Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) has instructed managers and owners of shopping malls, grocery stores and pharmacies in Abu Dhabi to install thermal scanners at the main entrances of their facilities.
In a circular issued (Friday) today, the ADDED has set certain conditions for the reopening procedures of malls, including installing thermal cameras rented out from the National Emergency, Crisis, and Disasters Management Authority for the centers and connecting the cameras to the authority’s system for a fee.
The new directive stated that placing thermal inspection devices and cameras is an important move that will enable shopping malls and centres from implementing the highest levels of precautionary and preventive measures to protect their visitors and shoppers before entering their malls. These devices will also be linked to NCEMA and in return, malls will pay fees for the service that will be determined at a later time. It also highlighted the necessity to inform mall visitors that shopping and visiting period cannot exceed more than two hours in order to reduce the overcrowding of shoppers inside the malls and maintain the directive of operating with only 30 per cent of malls’ capacity.
ADDED noted that the circular is in line with the precautionary measures to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus, COVID-19, and is part of the implementation process of the NCEMA’s directives to curb the impact of COVID-19 in Abu Dhabi. The move follows previously issued circulars regarding the installation of thermal inspection cameras at commercial entrances to examine customers, following the plans to reopen malls and other commercial outlets.
Rashed Abdul Karim Al Balooshi, Undersecretary of ADDED, said that the new circular is part of the constant coordination and cooperation between the Department and the NCEMA in ensuring all necessary measures in the emirate for public health and safety against COVID-19, including all relevant services necessary to maintain everyone’s safety in line with the health regulations.
Al Balooshi added that the Department’s operation team is continuously coordinating with mall managements in Abu Dhabi to supervise the implementation of the precautionary and preventive measures in accordance with the circular and regulations, granting them permission to reopen the facilities within the emirate and ensure their readiness and ability to implement all the required guidelines.
Al Balooshi further explained that shopping centres that comply to the terms and conditions will be granted permission to reopen and receive visitors and shoppers. On the other hand, he stressed that the shoppers should follow the procedures in ensuring safe shopping such as standing at the entrance in front of the thermal examination camera, shopping for a maximum period of two hours, wearing face masks, gloves, and applying enough distance between other visitors, as well as the use of credit card payment, among others.
In conclusion, he raised the importance of shopping malls’ consistent efforts to adhere to all the guidelines and regulations that were set as conditions for their reopening. These key guidelines include keeping the capacity of shoppers inside mall up to a maximum of 30 percent; ensuring the spacing between individuals while shopping; and ensuring that general service companies operating in malls conduct frequent cleaning and sterilization of escalators, elevators, washrooms and other places that are mostly used by shoppers.