As we work towards a COVIDSafe Australia and more people return to shopping centres, we are committed to providing a safe, healthy and secure environment for our retailers, customers and staff members. We will continue working with retailers to get businesses up and running again in a safe and viable way. Demonstrating to our customers and our community that our centres are safe environments will be vital in giving them the confidence to walk through our doors again.
That’s why we strongly support the COVID-19 Retailer Recovery Protocol which outlines 10 key actions that ensure a uniform response to COVID-19 across all shopping centres in Australia. Released in May 2020, the Protocol was jointly developed by The Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA), National Retail Association (NRA), Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) and Australian Retailers Association (ARA) “to provide a consistent, practical and public-health led guide for shopping centres and retailers that continue to trade, are reopening or are preparing to re-open when COVID-19 restrictions start to ease”1.
Below are the recommended actions to consider adopting to help keep retail staff and customers safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19, followed by some commentary on their importance, tips for implementation or how Stockland has addressed each.
Action 1: Making alcohol-based hand sanitiser at key locations such as store entrances, building entrances, customer service desks and food courts.
Action 2: Increasing frequent cleaning and disinfecting of regularly used objects and hard surfaces (e.g. payment registers, ETFPOS machines, hand-rails, bathroom door handles, shelves, shopping trolleys, counters and benches, food-court tables, staff-rooms) and other key hygiene measures (e.g. waste disposal).
Action 3: Facilitating and encouraging social distancing guidelines in accordance with Government or public health authority directions, which is currently a distance of 1.5m. Actions could include signage ‘reminders’, one-way queueing, and ground markings (e.g. stickers or tape) for queueing.
Action 4: Ensuring public gathering limits in accordance with Government direction are adhered to, which is currently no more than 1 person per 4m2 in stores* (inclusive of staff), can be maintained. Actions could include regulating access points, monitoring customer counts at relevant entrances, and displaying signage.
Action 5: Promoting contactless transactions such as ‘tap and go’ instead of cash for payments, facilitating distancing at counters and benches, and staff wearing disposable gloves when they are handling objects and money.
Action 6: Monitoring and encouraging customer adherence to relevant public health guidelines by security guards and other personnel, which may also include Police visits to shopping centres.
Action 7: Continuing to focus on the community’s access to essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies and health and medical facilities, especially for vulnerable people.
Action 8: Daily check-ins with employees on their wellbeing, ensuring employees and contractors are properly trained and have access to relevant information and personal protective equipment (PPE). These check-ins will include monitoring customer behaviour to ensure retail workers are being treated with respect - abusive and violent behaviour towards retail workers will not be tolerated.
Action 9: Fostering open and frequent communication between shopping centre management and retailers, including to alert each party to any Government or public health authority directive, to assist authorities when required, and continue to release information and guidance to employees and customers about good hygiene advice.
Action 10: Where applicable and when these services fall under the Lessee’s responsibility, Maintain relevant essential safety measures such as air-handling systems, exit doors, emergency power supply, smoke alarms, sprinkler systems and fire-isolated stairs.
* In Western Australia, the current requirement is 1 person per 4m2 in stores.
Sources: 1 COVID-19 Retail Recovery Protocol, May 2020
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