Emgallery founder hopes new shop can open with rent waiver

This article is more than 12 months old

Handcrafted textile designer emgallery was supposed to have moved to a new location in April.

But when Malaysia came under a movement control order in March because of the Covid-19 pandemic, emgallery's contractor could not complete the renovation works as scheduled because most of its workers and building materials were from across the Causeway.

Singapore's circuit breaker also kicked in on April 7 and lasted till June 1.

Founder and designer Emiko Nakamura said: "Our renovations started in mid-March and were supposed to have finished by April 7, but it didn't go as planned.

"But at least we managed to move out of our previous location in Dempsey Road before things spiralled down.

"The earliest we can move to our new location is probably in July. Renovation will take two weeks to complete if there is no further disruption. After that, we have to start putting in fixtures, which will take another week."

It will be at least four months with no revenue for her, and rent obligations at her new shop began in April.

But the new Covid 19 (Temporary Measures) (Amendment) Act, passed on June 5, will likely bring some reprieve.

Eligible tenants and subtenants in the food and beverage and commercial sectors will enjoy four months of rental waiver from April through July - two months each from the Government and the landlord. This is as long as tenants' leases are in force on April 1.

"The rent waivers should cover us. We paid our April rent in March, as required by our contract. And we couldn't open our shop in May, so we should be entitled to the relief," Ms Nakamura said.

She hopes to have more clarity about the relief and an update on when her new shop can open at a meeting her landlord is having with tenants next week. - GRACE LEONG