Covid-19: Consumers support tech-based safety measures in shopping centres

The majority of consumers want to see tech-based Covid-19 safety measures introduced in shopping centres when non-essential shops re-open from mid-June, according to an Intu report. The study revealed that over 60% actively encourage the introduction of a temperature scan upon store/centre entry, CCTV technology to control crowds and cashless stores, as shopping centres prepare for reopening.

The survey of 2,000 regular shopping centre visitors displayed strong support for a range of cautionary and safety measures in shopping centres as the Covid-19 crisis continues. This includes over 70% actively encouraging compulsory hand sanitisation upon store/centre entry, protective screens at tills, limitations on the numbers able to enter stores at any one time, and 2m distance markers in-store. A majority confirmed they would be happy to wait for an average of 10 minutes for store entry.

The findings suggest that investing in tech-based safety initiatives could be key to the recovery of the high street, with non-essential stores forced to close as part of lockdown restrictions since 23 March.

The report, entitled ‘The new normal: retail during and post COVID-19’, also gave some positive indications regarding the return to physical shopping, with 81% of those surveyed stating that they would visit shopping centres with the same or more frequency than they did before Covid-19 once lockdown is lifted.

Intu, which owns shopping sites including Lakeside in Essex and Manchester’s Trafford Centre, commented: “The over-arching message is clear: people want to get back to normal - which is promising - but they need clear reassurance from retailers and leisure providers along the way.

“We need to ensure consumers feel safe and supported as restrictions lift. An open dialogue - allowing us to listen to what people want and need as the situation progresses - will be key.”

A number of major shopping centres have recently unveiled plans to safely re-open when restrictions on non-essential retail are lifted, including Liverpool ONE and Westfield’s two London sites.

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