// Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield & Landsec awaiting for lockdown measures to ease
// The property giants are preparing to reopen centres
Shopping centre owners Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and Landsec are reportedly preparing to reopen their UK malls as they await for lockdown measures to ease.
The centres said they have established social distancing measures and increased other safety precautions as non-essential retailers prepare to open their doors since being shut in March, Evening Standard reported.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that some shops may be able to reopen as early as June 1 as part of a phased easing of lockdown measures – but reopenings depend on the rate of Covid-19 infections.
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Consequently, footfall is expected to increase when retailers reopen.
Ahead of that date, Westfield parent company Unibail-Radamco-Westfield unveiled a raft a measures it would introduce at its Stratford and London shopping centres, including one-way systems, live footfall cameras, floor stickers to mark two-metre gaps and increased cleaning.
Car parks will see customers only be able to use every other space, while staff will be on hand to check shoppers are adhering to social distancing guidelines.
Unibail regional managing director UK and Italy, Scott Parsons said the group does not “underestimate the importance” of getting these measures right.
“Managing the health and safety element of reopening Westfield London and Westfield Stratford City is our biggest priority right now and I can confidently say that our robust plans not only meet all requirements outlined in the government guidelines but go above and beyond.
“The sheer scale of our centres puts us in a unique position where we can very safely manage the customer journey throughout the malls.
“As well as heightened hygiene measures across every touch point, we have technology to monitor footfall and flows and ensure social distancing is practiced, as well as the benefit of onsite security and guest services teams to carefully control the measures at all times.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Landsec, which part-owns Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, is installing floor stickers and signs to remind shoppers to adhere to social distancing regulations.
The landlords will install new and sanitising stations and security and concierge teams will help manage queuing across its centres.
Landsec head of property operations Jamie Taylor said that safety is the “highest priority”.
“We’re working hard to ensure we adhere to all government guidelines at our sites across the capital and beyond, and will be taking a robust approach to cleanliness and hygiene,” he said.