May 29, 2020 2:38:20 am
With flight operations resuming, less than half the retail shops and food outlets inside the Mumbai airport have restarted their services with limited staff, albeit in two shifts instead of three.
The Indian Express on Thursday visited the airport and found most shops operating with one or two employees. Even though business has been badly hit, the footfall has been encouraging, said shopowners. The airport, which has over 1,500 employees on its payroll, has been calling less than 30 per cent of the staffers to work, said officials.
So far, the airport has operated over 190 flights, including arrivals and departures, catering to 19,652 passengers.
As per the standard operating protocol laid out by Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), no customer can touch any product in a shop and will be helped by a staffer. The shops need to be regularly sanitised, besides following social-distancing norms and contactless transactions. The shops are audited everyday.
The lounge areas have also been opened up, each equipped with thermal screening machines. Here, to maintain social distance, signages have been put up signalling passengers to use every alternate seat. Electronic menu has replaced physical menus and visitors are offered only pre-packed meals. The food court, which used to be thronged by over 3,000 passengers earlier daily, now sees less than 300 passengers a day. “Some passengers are scared to try out the food. However, with our safety protocols, we have begun seeing customers. The number is low but encouraging,” said the shopowner of a popular beverage chain.
From parking before the departure gates to the arrival sections and all across the airport, vinyl flower stickers have been stuck to the floor, urging passengers to follow social distancing.
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