Malls Are Reopening to Serve Communities, But Safety is Still The Top Priority
First, let’s be clear: Under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine, malls are not reopening because the coronavirus is gone or otherwise defeated—malls are only reopening to serve more people by providing the goods and services they need, which in turn helps to resuscitate the economy.
SM Supermalls is keenly aware of this, and would like you to know that it has taken great care to prioritize shoppers’ safety. "As we continue to serve the community and provide them with their essential needs, we will be implementing safety measures to help protect customers, employees, and tenant partners,” said SM Supermalls president Steven Tan.
So what can you expect from the “new normal” of malling?
There are several measures in place, and SM enforces them strictly. At mall entrances, personnel conduct temperature checks and ensure that none may enter without a face mask. Entire malls are sanitized before, during, and after mall hours—restrooms, every 30 minutes—and alcohol sanitizers are practically a fixture now.
On top of that, SM also ensures that mall workers follow the government’s fit-to-work guidelines. Their temperatures are checked throughout the day, and they are provided with personal protective equipment like face masks, face shields, and gloves.
There are also efforts by SM to continue enforcing a protective distance between shoppers. The number of people inside stores is limited and managed. To discourage loitering, mall Wi-Fi connections have been disabled, and leisure establishments remain closed. Elevators are exclusively for use of senior citizens, pregnant women, and persons with disabilities; and only allow 50 percent capacity.
Naturally, however, safe distancing depends on the conscientiousness of shoppers, too. And so SM asks that we keep a one-meter distance from each other at all times, and stand at least two steps apart on escalators. “The cooperation of our valued mallgoers is important to make this work for everyone’s protection,” Mr. Tan stresses.
So while the circumstances are far from ideal, malls are doing their part to protect their respective communities, which also involves providing the essentials. All must still observe social distancing and avoid spending too much time outside. As we continue to fight this pandemic, everyone has a role to play, and malling wisely is our shared responsibility.
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