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Mould found growing on leather goods after mall forced to close due to COVID-19

Friday, May 15th 2020, 12:20 pm - Officials confirmed the incident in a Facebook post.

Images of mould-covered leather goods in a Malaysian store have gone viral on Twitter and Facebook.

The images, originally posted to Facebook and shared on Twitter by user Dragono Halim, were taken at a shopping mall in a suburb in Penang, Malaysia.

The centre was forced to close for more than 50 days due to COVID-19 restrictions. When it reopened this month, employees returned to find mould growing on leather bags, shoes, and even the cushions customers sit on to try on footwear.

“During the two-month closure, there may be fluctuation[s] in the temperature of the air conditioning at the mall," a store employee named Saw the Jakarta Post.

"The air may be more humid sometimes. And since it has been raining, the air may be moist."

GettyImages-MOULD File photo: Getty Images.

In May, average daily highs in Penang hover around 32 degrees Celsius. That, combined with recent humidity due to rainfall and a fluctuating air conditioner due to the mall closure, can create the perfect conditions for mould to flourish.

Chong, the store owner, told the Post many of the items were salvageable, but removed from store shelves.

In a May 11 Facebook post, the shopping centre confirmed the incident and said it is under investigation.

metrojaya - facebook

"There are various reasons how the goods came to be in that condition and we are still the process of investigating this. All damaged goods have now been removed from our shelves."

On Monday, mall officials shared posts on social media of staff cleaning and disinfecting the premises.

"We take it very seriously in cleaning and disinfecting our stores to ensure a safe and healthy experience to our valued customers," the statement read.

"Metrojaya Suria Sabah is now undergoing a thorough cleaning process by our dedicated staff and will be ready to welcome customers in a few more days!"

In a separate post, the mall joked that wearing mouldy shoes would be an effective way to maintain social distancing.

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