Shopping centre owner Intu has outlined how it will safely support the gradual reopening of non-essential retail stores at its 14 UK shopping centres, in line with government guidelines.
Intu has drawn up individual plans for each of its shopping centres to “keep everyone who visits or works there safe” and ”to help Intu’s brand customers reopen safely” as the coronavirus lockdown eases.
The company said “a taskforce of experts” from across Intu developed the plans using a series of central, common principles for its portfolio, as well as research carried out among shopping centre visitors.
The plans include placing limits on the number of people and cars allowed into each centre at a time, with some parking bays closed, and a raft of other measures including one-way systems, floor stickers and staff training to ensure visitors stay socially distanced.
Enhanced hygiene regimes that were introduced at the start of the outbreak will continue, with more deep cleaning of key areas and touchpoints like escalators, toilets and keypads. These measures have remained in place as centres provide vital access to essential services like pharmacies, supermarkets and banks during the lockdown period. Hand sanitation stands will also remain at entrances and other locations throughout each centre for visitors to use during their visit.
Intu staff will be given personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them safe, with face masks and gloves provided to frontline workers such as security and customer service staff, and visors issued to waste and environmental teams.
Matthew Roberts, chief executive of Intu, said: “Intu is the biggest landlord for most of our customers so we have been working to help them plan the reopening of their stores as soon and as safely as they can.
“Experts from across Intu have formed a specialist taskforce who have considered everything we need to run our centres as safely as possible, with a series of central, common principles for the portfolio and individual plans for each centre. This includes working with our brand customers and providing them with all the support they need to reopen safely, as well as new social distancing and hygiene procedures to keep everyone who visits or works in our centres safe.
“We have introduced enhanced cleaning regimes and hand sanitation stands throughout every centre, measures to limit the number of visitors and ensure they stay socially distanced once inside, and given our staff the protective equipment they need to stay safe.
“We know we cannot do this alone and everyone who visits our centres whether for work or to shop will play their part in keeping themselves and each other safe by following the official guidelines, and the instructions and safety information provided by our teams. Our teams have been working incredibly hard to keep our centres clean and safe during the lockdown and we are hugely grateful to them, and we would also like to thank our brand customers and visitors for all their cooperation and patience so far.”