During the President Yoweri Museveni’s most recent address on Covid-19, the lockdown was lifted to businesses operating in malls while those in arcades were keept locked. This sparked debate on both mainstream and social media platforms about the difference between a mall and arcade.
Several commentators cited the calibre of businessmen, size and kind of businesses operated distinguish between the two while others pointed out that some buildings are malls only in name but arcades in reality.
Now, Amelia Kyambadde, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives has explained that malls are more spacious with shops measuring up to 40 square metres with ample and convenient space for parking while shops in the arcades measure about 20 square metres, are sub-rented and have neither corridors nor parking space for vehicles.
Kyambadde added that malls have one person per shop, have two entrances, security guards, cameras, fire equipment and are not crowded while arcades are the exact opposite hence making social distancing rules almost impossible.
She listed Acacia Mall, Village Mall, Imperial Mall, Metroplex Mall, Oasis Mall, Garden City Mall, Kingdom Kampala Mall, Shoprite, (Lugogo Mall), Victoria Mall and Marigold, as the examples of malls in Kampala while Mutaasa Kafeero, Ggaliraaya Energy Center, Kizito Arcade, Arua Park Arcade, Nalubwama Arcade, Nabukeera Arcade, and Qualicell as examples of arcades in Kampala.
She added that during research before recommendation to stay the reopening of the arcades was made to the President, so many things that need to be done were observed to improve the working condition of traders in arcades to forestall the spread of coronavirus virus.
On the issue of rent, Kyambadde landlords and leaders of the traders have been engaged to harmonize their positions. She said some landlords are willing to forego one month of rent while others insist that the traders must pay for all the months that they have spent while not working due to the lockdown.
“We shall be meeting the President and that issue of rent is high on the agenda,” Kyambadde said.