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 this page, we have compiled up-to-date information on the applicable regulations, on rents and ancillary costs, opening hours and other frequently asked questions 

In the meantime, all federal states have adopted adapted regulations for dealing with the corona crisis, which provide for a gradual easing of restrictions, especially for the retail trade. According to these regulations, shops may reopen in all federal states, including in the centres, under certain conditions regarding hygiene, access control and the avoidance of queues, as well as under the stipulation of a maximum number of people in relation to the sales area.

The corresponding requirements must be implemented by the individual stores and by the center operator for their respective areas. For the centers, the already existing comprehensive measure concepts for hygiene, distance regulations and visitor management will be expanded accordingly if necessary.

For the catering trade, too, the restrictions have already been relaxed or are planned - also subject to conditions. This is regulated in detail and differently at the level of the federal states and municipalities and is therefore communicated individually in the individual centers.

In international markets, too, the authorities are gradually issuing adapted regulations. The centers in Austria, Poland, Hungary, Denmark and the Czech Republic have already restarted under the corresponding safety standards, Slovakia and Italy will follow in the short and medium term. The regulations will also be evaluated, implemented and communicated to tenants by our local center management.

ECE must ensure that the official requirements governing center operation are followed at all times. Due to the dynamic nature of the situation, we are staying in constant contact with our business partners and proactively updating them of all new developments as they arise.

Frequently asked questions (last updated on May 06, 2020)

In the meantime, all German federal states have adopted adapted regulations for dealing with the corona crisis, which provide for a gradual easing of restrictions, especially for the retail trade. According to these regulations, shops may reopen in all federal states, including in the centres, under certain conditions regarding hygiene, access control and the avoidance of queues, as well as under the stipulation of a maximum number of people in relation to the sales area.

The corresponding requirements must be implemented by the individual stores and by the center operator for their respective areas. For the centers, the already existing comprehensive measure concepts for hygiene, distance regulations and visitor management will be expanded accordingly if necessary.

For the catering trade, too, the restrictions have already been relaxed or are planned - also subject to conditions. This is regulated in detail and differently at the level of the federal states and municipalities and is therefore communicated individually in the individual centers.

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

  • Now that almost all shops, service providers and restaurateurs in our centers have been able to resume operations as a result of the official relaxation, our centers and the shops in the centers are generally open again during the regular opening hours. In individual cases, the preparations for resuming operations may take a little longer, so that some shops currently open a little later in the morning and close a little earlier in the evening, but are open at least from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. This will last until the end of June at the latest, so that from 1 July 2020 all shops should open and operate again during the opening hours stipulated in the rental agreement. 

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

  • In order to accommodate our tenants in the current situation, we will not insist for the time being on compliance with the rental agreement obligation to operate the rental area during the entire core opening hours. This applies irrespective of the industry. This therefore also applies to shops providing basic services (e.g. food, pharmacies) in federal states in which, according to the current ordinance, only these shops may open.
  • Irrespective of the current difficult situation for tenants and landlords alike, we must nevertheless point out that the obligation to pay rent and ancillary costs remains in place in full, even if rental areas close earlier.
  • 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.

For centers in German federal states in which the current regulations do not allow further opening of shops in the centers, the same applies as before:

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. 

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.). 

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.

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?