The Covid-19 pandemic has left no part of life untouched, and now it is set to change the experience of visiting malls for the near future. Deep sanitisation, thermal image cameras and deployment of marshals to ensure social distancing: these elements will be part of the new normal when malls reopen in Pune on August 5, after being shut for nearly five months.
Crowd control, meanwhile, will be the key in keeping visitors and mall employees alike safe.
Surjit Singh Rajpurohit, chief operating officer of Amonora Mall, said the management has put in place special thermal sensing cameras, which will record temperature of visitors. Deep sanitisation of all surfaces, including lifts and other frequently-used areas, will be carried out every few hours, he said.
“Marshals will be deployed inside the mall to ensure customers maintain social distancing,” he said.
Individual shops, especially which deal with garments and apparels, will put in place a separate operating procedure. This will include regulating the number of people who can enter the shop at any given time. “A piece of garment will be steam ironed before and after a customer tries it out,” said Rajpurohit.
Nexus Malls, the company which owns both The Pavilion and WestEnd Mall in Pune, has also set up speicific protocols to ensure safe operations.
Dalip Sehgal, CEO of Nexus Malls, said the firm has tied up with Bureau Veritas for carrying out regular health and hygiene audits. Both the malls will also have a footfall tracker, which will be able to count how many people enter and exit the malls, and how many are in the mall at any point in time. “Sanitising boxes and gesture-based lift call systems will also be there for safety,” he said.
Shashank Pathak, centre director of WestEnd Mall, said, “Providing a safe and hygienic shopping experience has been our focus since the beginning. We are strictly adhering to the SOPs circulated by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Shopping Centre Association of India. All the customers, retailers, and staff members are being continuously monitored to ensure they adhere to the hygiene norms heightened at every touch-point inside the mall premises.”
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