03 July 2020   

10 minute read
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.

  • It’s crucial to implement an effective hand hygiene program in public places as the vast majority of all infections are transmitted by hands.
  • Early on, Stockland provided access to multiple hand sanitisers, masks, gloves and disinfectant wipes around centres with additional soap and hand sanitiser units installed in centre amenities and common areas.

 

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).

  • Again, frequently touched areas must be cleaned to prevent the spread of the virus on these surfaces.
  • At Stockland, we increased the routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces including lift and travelator handrails, food courts, amenity areas and entry points.

 

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.

  • It is important to clearly display signs throughout retail environments to remind workers and shoppers of the risks of COVID-19 and the measures that are necessary to stop its spread. Consider installing social distancing and hygiene decals and signage such as ‘Remember to practise social distancing – 1.5 metres’ and ‘cough into your elbow’ to promote a COVIDSafe environment.
  • Stockland has initiated regular PA announcements to remind customers to maintain 1.5m social distancing requirements and installed wayfinding and social distancing signage.

 

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.

  • Consider installing ‘maximum capacity’ signage to let customers know how many people can safely be in a store at any one time.
  • Stockland incorporated hygiene messages at centre entry points, digital marketing screens and in all amenities in line with Australian Government health guidelines to limit the number of people in our centres and to stop the spread of COVID-19.

 

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.

  • Encouraging contactless payment technology helps to minimise the handling of cash, so as to keep staff and customers safe.

 

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.

  • Security guards and other personnel are there to monitor crowded environments and remind customers to maintain social distancing.

 

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.

  • Throughout the pandemic, ‘essential services’ have, where possible, remained open. This has enabled the community to access household items and vital services including: fresh food, medical services, banking and any other items deemed essential.

 

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.

  • Checking in with staff will help to ensure that our customers, retailers and team can operate in the safest environment when they visit our centres, and that the concerns of frontline team members are heard and responded to.

 

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.

  • Regular communication is fundamental to a safer shopping experience for everyone, allowing for knowledge-sharing and efficiencies through cooperation.
  • Stockland continues to work in close collaboration with our retailers to ensure that we are all doing our part to keep our shared retail environment clean and safe.

 

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.

  • The regular maintenance of stores should not be neglected as social distancing measures become top-of-mind.

 

* In Western Australia, the current requirement is 1 person per 4m2 in stores.

Sources: 1 COVID-19 Retail Recovery Protocol, May 2020

 

Stockland is not responsible for the material of any third-party website to which links are provided and does not accept any liability for any claims loss or damage arising from the reliance on any such material. Any links to websites are provided for your information or convenience only. Any opinions or views expressed in any third-party material or websites do not necessarily represent the views of Stockland. Stockland does not endorse these websites and cannot guarantee or warrant that the material provided is accurate, complete or current.

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