Vardui Batrakova: "The red zone is not a lockdown"

Organizing a vaccination point in a shopping mall is half the battle, but communicating environmental information about this step to all stakeholders is the challenge for the shopping mall's team.
Director of the City Mall shopping mall (Zaporizhzhia) Vardui Batrakova optimistically explains why the red zone is not a lockdown or knockdown for a shopping mall.

About the vaccination case in the City Mall shopping mall
The idea of creating a vaccination point outside of medical institutions was discussed at industry events in early summer. First, it would help relieve the state medical system and speed up the immunization of Ukrainians against COVID-19. Second, it was important to distribute the flow of people so that healthy people do not overlap with those who have symptoms of the disease and are treated in a medical institution. And finally, it would allow you to quickly vaccinate most employees of the shopping mall and tenants.

An area of 300 square meters was allocated for the vaccination point in the City Mall, departments were prepared for registration, medical examination, and the vaccination process itself. We have created convenient working conditions and respite for medical teams that vaccinated those who wish. Cleaning of the equipped area was also taken over by the shopping mall.

The vaccination center in the City Mall shopping mall was launched in mid-July. At first, it was supposed to operate only on weekends, but the willingness of Zapororizhzhia residents to get vaccinated exceeded our expectations – more than 1,000 visitors received vaccinations in the first weekend alone – so we decided to cover business days as well.

During the operation of the point in the City Mall, more than 25 thousand doses of vaccines were used (statistics as of October 19). It is possible that due to the introduction of a "red" level of epidemic danger in the Zaporizka region, it will be possible to "repeat" this figure in a shorter time. After all, if in the summer 500-600 people were vaccinated daily in the shopping mall, now this figure is 900 people. I even had to change the schedule of the vaccination center: if earlier it worked from 10:00 to 17:00, now it's open from 8 AM to 8 PM.

About the red zone
Information that a city or region is included in the red zone is perceived for some reason as if "everything will be closed". But in fact, shopping malls operate, and this fact should be conveyed to people, explaining all the subtleties of staying in the shopping mall.

According to the amendments to decree 1236, red level restrictions do not apply if all visitors and employees of shopping malls and stores have either a certificate of a full course of vaccination, or a negative PCR test/antigen test for COVID-19, made not more than 72 hours before, or a certificate of recovery from COVID-19.

Our team foresaw this development, so we set ourselves the task of vaccinating our employees and store workers. It is more difficult with visitors, so for our part, we could only create conditions for their vaccination.

The red level in the Zaporizka region lasts for two weeks, and during this time visitors to the City Mall went through 5 stages – from denial to acceptance, making sure that the shopping mall is working.

A shopping mall is a social space that provides square meters for retailers to use. It doesn't sell specific products and services, and therefore doesn't interact directly with users. Our ways of communication with guests are remote: through audio messages we remind you about respiratory etiquette and the possibility of getting vaccinated, duplicate this information in social networks and tell you about the attributes of the shopping mall. As soon as a user crosses the store's threshold, they turn into a potential buyer and a participant in live communication. Therefore, the store employee has the right to check whether the person has a certificate or test. However, this restriction does not apply to stores where more than 60% of the area is reserved for food, hygiene and household chemicals, communications equipment, medicines, and pet supplies.

Of course, changes in the resolution can be interpreted in different ways, so when organizing the work of shopping malls, I advise you to start from the requirements of local authorities. And also - to conduct a dialogue with officials and support useful and relevant projects for society.

Brief summary

City Mall is a popular and professional shopping and entertainment complex in Zaporizhzhia. Visitors are offered a high-quality combination of goods and services, as well as interesting events and marketing campaigns for the development of fashion brands in the city.  
Thanks to the comfortable atmosphere of the mall and the attractive tenant-mix, City Mall is experiencing a steady increase in the number of visitors. According to regular research, more than 70% of Zaporizhzhia residents prefer to buy in the City Mall shopping mall. Many brands of clothing, shoes and accessories in the city are represented exclusively in the shopping mall.