The New Normal: Shopping Malls Adapt To The Challenges Of The COVID-19 Pandemic
Shopping malls have reopened after being closed for several months due to the onset of the global pandemic. Amid our interest to shop, a question is still looming large at the back of everyone’s minds — how safe is it to visit a shopping mall? Well, here are the safety precautions the world’s leading malls are maintaining to keep consumers safe.
With the slogan, ‘Whenever you’re ready, we’ll be ready for you’, American department store chain Macy’s has opened with stringent security measures in place including the store team to complete wellness checks before shifts, increased cleaning procedures in high touch areas, store team and customers to wear masks at all times, hand sanitizer available, social distancing of six feet, increased air ventilation in all stores, gloves to be worn by merchandise fulfilment and receiving teams and plexiglass shields installed at checkout counters.
British department store Harrods has footfall monitoring technology in place to control in-store capacity and ensure social distancing. Bold signage directs customers around the store, specific doors are designated for entry and exit, and shifts have been reduced to ensure its teams do not cross over. Furthermore, there is an enhanced cleaning program, including regular surface cleaning and hand sanitiser stations throughout the store and at the entrance and exit. Michael Ward, Managing Director, Harrods, revealed in a company release, “Closing our store was a heart-breaking decision for everyone at Harrods, and we instinctively began to look ahead to reopening, poised and ready to welcome customers back as soon as we feasibly could… While we will undoubtedly be operating in a hugely changed environment, we are optimistic about the future. The opening of Harrods — a building that has stood in central London for over 170 years — is important for our long-term stability as a business, but also an optimistic step in the wider reopening of London… “
Dubai Mall, acclaimed as the world’s largest mall owned by Emaar, re-opened under strict safeguards. The mall announced a set of guidelines that visitors must follow, such as wearing a mask and not staying inside longer than three hours. A security guard checks a customers’ temperature and offers them disposable gloves. Further, keeping consumer safety in mind, senior citizens and children are not allowed in. Emaar Chairman Mohamed Alabbar said in the final of a special series of virtual conference calls with key stakeholders, ”None of us have faced anything like this before, and as we work together I am confident that as a company and a country we will come out of this crisis. But we must now prepare for a new way of working. There is a new normal, a new dawn, that awaits us.”
The shopping malls are doing everything they can to maintain a safe environment so the least we can do is wear a mask, maintain six feet distance from other shoppers, wipe down carts with a sanitiser, avoid elevators if possible and use contact-less payment to reduce the risk of contamination.
I worked with Condenast India as Digital Editor and launched Vogue India’s portal. Four years later, I turned entrepreneur and launched my luxury portal www.explosivefashion.in. Perhaps it’s my vision and exclusive content that’s placed Explosive Fashion at the forefront of luxury: reporting from fashion weeks, collaborating with luxury brands, presenting royal families’ vision, championing talent, reviewing hotels and restaurants, writing on travel, heritage. My editorial is of a storyteller, the story of the person behind the brand.