As Chennai malls re-open, here is what the new shopping experience is like

Is shopping at the mall like going to the ball as Cinderella: out and in with a deadline in thoughts? Mall hop with us, following COVID-19 tips

Ask S Lalitha what she longs for and the KK Nagar resident says, “I have missed going to Spar Hypermarket in Forum Mall to get my monthly groceries…” Human needs have develop into astonishingly easy beneath the pandemic.

Until 5 months in the past, the metropolis’s shopping malls have been prime hangout areas, bustling with hordes of individuals — shopping, catching a late afternoon film, attending an anime conference or just having fun with open air concert events.

Now, malls have lastly been allowed to re-open beneath Unlock for the first time since they have been closed for operations on March 25.

But, as excited as Lalitha is to buy at her favorite grocery store once more, she is additionally cautious: “I want to make sure that they are following all the necessary precautions to curb the spread of the virus, before visiting.” She is not the just one. What will a visit to the mall look like right now?

Entry at Express Avenue, Chennai

Rethinking areas

At Forum Vijaya Mall in Vadapalani, guests are required to e-book a time-slot previous to visiting, which may be accomplished from its social media deal with or from the web site.

Velachery’s Phoenix MarketCity, in the meantime, has launched an utility referred to as ‘Nhance by Phoenix’. The app, which may be downloaded from Google Play retailer and App retailer, has options equivalent to pre-booking entry, finding the shops inside (to cut back ambling), making fast and contactless funds, and even pre-ordering meals from anyplace in the mall.

At the entrance, clients are made to bear a sequence of safety, hygiene and temperature checks. Customers are additionally urged to obtain the Aarogya Setu app on their cell phones, earlier than heading to the mall.

“There are wet and dry mats to disinfect feet at the mall’s entrance. A UV scanner is present to disinfect personal baggage and there are touch-free hand sanitising stations too inside,” says Pooja Patti, Centre Director of Phoenix MarketCity and Palladium. The variety of folks visiting, that is the mall density, is monitored by way of synthetic intelligence sensors. Thermal cameras have additionally been positioned at the entry. “They have a red signal with an alarm to indicate if the person’s temperature is higher than normal,” she provides.

The new shopping experience

Twenty-three-year-old Shreejay Munuswam, a Saligramam resident, visited Phoenix on the first day the malls reopened. “It was not crowded… I went to the H&M showroom in Palladium to buy clothes,” he says. But how protected is attempting on garments for that good match?

That relies upon each on the mall’s SOP and the particular person shops’ extra security precautions. Mohammed Ali, Chief Operations Officer of Forum Vijaya Mall says, “Some apparel brands are not allowing trials of clothes. Other brands are using sanitisation baskets near trial rooms. Customers are asked to put the tried clothes into the baskets. Those clothes are disinfected and kept back on the rack after two days.”

Soumit Banerjee, Centre Head for Marina Mall in Egatoor, says that the mall’s upkeep prices, together with disinfectant flooring and elevators by workers in PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), have gone up by 20%. Interestingly, knowledge from Marina Mall additionally reveals that house furnishing shops are doing significantly effectively after reopening, maybe owing to the prolonged home-bound interval and extra wants pushed by working from house.

Meanwhile, in VR Chennai, Anna Nagar, shops are permitting just one buyer per 75 sq. toes of house, and customers are supplied with disposable gloves on request in the event that they need to contact and really feel the merchandise.

All shops at the meals court docket at VR Chennai have already opened. At Express Avenue, operations to open the courts are presently underway as staffers progressively return from their properties throughout the nation. Shreejay Munuswamy, who dined at Pappa Roti throughout his go to to Phoenix says, “Apart from Pappa Roti and Starbucks, none of the other restaurants were open. The food at Pappa Roti was very good, but the choices were limited.”

Washrooms with red and green markings at Forum Mall, Chennai

Washrooms with crimson and inexperienced markings at Forum Mall, Chennai

Attention has additionally been paid to the washrooms. Express Avenue has made solely alternate urinals and wash basins obtainable to be used. RK Devanathan, 26, from Chrompet, who visited Forum Vijaya Mall on September 2, says, “A red-sign board was put up outside the washrooms, and we were made to use only those urinals and wash basins marked with red-stickers. There were also green-stickers marking alternate urinals, so maybe they will be used at different times depending on their sanitisation.”

Express Avenue’s Chief Revenue Officer Munish Khanna appears pleased with the response they’ve gotten to date. “It does not look like the mall was shut for five months,” he says.

On August 30, the Government introduced that malls can operate from September 1. According to Munish, in lower than 48 hours, Express Avenue managed to reopen 200 out of its 220 shops. “We have seen around 40% of previous year’s footfall in the first two days of reopening.”

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