The closing of businesses across the UK seemed unthinkable at one point in life, but as we emerge from the COVID-19 lockdowns, we need to acknowledge the fact that we are now living a new kind of world. Re-opening presents challenges for many different businesses but none more so than those in the leisure industry who have some complicated factors to try and work around if they are going to keep staff and the public safe.
By definition, the leisure industry is a place where people can relax, have fun and enjoy themselves. You will want this to continue as much as possible, but you need to ensure that it can be done safely. That will take research and ongoing assessment of the measures that you have put in place to make sure that they remain effective and continue to fit in with any guidelines, whilst also giving the public the feeling that they are safe and secure when they visit your premises.
Understandably, you can’t wait to welcome new customers into your venue after such long closures, but you need to make sure this can be done safely. The measures that you need to put in place will start before anyone has even set foot inside, as you need to think about queueing.
Using barriers to direct the queues that are waiting to get inside will help to control large numbers of people and prevent problems such as queue-jumping. Multi-lane queues can be put in place to minimise wait times and further spread people out, keeping the mood happy as well as avoiding safety issues. It also means that you can allow for social distancing and enhance the feeling of public safety. This system can then be replicated inside your premises at any spots where queues may form.
Once customers reach a point of entry, you need to ensure that they come in safely. By installing gates and turnstiles you can effectively control who comes inside and how quickly they are able to do this. By stopping people rushing through, it is possible to prevent trips, falls or crushes and makes sure that the flow of people into the venue remains steady.
Turnstiles can be used to allow anything from a single person to small groups through at a time, which will help to keep queues moving as quickly as possible without having people flooding through your gates.
These options also allow for access control systems which means that the public can only gain entry with tickets or passes. This allows you to control how many people you let in and ensure that it is done safely and with minimal effort for security guards or gate personnel. Card readers can also be installed to allow for payment on the gates, keeping the process contactless and further avoiding risk to your staff.
Thinking about your layout is important from lots of different perspectives. It can help to control the flow of people around your venue, ensuring that they go where you want them to, and that there are not too many people in a particular space at any one time.
Queue barriers can be used to keep main access routes open whilst ensuring that people know where they are going and can do so safely. They can be used to manage the behaviour of a crowd, and by putting obvious and direct routes in place, you can help visitors to make decisions about where they want to be. Clear signage can also help to keep people moving in the right direction and ensure that they can find everything that they need.
There may be elements of your venue that are only accessible to particular visitors, so adding security doors or gates within it may be necessary. Again, these can be fitted with readers that ensure only those with the correct documentation can gain entry. Cordons can be installed both outside and inside the venue using security fences and barriers to ensure that there is no unauthorised access.
Whilst you might want to direct visitors towards certain areas, you may want to keep them away from others. Some features may attract large crowds which can be unsafe and difficult to manage. Using barriers and other security methods, you can relieve pressure and prevent too many people from flooding an area. This can minimise the risk of crushes and keep everyone safe, comfortable and happy.
Managing your car park security is as important as managing the flow of pedestrian traffic within your venue. Putting barriers in place ensures that you can manage how many people drive through your gates, and that payment is made if required. It can also ensure that people drive respectfully and safely through your car park.
If vehicles are used throughout your site, then it is vital that this is done safely. Providing barriers to keep pedestrians out of the path of traffic is important as visitors are less likely to be vigilant in these circumstances. This will help to ensure everyone is safe and that delivery drivers or contractors are kept only to the areas that they are required to be in.
It is easy to think of security as just being for the benefit of the business owner, but it is actually in place to protect everyone. Staff need be protected, and this can be done through access controls, CCTV, alarms and systems which take the pressure off them. By having plenty of visible security measures in place, you can help your customers to feel more protected and offer them a peace of mind that will make them return to you time after time.
Having been closed for so long, leisure businesses now want to make the most of the fact they can now welcome customers inside. However, this needs to be done with the right safety measures in place to make sure that everyone is protected, and the experience can be an enjoyable one for all.
This article was contribute by Lucinda Thorpe, Business Development Executive at Newgate who specialise in secured access solutions such as security barriers and gates, bollards and road blockers, which are British designed and built.