Covid-19: Technology assisting the safe re-opening of Westfield shopping centres

Westfield has unveiled plans for the re-opening its two shopping centres in London, with non-essential retail shops potentially able to open in the UK from June under plans to ease Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. This includes the extensive use of technology to help ensure the safety of customers and its 30,000 retail staff, with the company saying it is going “above and beyond” the government’s health and safety measures outlined in its ‘Safer Public Places’ document.

In both the London Westfield and Westfield Stratford City shopping centres, the company said technology such as live footfall cameras would be used to help manage the number of people entering in a controlled manner. In addition, key communication messages will be displayed on indoor and outdoor screens, while car parks will be cashless.

Other planned measures by Westfield include the regular deep cleaning of public spaces, readily available hand sanitisers throughout the shopping centres, floor stickers to mark social distancing spaces, and large numbers of bike racks and Barclay bike stations to help reduce reliance on public transport.

The group added that a fully trained security and guest services team will be in place to manage queuing systems, as well as to provide direct communications with each retailer to help manage the flow of people.

Scott Parsons, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield’s regional managing director, UK & Italy, commented: “We understand that people will be very cautious about returning to any public locations, and rightfully so – this pandemic has had a deviating effect on our communities. We don’t underestimate the importance of getting these measures right, not only to ensure everyone coming into our centres is safe, but that they also feel confident that their wellbeing is genuinely being considered at every point.

“Our centres will be ready to open as soon as we get confirmation from the government that we are able to do so, and we look forward to welcoming our retailers, local communities and employees back.”