The shopping center owners in Romania are preparing to reopen their malls after June 15, but with safety and social distancing rules to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. According to Colliers International consultants, investments in all equipment, supplies, and staff needed to implement these measures exceed EUR 0.5 million for large shopping centers.
Shoppers are expected to resume their pre-pandemic habits gradually, and traffic in the malls could return to normal during the Christmas season.
Non-food retailers were among those most affected by measures taken during the state of emergency in Romania. The closure of shopping centers has determined retail tenants to revise their revenue expectations for this year, with 45% expecting a drop of more than 30% and 39% expecting a decline of up to 30%, as shown in a study conducted in March by the retail division of Colliers International among 84 tenants and 21 owners in the retail sector in Romania.
However, the tenants rely on the summer months to start recovering losses accumulated during the period when the stores were closed, even in the context of an estimated number of visitors at half the level from usual periods. According to Colliers International, traffic is expected to increase in the next period and could return to normal in December.
“The reopening of shopping centers starting June 15 is welcomed by shopping center owners and tenants, which expect to begin recovering from the period of inactivity, even if at a not very fast pace, given that visitors will gradually resume their pre-pandemic habits. For the safety of shoppers, malls and shopping centers have taken all necessary safety measures during this period and have established clear procedures for disinfecting common areas and ensuring social distancing, and many retailers will also come with additional measures in their own spaces,” said Simina Niculiță, Partner & Head of Retail Agency at Colliers International.
The list of measures taken by large shopping centers includes gates or special rooms through which the body temperature of visitors can be measured, or systems for monitoring the total number of visitors at any time within the center, to limit access of other visitors when the maximum limit set by the authorities is reached. The shopping centers are also ready to regularly disinfect common areas and escalators with specialized substances or UV lamps. They will provide visitors dispensers with disinfectants, and, as an additional measure, they will opt for the introduction of fresh air from outside instead of previous procedures for recirculating air inside the center.
Anchor Grup announced on Friday, June 12, that additional protection measures have already been taken in the Plaza Romania and Bucuresti Mall-Vitan shopping centers in the Romanian capital. For example, the escalators at Bucuresti Mall-Vitan, are disinfected with the help of a system that uses UV technology. Shoppers can find dispensers with hand sanitizers at the two malls’ entrances, and the centers’ carpets have been impregnated with disinfectant.
Meanwhile, NEPI Rockcastle announced that Mega Mall, one of the largest shopping centers in Bucharest, received a COVID-19 compliance certificate issued by independent Swedish company Safe Shopping Centers (SSC), Wall-street.ro reported. The developer said that a set of additional measures for the protection of employees and customers had been implemented in Mega Mall since March.
Shopping malls can reopen in Romania starting June 15, according to the authorities.
(Photo source: Pixabay.com)
Romania will ease more of the restrictions imposed amid the coronavirus pandemic starting June 15, including some...