Nisa trials inflatable barriers to maintain social distancing in stores


Nisa is trialling new inflatable barriers to ensure customers stick to social distancing guidelines when shopping in store.

Inflatable barriers, created by Airbar-Q, have been installed at the entrance and checkout area of Nisa’s store in Leamington Spa.

Staff are able to remotely and instantly inflate the barriers at the door when the store is at capacity and they can also be used to automate queues elsewhere in the store.

According to The Grocer, Airbar-Q is working with automated shopper counting technology companies like Ocucon, which developed the Aldi’s automated traffic light system, to enable the system to be entirely automated in the future.

“You can put in four barriers at each end of an aisle, and when it reaches occupancy the barriers go up and people can queue outside of them,” Airbar-Q commercial director Miles Featherstone said.

READ MORE: Aldi’s ‘automated traffic light system’ set to receive major upgrades as it’s rolled out across UK

“It’s been designed and developed to reduce the burden that current restrictions hold on many retailers. Having at least one staff member manage customer numbers at each door as well as at checkouts and around the store is a quick-fix solution to what may become a lengthy problem.

“The current marshalling method puts staff and customers at a higher risk of infection and doesn’t guarantee the accuracy of the number of people within the store, in turn putting the public at a higher risk”.

While it is unclear whether Nisa will extend the roll out of the inflatable barriers, store owner Gurpal Jhutty said the technology had been a “big hit with customers”.

He added: “We’ve had them on a trial basis, and it’s going to come down to cost now whether we carry on with them. But with the expectation that lockdowns and social distancing will continue for at least a few months, we will need a solution of some kind”.

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