IMC has continually monitored guidance issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), industry groups, and others. We have reviewed the reopening plans of some of the key players in the office, retail, hospitality, and gaming sectors for best practices, consulted with suppliers and service contractors, and have tracked mandates and recommendations of federal, state, and local governments for the jurisdictions in which IMC operates. In addition, IMC has engaged an Emory University-based epidemiologist to consult in the preparation and implementation of this reopening program. Finally, IMC has tapped a cross-functional team on its own staff to produce a set of protocols to guide the process of reopening our facilities. Our requirements for operating Markets at this time are detailed here and may be added to or adjusted at any time as new information becomes available.
What to Expect at Market
At a minimum, our Markets will require social distancing, consistent use of PPE, and for increased hygiene of both individuals and the facilities. Here’s what you can expect as you arrive on our campus:
- Building access points will be controlled to manage the flow of customers at entrances and exits.
- To minimize queueing at registration stations, all buyer and designer attendees must preregister online. A visitor who has not preregistered will be asked to step out of the queue and complete the registration process on a mobile device.
- Touchless temperature checks, either by thermometer or thermal imaging equipment, will be administered each time you enter the building
- Personal protective equipment must be properly worn by visitors at all times while in or about the buildings. Masks must be worn at all times and must cover the nose and mouth of the wearer, except when eating or drinking, provided physical distancing is observed. Masks may be reusable fabric variety or three-ply disposable masks. IMC will supply each entrant who does not have his or her own PPE with a kit containing a disposable mask, hand sanitizer, a pair of gloves, and a one-page explanatory piece communicating the requirements of access to the property. Tenants will be encouraged to require the use of gloves or hand sanitizer by buyers or designers while handling merchandise in a showroom. Note: Many IMC customers have PPE supplies available for buyers and exhibitors to purchase.
- Hand sanitization stations will be located throughout campus
- Physical distancing measures for foot traffic, queues, restroom access, and otherwise will be implemented as needed or mandated.
- Everyone on campus will be requested to wash their hands thoroughly with soap for at least 20 seconds approximately once per hour, and after using the restroom, coughing, sneezing, touching the face, blowing the nose, cleaning, smoking, eating, or drinking. The use of hand sanitizer is advised when washing is not practical.
- Elimination of self-service food and beverage options and coffee service. Concessions will be administered solely by contracted national providers with offerings organized around pre-wrapped, “grab-and-go” options.
Enhanced Housekeeping Measures
In early March, 2020, IMC took steps to enhance its housekeeping measures in response to the COVID-19 threat. These enhancements to the cleaning specifications stress frequent, meticulous cleaning of the campuses, with particular emphasis on the utilization of EPA List N chemicals or products for the cleaning and disinfection of the high-touch points of the facilities.
Protective Measures for Freight
Freight has continued to move into and out of the buildings throughout the closure. Steps will be taken to minimize the risk of introduction of COVID-19 into our properties through the receipt, handling and delivery of tenants’ freight or of bulk supplies procured by IMC. These measures may include:
- Use of gloves and other PPE by freight handlers.
- Requirement that all tenant freight must be palletized, shrink-wrapped or crated to minimize the need for individual handling.
- Use of portable, foggers and mechanical sprayers which can be used to disinfect an inbound freight shipment before it is delivered to the showroom, the interior of a trailer prior to unloading, or forklifts, pallet jacks, floats and freight elevators used for conveyance into the building.
- Staggering dock appointments to minimize tenant-to-tenant contact.
- Requiring, on an interim basis, that IMC personnel move all freight, suspending temporarily the practice of lending equipment to tenants. Similarly, IMC personnel would have exclusive control of the freight elevators to maintain elevator occupancy in keeping with social distancing protocols, and to ensure that freight elevators do not become an access point to the building, bypassing screening procedures.
Tenants & Staff
Our tenants and employees will be subject to all of the protocols listed above as they relate to screening, PPE (including gloves, where applicable), physical distancing, and hygiene.
All vendors that we partner with for daily or market operations will be required to adhere to the same standards as IMC staff, but many may go even further with precautionary measures. Following are select partner details and processes that have been shared with us:
It will not be possible to eliminate entirely the risk that a tenant, employee or visitor will come into contact with the Coronavirus – or with someone who is carrying it – despite the measures outlined above. We believe, however, that the proper and consistent implementation of these protocols will make IMC’s campuses as safe as can reasonably be achieved, and far safer than many of the other public environments that our stakeholders will encounter beyond our walls.