Barely two days before city malls reopen after being shut for more than two and a half months, managers said they had anticipated the restrictions announced in the SOP that the Centre released on Thursday and had already put in place social distancing and anti-Covid 19 infection measures that were more stringent than what had been asked for. With the SOP setting a 75sqft per person guideline, malls have set up technology, like cameras with artificial intelligent sensors, to do head counts at the entry and exit to ensure the capacity limit is not exceeded.
At Quest, the luxury mall near Park Circus, shoppers will be able to pre-book their visit on the mall app and avoid the hassle of standing in the sun till they get a chance to enter. “Customers can choose the visit date and time based on the slots available,” said Quest mall vice-president Sanjeev Mehra.
At Acropolis, children under 10 and people above 65 will not be allowed entry as a measure of precaution. For those who visit, there will be posters along corridors to make them more aware about the virus. “We have used poems from Sukumar Ray’s ‘Abol Tabol’ and dialogues of superheroes, like Spiderman and Captain America, to deliver messages on social distancing norms,” said Acropolis general manager (operations) K Vijayan.
At South City mall, foot-pedal switches have been added to the elevator lobbies. Shoppers will be able to call an elevator by stepping on the pedal instead of pressing the button with a finger. The mall has also installed ultra-violet sterilization for the handrails on escalators. “In our mall, and probably most others as well, we have marked every fourth step on the escalator for the customer to stand on instead of every alternate step recommended in the SOP. It is simply an added precaution that we are taking,” said South City mall vice-president Manmohan Bagree.
At Mani Square, the management has decided to encourage patrons to carry their own drinking water as the dispensers at the facility will be non-functional. In elevators, only four persons will be allowed at a time.
City Centre I and City Centre II, which have a lot of open space, following social-distancing norms will be easy. Elsewhere, at operational entries, elevator and escalator zones and inside lifts, markings have been done to ensure social distancing. “The mall premises will be fumigated daily. But frequently touched points and washrooms will be sanitized every 30 minutes,” said Ambuja Neotia Group general manager (marketing and events) Ramesh Pandey.
While all malls are gearing up to open on May 8 with around 80% of the stores in operation, the city’s first mall, Forum Courtyard, has decided to wait and watch for a while before joining the fray. “We are ready, in terms of physical infrastructure, to open. However, given the boutique-neighbourhood-shopping-centre niche that Forum Courtyard occupies, we want to implement certain additional customer-centric safeguards that will go towards reassuring our premium clientele about safety and hygiene. We are planning to open a week later than the rest,” explained Forum group deputy managing director Vidyut Saraf.
Source: Times of India