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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Crowds flock to City Center, which opens sans cinema, Fun City

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An almost audible sigh of relief and communal shriek of delight bounced around Doha yesterday as news spread of City Center mall’s re-opening.

The mall, which closed for more than three weeks to shore up its emergency safety protocol following a deadly fire at Villaggio mall, officially opens today.

But many stores opened last night after receiving the all-clear from management – a directive so sudden that some employees went to work without their uniforms on, one visitor told Doha News.

The products on offer at Carrefour were another sign that shops were unprepared for the announcement – the supermarket opened last night, but without produce and some refrigerated dairy products.

Meanwhile, Fun City, the 14-screen Grand Cinecentre and some 40 shops remain shuttered for now. The main food court is also still shut, and several kiosks have been cleared, including Cold Stone Creamery and DHL.

In terms of safety improvements, mall director Olaf Kindt told local media that City Center now has six new emergency exits and more safety lanes in the parking lot.

Mall-goers also spoke of visibly wider aisles in Home Center, Babyshop and Carrefour.

But there are still some improvements to make, which the Ministry of Interior has set a timetable for the mall to meet, Al Arab reports.

And there is still investor confidence to regain.

Though store employees say they are happy to resume business, many still expressed worry about the losses incurred during the closure.

Qatar Tribune reports:

I feel that we have better safety systems now in place, but our company, which operates two shops here, had lost millions worth of business during the closure,” (one manager said).

Are you planning to head to City Center this week?

Let us know what you think!


Credit: Top image courtesy of City Center’s Facebook page; second photo by djahsananjum; third photo by Lornss AlNaimi

Correction: This article previously referred to City Center’s cinemas as Grand Cinema Palace, instead of Grand Cinecentre.

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