The pop-up mall company, which has three London locations in Shoreditch, Croydon and Wembley, closed its doors to the public last Friday (20 March) in line with Government orders, informing its tenants that they would not have to pay any rent or service charge throughout the closure period.
Initially, traders that wished to continue operating as a delivery-only outfit were allowed to do so. However, Boxpark has now opted to shut down its sites completely in light of the growing risk to staff caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, Boxpark CEO Roger Wade said: “At Boxpark our number one priority has always been the wellbeing of all our customers, staff members and traders. With this in mind, we have made the difficult decision to completely shut our sites from Friday 27 March until further notice. This also means that delivery will no longer be available.
“As Covid-19 continues to spread, we must carefully consider the health and safety of our traders and employees who have continued to work. We have a responsibility to look out for them and under the current circumstances we believe that it is no longer viable for them to continue coming to work.”
Some tenants that had been using their Boxpark kitchens to continue operating as a delivery service have been disappointed by the decision.
“It’s upsetting that there wasn’t any room for negotiation regarding this,” Athenian co-founder Neo Christodoulou tells BigHospiality.
“So many operators have already closed, so there’s a real need for others like us to remain open to meet the public demand.”
Earlier this week a survey released by CGA revealed that just over half of the public were either using, or planning to use delivery as an alternative during the Coronavirus crisis, with CGA vice president Peter Martin saying that delivery could play a "vital role" in alleviating the burden currently placed on supermarkets to meet food supply demands.
“I understand Boxpark’s concerns, but it’s disappointing that this decision has been taken,” says Christodoulou.