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    Shopping centre rules for the new normal

    Shopping centres in Belgium are preparing for the reopening of all stores – and an influx of customers – on Monday with the introduction of several measures to ensure the safety of staff and the public.

    “Customers and shopkeepers will have to take into account a few simple but strict rules, visible on all the information boards and digital screens present in the various centres,” three major shopping centre managers in Belgium said Thursday.

    Several measures have been taken by CEUSTERS, AG Real Estate and Wereldhave Belgium, which together manage 25 shopping centres in Belgium, including City 2 in Brussels.

    Parking will be limited in certain places, notably to ensure that visitors safely enter and leave the shopping centre, with separate entrances and exits. “Depending on the size of the shopping centre, only a limited number of entrances will be open.

    One Way Movement: Both inside and outside, the direction of traffic will be indicated by arrows and coloured stickers on the floor.”

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    Disinfection: “All customers will have the opportunity to disinfect their hands with an antibacterial spray or gel provided. In some centres, security staff, hosts and hostesses will provide more assistance to customers, while in others, visitors will be able to use dedicated disinfection booths.”

    Masks: Shopping malls will make masks available to customers at information desks or automatic machines. Shopping centre managers currently have more than 250,000 masks in their possession. In some centres, the equipment will be made available to customers free of charge, in others a small contribution of up to two euros will be required.

    These rules come in addition to the measures announced by Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès during a press conference on Wednesday. They are: 

    Social Distancing:  Only 1 customer per 10 square meters is allowed, for a maximum period of 30 minutes. There are exceptions for smaller shops. A safe working environment must be guaranteed for workers. Social distance is mandatory, and it is strongly recommended that each customer wears mouth-nose protection.

    Shop Alone: Shopping can also only be carried out alone with the exception of children under 18, and people who need extra assistance.

    Jules Johnston
    The Brussels Times