Friday, March 24

Reopening plan: Kolkata’s Forum Courtyard mall to introduce safety app for staffers, shoppers

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Forum Courtyard will harness GPS in smartphones of customers, shopkeepers, store employees and its own staff to track and record the movement of everyone who steps into the mall once it reopens for business on June 19, more than a week after other malls reopened post lockdown.

The move is aimed at not only ensuring social distancing within the mall but also enable the mall management to alert customers later if anyone who has been to the mall subsequently tests Covid positive.

Speaking to TOI, Forum group deputy managing director Vidyut Saraf said the mall had decided to open late not only to see how the others fared in the first week of operation in the new normal scenario, but more specifically to implement the additional customer-centric safeguard and technology solution that will go a further distance to reassure the clientele that Forum cares for their safety.

“While we are following all that we are required to do in terms of thermal checks, sanitization and social distancing, we are going a step forward with the introduction of the app that will register and record the movement of everyone in the mall. In case we later learn that a retailer, staff or shopper has tested positive, we can retrace the person’s movement in the mall and alert those who were in close proximity so that they can either get themselves tested or be on the lookout for early onset of symptoms,” Saraf explained.

The app will generate a unique QR code that the customer will require to scan at the time of entry and exiting the mall. To ensure the system functions, everyone who enters the Forum Courtyard will be required to mandatorily download the Forum app.

Mall security posted at the entrance will guide guests to an assistance desk where staff will request and help customers download the app. The entrance to Forum will now be through the entrance on OC Ganguly Sarani. The exit will be through the Courtyard. Those who drive into the multi-level car park will be required to download and activate the app on entry and exits at three levels.

Mall authorities will also depute staff on each floor to ensure everyone is wearing a mask and maintaining social distance.

Of the 83 stores in the mall, around 80% is expected to be operational when the mall opens on Friday. While sanitization of the common area has been completed, most retailers have also sanitized their individual stores. A few restaurants will also open but the foodcourt that is under renovation will stay shut and reopen two months later.

Saraf believes the reduced capacity of the mall to comply with social distancing norms will not affect its business. “We enjoy a boutique neighbourhood shopping centre niche that customers are missing since we shut down after business hours on March 21and they will be glad to be back,” he hoped. The mall will open at 11.30am and shut at 8pm.

Source:Times of India

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