Image credits: Willem Velthoven for Mediamatic Amsterdam
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News Article

Greenhouse Restaurants? Welcome to the New Normal

By Daniel González | Tue, 05/12/2020 - 13:46

Last Thursday, while Hugo López-Gatell, Mexico’s Deputy Minister of Prevention and Health Promotion, announced the difficulties Mexico will have in returning to the stage prior to COVID-19, in Amsterdam, a restaurant surprised the world with the installation of small greenhouse-like glass partitions for people to use the space while respecting social distance. “COVID-19 is an emerging disease, a pandemic that has imposed a new challenge on us all, which is to rethink what the new normality would be like,” said López-Gatell at a press conference. While the restaurant, located in the Mediamatic cultural center of the Dutch capital is undergoing tests pending final approval of this type of protocol by the Dutch government, it has become a symbol of what could be the new normality throughout the world.

The retail industry, which has been greatly affected by COVID-19, has become one of the most creative in regards to future sales. In Mexico, measures have been taken to generate confidence among workers and consumers. The most important, as David Geisen, Director of the Free Market in Mexico, recently explained, has been to promote online sales platforms. “We have launched a series of trainings and programs in which we explain the steps to follow in order to sell online. In addition, we present recommendations to grow businesses,” explained Geisen during a conference at the 2020 Hot Sale organized by the Mexican Association of Online Sales (AMVO).

At the conference, Bernardo Bazúa, Omnichanel & Digital Director of Coppel, highlighted the hygiene measures to be taken in post COVID-19. These measures are here to stay.  “We have implemented hygiene and safety measures for employees and in the whole distribution fleet. In addition, 5,000 employees are working from home,” he said. As for restaurants and shops, we will still have to wait to see how COVID-19 evolves in Mexico, a country that began its containment measures later than Spain and Italy, countries that have implemented the toughest measures so far. “The new normality will not be the same in all cities, as each city evolves differently,” said López-Gatell. In other words, we will have to wait.

The measures implemented in Amsterdam are in line with the proposal reported few weeks ago by Nuova Neon Group to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. The designing company proposed the construction of methacrylate cabins along the lidos, private concessions for the exploitation of a beach, to avoid social contact as much as possible. Giuseppe Conte, Italian Prime Minister, has not yet confirmed these radical measures, although yesterday he wanted to send a message of hope to his citizens. “This summer we will no longer be on the balconies. We will be able to go to the sea, to the mountains and enjoy our cities. We are waiting for the epidemiological framework to provide precise information concerning dates and times,” he said.

What does seem to be a common practice around the world, including Mexico, will be the mandatory use of masks inside any store, as well as in hairdressing salons and all other closed spaces. In addition, the possibility of creating digital color-coded alerts that can be consulted through an app to book a visit to a store or supermarket is being explored. These establishments will measure the body temperature of each customer before entering the market, as it is already happening in South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

In Mexico, IMSS launched yesterday a series of recommendations to prevent contagion in supermarkets and markets, which include going to collection centers with very specific lists, shopping in moments when there is less traffic, using reusable bags and gel and disinfecting all products and packaging once you return home. These are some of the measures proposed by Carlos Benito Armenta, one of the specialists of that institution.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
CNN, La Reppublica, Business Insider, Milenio, EFE, Forbes
Daniel González Daniel González Senior Writer