Belgian shopping centres present their grand reopening plan
CEUSTERS, AG Real Estate and Wereldhave Belgium are finalizing a titanic work for the upcoming reopening of more than thousand shops in Belgium
Thursday, May 7, 2020 — As of Monday, 11 May, customers will be able to shop again comfortably and in complete safety in well-known shopping centres such as Wijnegem, City2, and Belle-Ile, among others. The three largest shopping centre managers in Belgium – CEUSTERS, AG Real Estate and Wereldhave Belgium – have joined forces in recent weeks to draw up a precise plan for reopening the shops in a smooth, pleasant, and safe manner. This is a large-scale effort that involves reopening more than thousand of shops simultaneously. In concrete terms, customers and shopkeepers will have to take into account a few simple but strict rules posted on all information boards and digital screens in the various shopping centres.
1. Limited parking
It is of course possible to get to the shopping centres by car, even though parking spaces will be slightly limited in some of them. The roofs of some shopping centres may be temporarily inaccessible, for instance. This measure is necessary to guarantee that visitors enter and exit the shopping centre in a safe manner. Some parking spaces will also be organised in such a way that social distancing is always possible, for example by leaving 1 parking space open each time.
2. Separate entrances and exits
Only a limited number of entrances will be open, depending on the size of the shopping centre. One door will be dedicated for entering and another for exiting. The direction of traffic inside and outside the shopping area will be indicated by arrows and coloured stickers on the floor. Appropriate sensors installed at the doors will ensure that the traffic flows in the right direction. The security staff on hand will provide all the assistance visitors may need.
3. Real-time monitoring of the number of visitors
As in the case of shops that stayed open during the lockdown, the number of customers will be limited to one person per 10m² so as to guarantee the 1.5-metre of social distancing at all times. Some shopping centres have been fitted with appropriate technology that guarantees real-time monitoring of the number of shoppers. If the limit is approached, security staff will accept new visitors sparingly. That said, forecasts by CEUSTERS, AG Real Estate and Wereldhave Belgium show that the maximum number of customers present will not be reached.
4. Hand Disinfection
Hygiene on the part of everyone is paramount. All customers will be able to disinfect their hands with an antibacterial gel or spray provided. In certain cases, the security staff, hosts and hostesses will provide more assistance to customers, while in other, visitors will be able to use dedicated disinfection booths. Depending on the size of the shopping centres, cleaning teams will also be on duty during opening hours to optimize the disinfection and cleaning of all contact surfaces and areas. The shops will also be equipped with antibacterial gels.
5. Protective masks recommended
The shopping centres will make protective masks available at information desks or in automatic dispensers for those customers who do not have their own. Shopping centre managers have more than a quarter of a million protective masks. These will be provided to customers free of charge in the shopping centres of CEUSTERS and AG Real Estate, while a small contribution of up to €2 will be asked in the shopping centres of Wereldhave Belgium, with all proceeds going to charity. The purchase will be made electronically, preferably contactless. Customers will be asked to disinfect their hands before using the payment terminal.
6. Access to shops more limited during peak hours
As has been the case in supermarkets for some time, shopkeepers will limit access to their shops during peak hours. Queues may well form, and if they do they will be organized in such a way that access to other shops remains free and that there is sufficient distance between customers. Shopping centres will have no seating and rest areas insofar as possible to ensure maximum freedom of passage.
7. Play area closed at the outset
If you are planning to come to the shopping centre with young children, you should bear a certain number of measures in mind. For instance, the play areas will remain closed, as will the baby corners. Babies can nonetheless still be changed and fed in a dedicated area in the public lavatories. You are nonetheless advised to go shopping with children only if they need something specific or in order to try on clothes, for instance.
The managers of the shopping centres underscore that they will follow government recommendations, of course. Specific measures for shopping centres will be continuously assessed and extended if necessary. The known opening hours remain unchanged. Appropriate hygiene precautions have also been planned for suppliers and subcontractors.
"All customers are welcome again to shop safely and comfortably. We are counting on the common sense of visitors to maintain social distancing. We are convinced that, subject to compliance with the customary precautions on the part of every retailer and visitor, the reopening of the shops will provide consumers with an enjoyable shopping experience which will in turn give the retail sector some much needed oxygen.”
The managers of CEUSTERS, AG Real Estate and Wereldhave Belgium
This weekend, a circular will be sent to all shopping centres so that slight adjustments can still be made to the measures.
CEUSTERS, AG Real Estate and Wereldhave Belgium manage 25 shopping centres in our country:
Wijnegem Shop Eat Enjoy, City 2 (Brussel), Belle Ile (Luik), Waasland Shopping (Sint-Niklaas), Woluwe Shopping Center, Les Grands Prés (Bergen), ), Westland (Anderlecht), Les Bastions (Doornik), Galeries St. Lambert (Luik), Ring Shopping (Kortrijk), K in Kortrijk, Nivelles Shopping (Nijvel), Shopping 1 (Genk), The Mint (Brussel), Promenade (Kapellen), Warande (Beveren), Pieter Van Aelst (Aalst), Julianus Shopping (Tongeren), Feest- en Cultuurpaleis (Oostende), Anspach (Brussel), Ninia (Ninove), Gent Zuid (Gent), Stadsplein (Genk), Waterloo Shopping, Overpoort (Gent)