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Thailand’s shopping malls will reopen with robots and drones

Thailand’s biggest shopping-centre developers are preparing to reopen malls as early as this weekend amid expectations the country will further ease a lockdown.

The government has signalled the next phase of its economic restart is near after coronavirus cases dwindled. Thailand faces the worst economic contraction in South-East Asia this year, adding pressure on officials to loosen restrictions with only about two weeks of a state of emergency remaining.

The Senior Executive Vice President of Operations at a major shopping-centre developer, in a statement, noted that they are now readily prepared for the reopening under the government-mandated guidelines.

The malls have maintained and strengthened their health and hygienic measures at maximum and strictest levels and we also encourage the public to practice and strictly adhere to preventive measures.

Thailand’s Health Minister inspected one of the company’s Bangkok malls on 14 May. The malls of one developer are deploying automatic temperature scanning robots, free face-mask dispensers and disinfecting drones.

Central Retail Corp previously said it plans disinfectant robots, smart temperature sensors and hand gel services. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha is set to chair a meeting on 15 May to decide if shopping centres and other retail operations will be allowed to open as soon as 17 May.

According to another article, Thailand’s shopping malls are preparing to reopen, almost two months after authorities closed them down in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

In one Bangkok mall shop assistants re-stocked shelves and burnished windows of upmarket stores, while cleaners in hazmat suits disinfected public walkways and doused an entrance concourse with water from a flying drone.

The government is widely expected to announce the move on Friday, with doors slated to reopen on 17 May.

While some workers are excited to return to their jobs, others are worried about their health and safety. However, malls owners believe they’ve got that covered.

One mall is pulling out all the sops; they are putting in place a raft of measures to ensure that when customers return, they don’t bring COVID-19 with them.

Thermal scanners at each entrance will check the temperature of everyone who enters, while about 300 handwash dispensers have been installed.

Everyone who enters must wear a mask and for those who turn up without one, there is a vending machine at hand to dispense them.

A robot will follow anyone who takes their mask off once inside and broadcast persistent messages asking them to put it back on.

Customers will also have to download an app and register themselves when they enter and leave the mall.

This will track them in and out of shops, so if someone later contracts the virus, authorities can contact anyone who may have been in contact with them.

The government says the data will only be used for public health purposes.

On 13 May 2020 authorities reported zero new cases, for the first time since early March, strengthening the government’s belief that it’s time to further loosen restrictions.

Thailand’s long-sluggish economy has been pulverized by the COVID-19 lockdown. Reopening the malls will be a welcome boost.

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