With the Government of India lifting restrictions for the retail industry in a phased manner, retailers and shopping malls pan India are excitedly and exhaustively preparing themselves to re-open their premises post lockdown. For now, the Shopping Centre Industry is waiting for orders from the Government to allow them to reopen in green and orange zones.
In an attempt to make its retail partners understand the shopping centre’s technical SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and various other preparations better, LuLu Mall, Kochi released a video explaining its store reopening policy.
The one-and-half-minute video showcases guidelines required – from a mall developer’s perspective – to convince and give confidence to every retail partner and patrons to come back to the mall post this long lockdown period.
“It is crucial that we follow this set of guidelines before we open our doors to consumers. As we want to welcome them back to a cleaner safer tomorrow, we need proper planning and preparation. Therefore, we have prepared major guidelines for our retail staff. They need to download the Aarogya Setu app to ensure that they are not coming from the red zones. We are also are asking them to wear facemasks and gloves for the entire time they are in the mall,” says Shibu Philips, Business Head, LuLu Shopping Mall.
“We have also provided SOP guidelines – along with this video – to every retailer which helps them understand what they need to do before entering the shopping centre and opening their store. We are also helping our retail partners implement these measures precisely since many of them are low on manpower for now,” he adds.
Philips explains that his shopping centre has formed a ‘disinfectant team’ – outsourced to an agency – which can be contacted by all retail partners in case they need assistance related to safety measures.
“The mall has given a list of chemicals that retailers can use to disinfect hard surfaces. We have instructed them to keep a check on and clean their AC units, exhaust fans and other filters, drain lines etc. because we understand that if the dust level in the mall crosses a certain point, it can lead to the spread of the virus,” he says.
Philips also states that the mall has put up messages and stickers marking 1.5 -2 mt gaps so customers can easily adhere to social distancing. Some of the guidelines which LuLu Mall has enumerated are:
Guidelines: COVID-19 Safety Measures
– Deep cleaning stores 2 days prior to reopening
– Clean and disinfect the entire store using the right cleaning agents
– Sanitize all customer touch points thoroughly including door handles, escalators handles, lift doors and button, washroom area etc
– Clean glass/shutter before opening the store
– PPE kits for all mall staff especially those working in maintenance
– Take all the merchandise out safely, and clean dust and iron it well before placing it back
– Make sure AHU COIL, AC Diffusers & air filters are cleaned well.
– Thermostat must be in working condition.
– Apply disinfectant chemicals on AHU filters
Guidelines: Store Safety measures
– Open DBS panel boards to confirm, there is no pest attack.
– Check for any loose or burned wires
– Check the earthing wires, switches and sockets for safety tripping.
– Inspect the fire panels and rectify any faults
Control Consumer Entry Points
LuLu Mall has been experimenting with a lots of things in the lockdown period when it was partially open – the hypermarket and chemist stores were servicing consumers in tandem with state government orders.
It was during this time that the mall management observed that even if a customer is well informed and taking precautions at his/her end, it is only if the mall also makes an effort that the spread of the virus can be completely avoided.
“We saw that the average time spent by the consumers in the shopping mall was not more than 40 minutes. In order to control the movement, we placed desks outside the hypermarket stores where consumers can talk to team members who are happy to help them with everything,” says Philips.
He further explains that the mall is working on creating a market space in its premises where people can come and purchase things from different stores by ordering online on the LuLu Mall app. The consumers waits in this space while the retail outlet delivers their order here.
“This is one of the many ways we are creating to control consumer presence,” he concludes.