Six shopping centres managed by Multi Poland have been awarded Bureau Veritas’ hygiene and safety label, SafeGuard. The SafeGuard certification designates a property that has met stringent sanitary requirements related to minimizing the onsite risk of virus spread and is complying with best-in-class hygiene and safety protocols, ensuring a safe reopening of the shopping centres after the current partial lockdown.
The shopping centres that have received sanitary safety certificates are Forum Gdańsk, Magnolia Park in Wrocław, 3 Stawy in Katowice, Galeria Pestka in Poznań, Sarni Stok in Bielsko-Biała and Ferio Konin. Special SafeGuard badges have already appeared at the entrances to these centres, confirming that they meet the highest hygiene standards and that selected surfaces have been tested for signs of COVID-19 with negative results.
“Safety in the shopping centre is of fundamental importance today for customers. We learned this from the first spring lockdown”, says Magdalena Gibney, Operational Director of Multi Poland. “This is why our priority is to provide our clients with the highest sanitary standards. It is all the more important as our shopping centres will return to full operations at the end of November, the hottest commercial period of the year. We want our customers to return to shopping even faster than they did in the spring thanks to the safety of our centres.”
The comprehensive assessment of compliance with sanitary and legal requirements consisted of: a review of the list of requirements, guidelines and good practices prepared by Bureau Veritas; the assessment of operating procedures and the level of their implementation by Multi as a manager; an independent audit (the assessment of the shopping centres in the form of inspections carried out even before the current partial closure); and laboratory tests for the presence of COVID-19.
“Our qualified auditors have carried out a detailed assessment of hygiene procedures and practices at the Multi-managed shopping centres in accordance with SafeGuard requirements”, explains Joanna Waberska, Bureau Veritas Poland auditor and expert. “The World Health Organization indicates that there are two main ways COVID-19 can be transmitted: inhalation and contact. It is worth noting that when an infected person coughs or sneezes, respiratory droplets can settle on surfaces such as door handles, handrails and other surfaces, communal appliances, toilets, elevators and reception desks. This is why we collected swabs from these surfaces and tested them using genetic RT-PCR tests in a specialised laboratory, for additional confirmation of the effectiveness of hygiene procedures. The test results were negative, which confirms rigorous compliance with the procedures at Multi’s Polish centres.”
As soon as the first reports of the COVID-19 outbreak appeared, Multi set up a special Crisis Management Team to closely monitor the situation. The fact that Multi manages shopping centres across Europe, meant it was able to analyse various ways of responding to these extraordinary challenges and customer expectations and exchange experiences from various markets. “After the opening at the turn of May and June, we noticed that customers were happy to return to our shopping centres”, says Magdalena Gibney. “However, they now pay much more attention to the cleanliness and safety of the property or our attention to details such as hand disinfection points, and the disinfection of surfaces in passages, toilets and public areas.