Current information from ECE on the corona crisis

The ECE centers - like the entire retail trade and large parts of the economy - are massively affected by the effects of the corona crisis. On the basis of the guidelines for dealing with the corona crisis laid down by the Federal Government and the heads of the Länder governments, the Länder and local authorities have now implemented official decrees with concrete requirements for the retail trade, among other things. As a result, this means that all stores affected by the orders must now close or have already closed in our centers.

The centers themselves will not close, but will remain open within the framework of the regulations, because the regulations provide for a number of sectors that should and may remain open to ensure the provision of basic services. These are primarily all shops providing everyday necessities such as grocery stores, pharmacies, medical supplies stores, drugstores, banks and savings banks, post offices, suppliers of pet supplies, etc. Restaurants and Cafés must also remain closed to the public or may only remain open for out-of-home sales. 

These regulations also apply in a similar form in most international markets - there too, there are corresponding restrictions for retailers with certain exceptions for basic services, and there too, the centres have opened with a correspondingly reduced range of services.

Frequently asked questions (last updated on March 31, 2020)

How are the opening hours of the individual centers currently determined?

  • We do not currently have one set of opening hours that applies to all ECE centers.
  • The opening hours are set for each center on the basis of local official requirements and in consultation with the tenants. The objective is to optimize staff planning as a result of the adjusted core opening hours. Up-to-date information can be found on the respective center’s website and its social media channels.

Will the shopping centers be open on Sundays under the current conditions?

  • Generally speaking, certain stores the supply basic necessities are now allowed to open on Sundays. We are in the process of coming to agreement with the respective tenants in this regard. If this means the entire center needs to open, the resulting increase in ancillary costs must be taken into account. As a result, further details must be coordinated with local Center Management.

Can tenants still access their shop space?

  • It goes without saying that tenants have access to their shop space at any time during the operating hours currently in force and can use it as storage space, for example. This also applies to stores closed as a result of official orders. The usual fire safety and evacuation plans continue to apply.
  • Any and all activities and work carried out in stores closed as a result of official orders is done so at the sole responsibility of the tenants themselves.

Are tenants currently permitted to carry out renovation work in their stores?

  • At the present time, this is permitted during the opening hours currently in force for the respective Center.

What is the situation with respect to the obligation to keep stores open during opening hours?

  • The contractual obligation to operate stores during opening hours has been suspended. This applies irrespective of the industry. As such, this also applies to stores that are still allowed to open under the terms of the official order (e.g. grocery stores, pharmacies).
  • The tenants must decide for themselves and, if necessary, in coordination with their head offices and the authorities whether they are allowed to or want to open or close and then implement this individually in coordination with Center Management.

What needs to be considered in the event that a store is forced to close?

  • In the event of closure, the tenant must coordinate the necessary measures with the respective Technical Manager on site (e.g. switching off the heating, lights, and other technical equipment, waste disposal, etc.).

How are the goods secured when the center is closed?

  • Security measures for the common areas will be carried out as usual. Center Management and the Technical Manager are responsible for security in the centers in cooperation with external security services and authorities, but are not responsible for guarding individual shops or tenants’ goods.

ECE’s policy on payment of rent during the coronavirus crisis

In light of the measures adopted by the German government to help tenants who are currently facing major financial difficulties, we have reached an agreement with most of the center owners in Germany we represent regarding the following policy to support our tenants in the centers during this challenging time:

  • If affected tenants are not currently paying their rent, we are initially assuming, in accordance with the law, that this is due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have therefore decided, for the time being, not to initiate collection measures during this period. This policy goes beyond the legal requirements.
  • In accordance with the law, we will also refrain from terminating any lease contracts as a result of such outstanding payments, as would have been justified under other circumstances.
  • We ask for your understanding that we do reserve the right to, at a later date, request the submission of documents that support the temporary non-payment of rent as provided for by law. Please be advised that, on the basis of the current legal situation, tenants remain obligated to pay all outstanding amounts in full.
  • By taking this step, we hope to play a part in improving our tenants’ extremely difficult financial situation at the present time. We plan to meet with our tenants and investors at a later date – when the full magnitude of the crisis is clear – in order to work together to find individual solutions that are fair for all parties involved.

In all other countries (except Germany) the coordination with the center owners is still ongoing

Will the ancillary costs be adjusted?

  • We are working hard to reduce ancillary costs (lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation, etc.) in line with the reduction in footfall and limited operations. 

Who can I contact if I have questions or concerns?