Don’t go too easy on mall shoppers just for the sake of sales

YOU can usually assume how busy a shopping mall is the moment you enter its parking lot.

During the recent movement control order 2.0 (MCO 2.0), for example, shopping for groceries at any shopping mall in the Klang Valley was a breeze, as there were ample parking spaces available.

This was great, as this meant that people were staying at home. More importantly, they were staying away from crowded areas, which was essential to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the trend seems to be changing now that we are back to the more lenient conditional MCO. In addition to an increase in the number of cars on the road, the buzz was back at shopping malls.

The crowds have returned in throngs, and shopping malls are becoming more crowded than usual.

In a recent news report, for instance, Sunway Malls said that the mall group has been enjoying higher traffic and sales recovery since the easing of restrictions from the Lunar New Year period onwards.

According to the latest March 2021 figures, both traffic and sales have achieved 90% and 95% normalcy respectively in comparison to the same period in March 2019.

While this is good news for businesses, this is also quite worrying due to the challenges in adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOPs). Physical distancing, for example, becomes almost impossible due to the crowd and the continuous inflow of customers.

Food and beverage (F&B) establishments, too, pose a similar problem, with people taking their face masks off to eat and drink. This increases the probabilities of unknowingly spreading the coronavirus.

Sanitisation at restaurants also becomes a nightmare, especially when the crew is too busy fulfilling orders to make sure that tables and chairs are properly cleaned and sanitised.

With Hari Raya Aidilfitri around the corner, shopping malls would no doubt see a gradual increase in the number of shoppers.

Therefore, the mall management, along with the authorities, must step up the enforcement of SOP compliance among mall-goers. Only by doing so can they prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections and thus, create a safe space for mall-goers. – April 28, 2021

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