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Vicinity to welcome back customers with COVID-safe tech and innovation

Vicinity maintained occupancy at 98.2% despite challenging retail landscape

Vicinity Centres (Vicinity), the owner of 20 shopping centres across Melbourne including Chadstone, Northland, The Glen and Bayside, is ready to welcome back Melburnians from Wednesday 28 October, with wide-ranging COVID safety measures in place.

“Safety remains our top priority and we’ve been working hard, alongside our retailers, to get our Melbourne centres ready for the reopening of retail with thorough COVID-safe plans in place utilising new technologies,” said Grant Kelley, Vicinity CEO.

A new digital queueing system will help participating retailers support a safer and easier experience for customers, manage capacity in their stores and reduce congestion in malls. Customers can log on to centre websites and pre-book their preferred time to shop, while customers in-centre can use a QR code to join a virtual queue, rather than lining up outside a store, if capacity is reached in-store.

All Vicinity centre websites will soon have a new interactive feature that uses real-time data to show visitation numbers, updated every 15 minutes, and forecasted for the day and week ahead. This will help customers plan when and where they shop before they leave home. This feature makes it easy to avoid the usual busy periods such as the middle of the day and on weekends and will save time for the most convenient shopping experience.

COVID Safety Officers in each centre, stationed at entrances, will remind visitors to use hand sanitiser on arrival and to wear a mask; they’ll also encourage everyone to practise social distancing, and will direct traffic flow.

A new digital queueing system will help participating retailers support a safer and easier experience for customers (image: The Glen)

Kelley said these new measures were in addition to Vicinity’s rigorous cleaning and sanitisation, which have been ongoing since COVID first impacted the community earlier this year and will continue for the foreseeable future.

“We recognise the important role we play in operating our centres in a new, COVID-safe environment, and we want our customers, retailers, teams and contractors to do the right thing to help keep each other safe,” explained Kelley.

Contactless Parcel Concierge (Click & Collect) is now available at nine centres across Melbourne, including Altona Gate, Bayside, Broadmeadows Central, Chadstone, DFO South Wharf, DFO Essendon, Uni Hill Factory Outlet, Northland and The Glen, giving customers the chance to buy online or over the phone and have their shopping picked up in one drive-thru visit, without leaving their car.

Contactless Parcel Concierge (Click & Collect) at Chadstone

Social distancing and security officers will also patrol centres, working closely with Victoria Police and Protective Service Officers, to check that customers are keeping a healthy distance from others as they move around the centre.

“Vicinity’s industry-leading heat-mapping technology monitors what’s happening in the mall in real-time, so our teams can respond swiftly, deploying to potentially congested areas to encourage customers to keep moving and maintain a healthy distance,” said Kelley.

At Chadstone, a state-of-the-art COVID-safe control room will be used by dedicated teams to monitor and manage, live and in real-time, customer density across the centre. Similar technology will be used across Vicinity’s Melbourne centres to manage customer numbers safely.

Customers at Northland

“With our ongoing focus on health and safety, we also have a range of protective measures in place to encourage everyone to follow distancing guidelines and health and hygiene measures in our centres, including physical and digital signage, loudspeaker announcements and line markings throughout our centres,” Kelley added.

Each centre across Melbourne has a thorough COVID-safe plan and Vicinity has a range of extensive protective measures in place including:

  • New digital queuing technology to reduce congestion by allowing customers to book time with retailers and join virtual queues
  • A soon to be available website tool that will help customers plan their trip to help avoid busy periods
  • COVID Safety Officers at centre entrances to remind visitors to use hand sanitiser on arrival and to wear a mask, encourage everyone to practise social distancing during their visit, and direct traffic flow
  • Extended trading hours to give customers more time, outside peak periods, to shop
  • Partnership with St John Ambulance across Vicinity centres to ensure both centres and communities are safe
  • Traffic counters and/or digital heat mapping to identify busy zones to help manage areas before reaching customer density thresholds
  • Automated alerts on occupancy, so teams can monitor how many customers are in the centre at any time
  • Automated, regular public announcements centre-wide, communicating distancing expectations
  • Social distancing and security officers, in high visibility vests, supporting Victoria Police and Protective Service Officers to maintain social distancing requirements as appropriate
  • Zero tolerance on anti-social or disrespectful behaviour
  • Physical and digital signage to deliver key messages and remind customers to keep a safe distance apart
  • Window signage and floor decals provided to retailers to assist with physical distancing measures
  • Floor decals and physical distancing reference points in key areas
  • Increased sanitisation and cleaning of all customer touch points and high traffic areas
  • Contactless, digital parcel concierge available at nine centres across Melbourne, and
  • Hand sanitiser at all entrances.

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