Shopping malls reopen in Denmark under new rules

Shopping malls in Denmark reopened on Monday, with stores banned from offering big discounts to customers, extra guards hired to limit the number of customers, and thoroughfares divided into right and left lanes.

Shopping malls reopen in Denmark under new rules
Kolding Storcenter reopens on Monday. Photo: Claus Fisker/Ritzau Scanpix
Shopping centres have also placed hand sanitiser dispensers at all around the centre, particularly around areas where people sit and congregate.  
“We are expecting a normal shopping day, nothing extraordinary,”  Lotte Vestergaard Skou, who runs malls in Kolding and Randers for Deas Group told The Local, just minutes before they opened at 10am on Monday. 
“Life has been strange I think for everybody who has been closed down for the last 8 weeks, and it's the same for shopping centres: empty shopping centres are not meant to be.”
Vestergaard Skou had a moment of drama early this morning when the external marketing department mistakenly posted up adverts on the malls' websites offering discounts of 25 percent and 30 percent at the Sportsmaster, Only and Deichmann stores, defying government advice. 
“That was a mistake, marketing-wise we have a strict campaign where we advise people to just have normal, safe shopping trip with no other issues, and these special offers were a mistake, we saw it this morning and we took them away.” 

When Denmark's government announced its plans to allow shopping malls to reopen it recommended against offering big discounts which might lead to a rush of customers.  
“Malls and the shops connected to them should avoid discounts, activities and the like which might create queues and heavy traffic around certain areas and inside the shops,” the recommendations state. 
Vestergaard Skou said that her centre had put in place safeguards to encourage customers to keep at least 2m distance between one another. 
“We have created sort of roads where you have to always keep to the right when you walk around in the area of the centre, and of course we have marked that you need to create a distance to your fellow shopping partners.” 
The centre had worked with the individual shops to decide on a maximum number of customers for each one, and also for the mall as a whole. 
“We have calculated this very carefully,” she explained. “We have more guards than we usually to, and we count people as they come in and when the limit hits 90 percent of what we are legally allowed to have, then we will send out an alarm to the guards to stop people coming in.” 
She said she doubted this limit would be hit on Monday, however. 
She also said she did not yet know whether people in Denmark would do more shopping than normal over the coming weeks, as they stock up on the clothes, shoes and other seasonal summer purchases they were not able to buy in person in April. 
Restaurants and cafés will not open until next Monday so the food courts and coffee chains in the centres will remain closed for one more week. 

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”