STATE GOVTs SHOULD ALLOW SAFE MALLS TO OPEN FOLLOWING MHA ORDER AND MoHFW & SCAI SOPs

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Following MHA Order, Malls should be allowed to open in all No Containment Zones - subject to strict adherence of MoHFW and SCAI SOPs.

The pandemic and consequent restrictions / lockdowns have had a disastrous impact on the shopping centres sector. We welcome the Government’s decision to allow restaurants, hotels and malls to open in areas outside the containment zones from 8 June and hope that this landmark decision will pave the way for graded resurgence of the shopping centres across the country.

It is a well-accepted fact that customers will now gravitate towards guaranteed safety and hygiene standards. SCAI has taken the initiative to help Malls / shopping centres across the country recalibrate their safety and hygiene protocols by developing stringent SOPs.

The SOPs prepared by SCAI contain stringent protocols to be followed by Malls / shopping centres, including guidelines for Air-Conditioning as per directives of the WHO which is now chaired by our honourable Health & FW minister Dr Harsh Vardhan. These SOPs and protocols were shared with the Hon’ble Home Minister, the PMO as well as all the Chief Ministers. These SOPs have been hailed as best in class and assure highest safety of visitors and the staff. Accordingly MoHFW has issued its Office Memorandum on 4th June with SOPs for Malls and Restaurants - requesting States/UTs to implement with the option of States/UTs to implement their own protocols, developed if any.

Shopping Malls are better equipped to control crowd and follow norms of safe distancing, hygiene, healthy & ensure fresh air following ISHARAE & CPWD approved air-conditioning guidelines.

The Guidelines and SOPs of Shopping Centres Association of India has already defined a mechanism to control shoppers entry at any point of time. As per global norms, in the first phase of mall opening post lockdown, malls should restrict the number of visitors by ensuring only 1 customer per 75 sq.ft.; 50% vehicle of the parking capacity and by maintaining occupancy ceiling to approx. 50%. Also since Cinemas and entertainment in malls remaining closed in the first phase of opening, footfalls will automatically come down drastically.

Since Malls are managed by big corporates that follow stringent SOPs and global best practices, they can partner with brands, stores, government, regulatory and civic administration bodies, community and social media to build effective campaigns on the "New Normal".

Some Important Points from SOP Document of Shopping Centres Association of India (SCAI)

Safe & Hygienic

•Stringent 48 Pages of SCAI SOPs to provide a safe and hygienic environment
•Compulsory Aarogya Setu app for mall and store staff
•Continuous sanitization of customer touch-points and fumigation
•Compulsory masks for all
•Restricted washroom usage policy
•All staff (incl. retail stores) equipped with PPE
Social Distancing

•Controlled entry, thus ensuring crowd control, strict monitoring
•75 sq ft for one person to restrict shoppers numbers
•Temperature screening of all visitors/ employees with contactless infrared guns
•No crowding in common areas
Safe Air-conditioning

•Dedicated technical team to monitor and implement air- conditioning measures as per ISHARAE and approved by CPWD
•Fresh air, 40% humidity/ controlled temperature; regular checks of ambient air quality
•Maintain temperature between 24-30 degree centigrade
Accountability

•Managed by organized entities so greater accountability & stricter protocols
•Ease of  monitoring, roll out of internal SOPs and Govt. guidelines
•50% staff strength in first phase
•Robust infrastructure assures effective implementation of best practices