Urban Company too started functioning, they have seen a huge uptick in the number of orders for haircuts and beauty services at home.

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