Sunday , July 5 2020

Revealed: How Dubai malls control crowds at full capacity to maintain safe distance


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Dubai: As Dubai malls resume operating at 100 per cent capacity, a leading mall operator has said entire teams at its malls have been trained to help enforce social distancing requirements, among which is the need to ensure groups do not exceed five people.

Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, managing director, Majid Al Futtaim Properties, Shopping Malls, told Gulf News, “Our entire malls team has been briefed on our strict health and hygiene rules, and they’re responsible for helping to enforce the social distancing requirements, whereby groups must not exceed five people. Signs have also been placed throughout the mall reminding visitors of the correct practices to follow.”

Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, after reopening
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Majid AL Futtaim operates 27 shopping malls in the region, including Mall of the Emirates, City Centre malls and My City Centre neighbourhood centres in Dubai.

Sharaf said, “All precautionary measures and guidelines remain in place as required by the government. This includes the requirement that visitors wear face mask all the time and maintain social distancing.”

Kids aged 3-12, seniors above 60 still not allowed

Sharaf said children aged between three and 12 years and those above 60 years are still not permitted to enter shopping malls as per government directives.

Signages everywhere remind the public on maintaining a safe distance
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

“The health and well-being of our employees, customers and tenants remains our number one priority and appropriate precautionary measures are in place to help ensure a safer shopping experience for our customers,” he added.

Stores run at full capacity, food outlets at 30%

Sharaf said, “All retailers across the malls in Dubai are allowed to increase their staff and visitor capacity to 100 per cent as per the recently announced directives. We’re being sure to take all precautions necessary even as the restrictions on movement are eased.”

“However,” he added, “Our mall F&B outlets will maintain the current social distancing requirements and operate at 30 per cent capacity as before, to preserve the health and wellbeing of visitors and employees. Our teams will also continue with the rigorous sanitisation of mall public areas.”

‘Stay home if you are unwell’

“We’re all in this together, which means we must all follow the same guidelines to protect ourselves and the community around us. We ask our visitors to follow the wise guidance of the authorities, which includes wearing a mask at all times, maintaining social distancing, not gathering in groups of more than five people, and staying at home if they feel unwell,” said Sharaf.

Crowds are expected to pick up at the malls in the coming days
Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

“On our part, we’ve installed hand sanitisers across the mall and have installed thermal cameras at the mall entrances to screen visitors’ temperature as they enter. Signs have been positioned throughout our malls advising visitors on necessary hygiene practices, and we’re also continuing with the deep cleaning and sanitisation of all mall public areas. We’re also working closely with our mall tenants to support them in making sure their retails spaces are sanitised,” added Sharaf.

Exercise good judgement: BurJuman

Elsewhere at BurJuman, the management told Gulf News: “We ask that the public exercise good judgement when visiting BurJuman, including following all guidelines for social distancing and hygiene practices. We also ask that anyone who does not feel well ensures that their whole family or physical contact group stays at home in order to keep everyone safe.

BurJuman
Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rahman/Gulf News

“The health and well-being of our customers, employees, retail partners, and the communities we serve are always our top priorities. We are closely monitoring updates from the Dubai Economic Department (DED), and following guidelines put into place by the government.”

Monitoring the numbers

Last month, when malls were operating at 30 per cent capacity, Engineer Arif Al Janahi, security operations and services manager at the Security Industry Regulatory Agency, had at a virtual conference of top officials recommended that major shopping centres reduce the number of their entry points to monitor the number and flow of visitors.

The conference discussed how monitoring the number of passengers in every car entering the mall would be helpful, just as making provisions for different exit points was necessary.

At the same conference, Brian Tarpey, security consultant at SIRA, talked about how technology could be used to count the number of people at any point inside a shopping centre. This in turn would enable mall managements to take appropriate measures.

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