The last few months have been a fascinating and challenging time in the security world. Malls have slowly begun reopening across Canada, with frontline security guards pressed into action to perform a range of COVID-19-related duties, alongside their usual security responsibilities. Blackbird Security operates at several sites and is capable of doing all the duties for mall security. It’s been a time of great learning for organizations like ours, and I wanted to use this week’s blog to provide some tips and best practices for the extra responsibilities malls and retail stores are carrying out during the pandemic.
Mall Occupancy Limits
One of the most effective ways to protect each other from COVID-19 is to remain physically distant from one another. This has led to malls and individual stores capping the number of shoppers at a percentage of their usual occupancy. Blackbird Security has the best security guards to attend to all the access control and physical distancing enforcement rules of malls. Here are some of the best common practices:
- The occupancy figure should be limited to the number of people who can be physically present while still allowing for physical distancing
- Post signage at the door of the mall/store with the occupancy limit displayed
- Evaluate areas of the mall where physical distancing is not possible and consider closing them to the public
- Encourage the use of masks to ensure customers and staff are safe inside
- Consider keeping teams of coworkers who directly interact with one another as small as possible
Dealing with Customers Outside
Capping the number of customers allowed in the physical space means plans must be made to handle people waiting to gain access outside. You will also want to ensure anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 does not gain entry. Blackbird Security offers professional security guards that can enforce the following systems:
- Place signage around the entrance explaining the symptoms of COVID-19 that also informs customers NOT to enter if they have any of the symptoms
- Use physical queue lineup controls such as floor stickers, cones or ropes
- Ensure the lineup doesn’t block access to any doors, stores or high-volume pedestrian traffic areas
- Use a tracker to monitor the number of people physically present in the space and utilize a “one in, one out” method to keep that number steady
- If possible, separate incoming and outgoing customers through separate doors
- If the mall is providing support staff to assist, ensure they are trained and knowledgeable of your COVID-19 protocols
A weak point in many malls’ COVID-19 plan has been their approach, or lack of, when it comes to delivery drivers. Many are taking a “business as usual” approach to deliveries, but this puts staff and customers at risk. A safe and efficient process should be devised to help make deliveries as safe as possible. Here are some tips:
- Delivery drivers should maintain physical distance and not enter the space unless absolutely necessary
- Allow for delivery documents to be signed remotely so no paperwork has to be physically handed over
- If outsiders need to come into the workplace, try to minimize how many staff they have contact with
- If they are coming from out of province, or from South of the Border, take extra care with any direct interactions, minimizing them where possible.
To learn more about how Blackbird Security can protect your employees and your business, get in touch with us. We are well-versed in providing mall security through COVID-19 and we are ready to discuss your needs.