To say that 2020 has been an overwhelming year would be an understatement given the rate at which Covid-19 has turned our lives upside down. From loss of loved ones to curfews and social distancing which has meant a change in the way we interact; this is truly a year to forget.

Other than health in general, the other aspect of our lives which has been greatly impacted by the virus is our economy. Courtesy of the lockdowns that were meant to curb the spread of the virus, many businesses found themselves in a situation that was characterized by reduced sales and therefore profits as many people opted to stay at home. Low profits meant that these businesses had to let go of some of their employees. Imagine losing your job in the middle of a pandemic, but such is life.

Some of the businesses that have been greatly affected during this period are shopping malls. This is because as people sought to social distance and keep themselves safe, traffic in the malls dwindled down to a trickle. This meant that shops located in these malls did not get any customers and some even opted to close down as they could not meet the rent, which led to the malls losing rental income

One of the malls which were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic is the Thika Road Mall popularly known as TRM. According to the TRM CEO, Anand Garikipati, business in the has gone down by 25% as compared to a similar period last year. However, he also intimated that they have put in health and safety measures like temperature checks, sanitizing stations as well as enforcing social distancing all which have helped boost customer confidence in the mall. These measures have seen customers slowly come back to the mall, but business is not yet back to normal.

Coca Cola on its part under the “Open Like Never Before” campaign has embarked on a branding exercise at the mall. This is move meant to communicate the fact that mall is back to business and that people should come out and shop while at the same time supporting the businesses. Simply because, if we don’t shop, these businesses will have no alternative but to close down leading to unemployment of the workers and essentially making a bad situation worse.

The “Open Like Never Before” campaign by Coca Cola aims to support businesses in its value chain recover from the effects of Covid-19. Under the campaign, Coca Cola has committed Ksh. 125 Million to support 18,000 traders, waste collectors, restaurants and kiosks weather the Covid-19 storm.

Towards this Coca Cola has partnered with Absa Kenya and Women Enterprise Fund (WEF) to provide the traders with financial capital. They have also partnered with Amref Health Kenya to provide the traders with Covid-19 health and safety training.

As we all try to recover from the effects of the pandemic, if you are able to support a business in your vicinity by buying from them, please do so. As this can make a difference between the business weathering the Covid-19 storm or having to close down.