Covid-19: Intu uses tech to manage shopping centre numbers from next week

Intu is adapting its footfall-monitoring technology to enable it accurately monitor and control the number of people entering its shopping centres in England next week. It is part of a range of measures the shopping centre operator is introducing from Monday 15 June, when non-essential stores are allowed to reopen as part of the easing of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

Intu said the technology will make its frontline teams aware of when maximum capacity in the centres are reached, in line with government guidance on social distancing. Once capacity is reached, queues will then be managed outside Intu’s shopping sites, which include Lakeside in Essex and Manchester’s Trafford Centre.

The announcement follows a survey published by Intu last week that showed 60% of customers are in favour of tech-based Covid-19 safety measures being introduced in shopping centres, including the use of CCTV and other technology to control crowds.

Other social distancing measures being introduced across Intu’s shopping centres include one-way systems, floor stickers, as well as training for staff to keep customers safely distanced.

Additionally, enhanced hygiene regimes, such as increased deep cleaning of key areas and touchpoints like escalators, toilets and keypads, will be maintained, alongside hand sanitation stands at entrances and other locations. These were introduced at the start of the Covid-19 crisis, with Intu centres remaining open throughout to provide access to essential services like pharmacies, supermarkets and banks.  

Intu added it is working closely with retailers in its centres to ensure social distancing can be maintained in stores. This includes bringing in queuing zones in the malls.

Matthew Roberts, chief executive of Intu, commented: “We are looking forward to welcoming more visitors back to our centres from 15 June in line with Government guidance. Our centres have and will always be at the heart of their local communities. Intu supports around 3% of all retail jobs in the UK and our centres are home to some of the biggest and best brands, so we are doing everything we can to make them safe places to visit and work.”

Recently, the Liverpool ONE and Westfield shopping centres in London unveiled plans to maintain customer safety in their centres from Monday.