Reimagining Public Spaces Post Covid-19 Crisis

Indubitably, Covid-19 has changed the world around us. Social facilities, such as malls, multiplexes, gyms, clubs, spas, and other such places have taken a massive hit due to the outbreak. In recent months, the idea of public interaction has changed to a large extent. The spaces we live, work, socialize, shop, study, and seek health care in won’t be the same anymore. It will be a challenge for these establishments to bounce back immediately. 

Stringent safety, hygiene, physical distancing, and screening practices will be the new norm. There are a lot of noticeable additions and modifications already in place. Changes such as installing sanitization tunnels at the building entrances which witness huge foot traffic, spaces marked for physical distancing, minimal human interaction in the production processes as well as other spaces will be spotted. Not just this, more permanent and substantial changes are going to see the light of the day, like redesigning the building interiors to prevent the spread of infection. Greater degree of hygiene protocols will be added in social spaces. 

There will be a sea change in the workplaces too. The workplace ecosystem will become a network between virtual and physical spaces and will work in conjunction with each other. Many organizations pay high rent for office spaces in prime city locations, also are under long-term contracts, so we might see an alteration in this too. Organizations will explore a short lease arrangement and shift to a more resilient small workplace as the majority of employees can work from home. 

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There is a paradigm shift in the way we perceive the public spaces now. Under normal circumstances crowds were considered an integral part of the urban culture. However, now we will observe a list of changes in urban public spaces, which includes incorporating automation and voice activation for touchless interaction, use of sensors to screen visitors, ventilation and air conditioning solutions, etc. Apart from making an economical investment in new mechanisms to put health and safety at the forefront, establishments will have to collaborate with third-party auditing and certification agencies to endorse their seriousness towards safety effectively to the public. 

Talking about malls, one important aspect to be worked upon will be of physical distancing. The flow of foot traffic right from the entry to exit, along with the movement within the mall will have to be managed following the regulatory guidelines to maintain enough distance. Congested spaces will have to be redesigned allowing some breathing space. Seating arrangements in the food courts will have to be reimagined and contactless delivery of food will become essential. 

Understanding the urgent need to address and tackle the current public health and safety challenges, Equinox Labs, has introduced Safe Place to Visit, a certification program for public establishments like shopping malls, clubs, supermarkets, etc. It aims to elevate the current safety parameters to ensure visitor safety. With a set of expert-curated safety standards, public establishments are audited based on their level of compliance and then awarded with a ‘Safe Place to Visit’ certification, which is recognized nationwide. Our mission is to help social establishments build high trust and confidence among the patrons by utilizing expert knowledge from the adept industry and domain specialists. 

The road to revival might at this point look tedious, but if communities come together and continue to follow the precautionary guidelines, then we might emerge from this crisis stronger and sooner. Safety, revival, and gaining the consumer trust will be the three most important issues to deal with for establishments for seamless business continuity.  

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