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Protocols for Outdoor Shopping and Retail post-Covid-19 by WTTC

The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has released suggested protocols for outdoor shopping destinations and retail establishments to restart in the post Covid-19 world.

The protocols are part of a series of proposed new measures by the WTTC, designed to rebuild confidence among consumers so they can travel safely once the restrictions are lifted.

The health and safety of travellers and workers is put at the heart of the following protocols, compiled on the basis of the insights and framework developed by The Bicester Village Shopping Collection following the successful re-opening of its two Villages in China.

The protocols are based on the operational characteristics of outdoor retail and consultation with local governments and health authorities is recommended prior to implementation.

The WTTC has divided the protocols in five pillars:

1. RESTARTING OPERATIONS

As outdoor shopping destinations and retail establishments resume their operations, they should ensure they have:

• Developed operational protocols ensuring alignment with local government and health authority guidelines.
• The staffing levels required to responsibly resume operations
• Re-trained their teams, prior to return, on the new practises that they must adhere to including social distancing, thermal scanning, and the requirement of face masks for all guest-facing staff, as defined by local government regulations.
• Recalibrated offices and working spaces to promote social distancing and well-being including temporary closure of certain office facilities and meeting areas to avoid gatherings
• Where possible, ventilate offices through open windows to allow fresh air into office environments and ensure that airconditioning systems circulate good quality air.
• Created protocols for Brand partners which observe, government mandatory trading hours, delivery hours, packaging disposal, merchandise to shop floor procedures and product care, social distancing requirements, fitting room occupancy,
deep cleaning and sanitization and, the transition to digital receipts instead of paper.
• Provided pre-opening training for Brand staff on selling skills in the new reality of social distancing.
• Developed protocols for F&B outlets (restaurants, cafes and mobile food carts) including supply chain control, food handling and preparation, back of house distancing, deep cleaning and enhanced hygiene, seating, queue management and digitising of menus.
• Implemented back of house protocols to maintain social distancing, increase frequency of waste management and back of house deep cleaning and provide location for all contractors to undergo thermal scanning.
• Aligned new protocols with all third-party partners and suppliers.
• Liaised with local travel and transport partners to promote the requirement of adequate space to avoid congregation of guests.

2. ENSURING A RESPONSIBLE & SECURE EXPERIENCE

As outdoor shopping and retail establishments work to ensure they deliver a safe and secure experience for their staff and their guests, they should ensure they have:

• Enhanced their sanitation, deep cleaning practices and reinforced mitigation measures, including revisiting guidance for cleaning staff relating to washrooms and baby-changing facilities, private client spaces and the contemplation rooms for instance.
• Within the scope of sanitation and hygiene, provide hand sanitiser dispensers with 70% alcohol content in washrooms, near entrances and exits and at regular intervals throughout.

• Introduce guest well-being procedures such as thermal scanning, social distancing, as well as queue management:
o Implement infrastructure to support the thermal scanning process if used and consider the procedure as part of the guest arrival experience.
o Monitor that face masks are worn within the establishment, if required by local governments regulations.
o Install visual social distancing markers to help guests adhere to protocols
o Closely monitor the number of guests within the establishment to ensure that social distancing protocols can be comfortably observed
o Manage the number of guests within any one boutique, restaurant or specified area and implement queue management systems that support social distancing requirements
o Optimise car-parking to prevent overcrowding
o Consider providing disposable gloves to guests using electric vehicle charging points and sanitize regularly

• Minimised touch contact by digitizing guest services such as digital maps, digital queue management, e-menus, virtual personal shopping, roving concierge and, promote contactless payment wherever possible. Provide complimentary WIFI to encourage use of digital services.
• Suspend services that cannot support social distancing and health & safety requirements such as playgrounds, drinking fountains and ATMs, as well as items that may have been previously lent to guests which may include umbrellas and pushchairs.

3. REBUILDING TRUST & CONFIDENCE

As outdoor shopping and retail establishments work to rebuild trust and confidence with their guests, brand partners, staff and community, they should ensure they have:

• Created a guest code of conduct which may include the wearing of face masks, guidance on hand hygiene and social distancing procedures based on local government and health authority regulations.
• Issued clear guidance and consistent messaging, on new protocols via the organisation’s channels including website, app, social channels and direct email and also on partners channels.
• Anticipated guests’ questions relating to the new protocols and ensure that all staff are trained and equipped to respond correctly and responsibly.
• Provided consistent communication to third-party suppliers, partners and to their respective clients.
• Provided clear consistent messaging to the media.
• Work with public sector partners, such as local government and tourism authorities, to explain the protocols and encourage them to be advocates as well as to align to promote the destination and the regeneration of the local, regional, and national economy.

4. INTEGRATING INNOVATION
• A continuous evolution of safety and well-being measures informed by the evaluation of scientific guidance provided by medical and research professionals to shape best practice.
• Accelerate the recovery through the integration of technology to provide digital services that advance a seamless guest experience within open-air environments and where social distancing can be comfortably observed.

5. IMPLEMENTING ENABLING POLICIES

As outdoor shopping and retail establishments work to recover, it is essential that enabling policies be implemented at the governmental level. Outdoor shopping and retail establishments call on governments to:

• Enhance destination promotion to boost demand both domestically and internationally.
• Provide financial relief to the sector through the reduction of taxes and charges to stimulate demand.
• Create incentives to promote tourism as well as tax incentives.
• Implement visa facilitation measures, making visa more affordable and simpler to obtain.
• Implement public transport measures to and from the destination which observe social distancing.

The protocols for outdoor shopping destinations and retail establishments can be downloaded here:

Outdoor Shopping - Global Protocols for the New Normal

About the Author
This is the team byline for GTP. The copyrights for these articles are owned by GTP. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner.

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