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No 'sale' or activities that draw large crowds are permitted at malls


The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has provided detailed guidelines on the precautionary and preventive measures that are to be followed in Phase 1 of the gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.


"Ensuring the adherence to precautions for the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions is a shared responsibility," the MoPH stressed on social media Wednesday.


Following are the guidelines for shopping malls:


* Regulating entry and exit

Open only 50% of entry points to ensure that the premises do not become overcrowded (considering the floor plan, emergency and fire safety); reduced number of people - 30% of the maximum capacity of the mall; thermal screening of employees and customers (entry prohibited for those with body temperature over 38C); Ehteraz app to be downloaded by all employees and customers, and checking that the status is 'Green' to allow entry.


* Physical distancing

Reduce mall capacity to 30% (to include shops that are already permitted to trade); no shop under 300sqm will be opened (except shops that are already permitted to trade, for example, pharmacies); restrict the capacity of customers and employees in shops, and in malls in general, to ensure a minimum space of 9sqm per person; a minimum distance of 1.5m between customers should be maintained (except for family groups), including in queues; remind customers about social distancing requirements with clear and visible signage; use floor markings to maintain social distancing; no 'sale' or activities that draw large crowds are permitted; decrease lift capacity; each shop should have a sticker or poster at its entrance indicating the maximum occupancy.?


* Infection prevention and control

Masks to be worn by all staff and customers; employees must undergo regular testing as per MoPH guidance (at employers’ cost); disposable gloves may be worn by managers and staff during mall operations if needed. However, frequent hand sanitisation may be a better option than gloves, which can be a source of contamination if not used appropriately, and should be replaced as per MoPH policy and guidance; all regularly touched surfaces should be disinfected frequently using standard disinfection products; provision of hand sanitiser at entrances and promoting hand hygiene; use physical barriers between staff (such as cashiers) and customers where practical; salespersons and other mall staff must remain conscious all the time about maintaining the minimum safe distance from customers as face masks may cause people to relax their guard about the safe distance; all mall employees should be educated about not going to work if they develop respiratory symptoms or fever and should report sick to their employer; public toilets shall be cleaned and disinfected regularly after each use; disinfection and cleaning of malls should be done at night after closing hours to minimise interaction of housekeeping with customers and salespersons.?


* Handling of products

Minimise handling of products by employees and customers – product lists on display, pre-bagged orders for on-line pick-up; eliminate samples of products to reduce risk of contamination; discontinue use of display items that cannot be cleaned and sanitised; no test products/reusable samples (along with any tools to apply makeup) will be permitted; customers are not allowed to try on items such as earrings, rings, etc.?


* Shopping bags

Reusable bags should not be used; recyclable paper bags or single-use plastic should be used instead.


* Money handling

Shops should minimise cash transactions and encourage the use of cards for payments; clean and disinfect card payment equipment after each use.?


* Education and awareness

Keep employees and customers updated on Covid-19 safety and prevention information and guidelines; emphasise that protecting public health is of paramount importance to the mall; use MoPH health messages and materials; let customers know what steps you are taking to keep them safe.?


* Online orders

I?mplement and encourage taking orders online and deliver or use pick-up services.?


* Opening hours and parking

Opening hours restricted to 8am to 8pm daily; no weekend opening; parking spaces shall be restricted by controlling the number of customers, and ensure that cars are parked away from each other; customers' time limited to three hours inside the mall.?


* To remain closed

Service areas such as prayer rooms; leisure centres such as gyms, beauty salons, children’s salons?, cinemas, play areas; food courts will remain closed except for delivery or pick-up; public toilets, except for employees, older visitors and emergencies only; changing rooms.?


* Vulnerable groups

Special considerations made for vulnerable groups to keep them safe and protected, for example fast-track access and service; children aged 12 and below are not allowed to enter shopping malls; vulnerable groups are advised to stay at home.


The complete set of guidelines is available here.'


Source: The Gulf Times

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