Malls gear up to open, comply with curbs

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on June 07, 2020

Safety measures A worker puts up a social distancing sticker at a mall ahead of its reopening , in New Delhi, on Sunday   -  ANUSHREE FADNAVIS

How malls are gearing up to open doors for consumers

As shopping malls in several States gear up to open their doors on Monday, they will be leveraging technology to monitor footfalls to ensure social-distancing and offer contactless payment options at food courts and parking spaces.

After the Health Ministry’s Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), State governments have released their own norms for malls.

Haryana has decided to open malls in all districts except Gurguram and Faridabad. Punjab said entry into malls will be based on a token system, use of escalators instead of elevators will be encouraged and restaurants and food courts will only open for takeaways and deliveries.

Jayen Naik, Senior Vice-President, Operations & Projects, Nexus Malls, said for now the company will be opening three of its malls in Amritsar, Chandigarh and Ahmedabad.

“In the past few days, we have been training our staff for implementation of various safety and hygiene protocols. Sanitisation is being undertaken at all these properties... We have also tied up with Bureau Veritas to ensure our protocols are vetted by a third-party agency,” he added.

‘Contactless’ transactions

“We are in the process of deploying a QR code-based technology for ordering and payments at food courts and parking. The focus is on reducing the number of touch points as much as possible for contactless transactions,” he added.

Pushpa Bector, Executive Director, DLF Shopping Malls, which has malls in the Delhi-NCR region, said the company is gearing up to open its properties in the next 3-5 days in line with State and local-level norms and safety protocols.

“We are also embracing technology for real time foot traffic, real time notifications on safety and cleanliness, booking of time slots, golden hours to visit our malls which our consumers will be able to experience very soon on the DLF Malls ‘Lukout’ app,” she added.

Industry players said while footfalls may be low initially, per-person spends are likely to be higher as only consumers who want to do need-based purchases will walk into malls.

Rashmi Sen, Group COO- Malls, Phoenix Mills Ltd, said: “We believe in the next 30-45 days, consumers will gradually gain confidence to get back into the habit of shopping at malls.”

Phoenix Mills is gearing up to open three of its malls at Bengaluru, Lucknow and Bareilly on Monday. “Besides the prescribed protocols for screening, social-distancing and sanitisation, we have deployed UV scanners for bags and contactless payment options at food courts and parking spaces,” Sen added.

Published on June 07, 2020

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