Even as the state government has allowed malls in the state to re-open amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the experience of going to the mall is about to change dramatically, perhaps ushering in the post-Covid-19 world that many had imagined through the lockdown.
Starting August 5, a visit to the mall could entail downloading the Aarogya Setu App, pre-booking for mall entry, restricted use of elevators and sanitisation of fitting rooms and washrooms after each use.
For the retail sector — which like many other businesses had been restricted to online operations through the four months of lockdown — the opening of stores in the city’s malls may bring relief although not without caution.
Rashmi Sen, chief operating officer, malls, The Phoenix Mills Limited, said, “The decision to reopen malls will give a much-needed boost to the retail industry in Maharashtra. This is a positive step towards ensuring that India’s consumption story is rekindled. Our three flagship malls in Maharashtra will open on August 5. We have incorporated the highest quality SOPs to ensure the safety of our customers, retail partners and employees across our properties. We are excited and prepared to host our guests with the new safe shopping experience.”
The Phoenix Mills Limited owns the popular High Street Phoenix and Palladium malls in Lower Parel and the Phoenix Marketcity in Kurla.
At the entrance of the Oberoi Mall in Goregaon (East), which used to be a popular hangout in the western suburbs before it was locked up amid the pandemic, patrons will be screened for body temperature using auto-scanning thermal cameras that will raise an alarm only if the body temperature of the patron is higher than normal.
“Keeping the guidelines issued by the government as the minimum threshold, Oberoi Mall has endeavored to re-imagine the entire shopping experience with minimum disruption to customer convenience in a manner which clearly demonstrates to the patrons that even amidst the fear of the virus, Oberoi Mall can continue to remain their safe haven to rejuvenate, rewind and refresh,” said Anuj Arora, General Manager, Oberoi Mall
Among the new installations at the Oberoi Mall, he said, are foot-operated door handles in washrooms, shoe sanitisation mats, protective glass at the reception and automatic sanitiser and soap dispensers. He said a distance of two steps on the escalator belts will be observed, the seating capacity of the food court will be halved to enable social distancing and UV Box at the entrance to sterlise vouchers and lost and found items, among others. In washrooms, only alternate wash basins and urinals will be operational, said Arora.
“…All of us are putting up the best show to battle out the challenge and emerge stronger. While we eagerly look forward towards the reopening, we have to ensure utmost precaution,” said Manoj K Agarwal, chief executive officer, Viviana Mall.
The mall in Thane too has mandated the green status on the Aarogya Setu App and advised patrons not to bring children under 10 and senior citizens to the mall. There will be stickers on the floor to keep the flow of customers unidirectional and avoid chaos, said Agarwal.
Elevators will be open only to the disabled and pregnant women.
Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI ) have been installed in air-conditioning systems and at air handling unit that keep coils continuously clean and disinfected.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines