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Westfield introduces SafeGuard hygiene certification at malls

Al Urbanski

One of the most troubling issues mall owners and operators are attempting to get a handle on as they prepare for the holiday season is convincing shoppers that their properties are safe. Unibail Rodamco Westfield has now stepped to the forefront of that movement with a trademarked hygiene and safety certification labeling program called SafeGuard.

URW engaged France-based accreditation firm Bureau Veritas (English name translation: The Office of Truth) to conduct certification procedures at 28  malls, including Westfield Century City in Los Angeles, Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J., Westfield Montgomery in Bethesda, Md., and Westfield Topanga in Canoga Park, Calif.

Bureau Veritas performed audits of these properties to ensure compliance with hygiene protocols and operational requirements based on local laws and requirements, best practices, and medical guidance. Those that comply are able to display the SafeGuard Hygiene Excellence and Safety Label, which URW believes provides needed assurance to mall shoppers and employees.  

“We didn’t have to audit ourselves, but we engaged Bureau Veritas to test and verify our protocols because we wanted to validate them and show our guests, our retailers, and our employees that that we do take it very seriously,” said Paul Kurzawa, URW’s executive VP of operations who’s responsible for running all the company’s centers in the United States.

“We also created a proprietary app for guests to make reservations for shopping visits and avoid long waits in lines,” Kurzawa said. “We’ve gotten great participation from retailers who’ve signed up for that program.

Bureau Veritas surveyed 1,600 consumers to gauge their level of their concern over COVID-19 and found it was severe. Almost half said they expected to be worried about the coronavirus for the next two years, and one-third felt it would impact their lives for the next decade.

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