Whiteley’s - in Mirfield, West Yorkshire - has invested in market-leading face-covering detection technology to protect its employees and customers following the Government’s announcement of increased restrictions on face coverings in shops - with customers facing increased fines if they do not comply.
Upon arrival, Whiteley’s customers are greeted by an interactive screen displaying customised messages depending on whether they are wearing a face covering or not.
The screen is connected to a camera system at the entrance that is taught to identify whether a person in a specific area is wearing a cover over their mouth and nose.
The face-covering detection system – called Covered – was developed by Yorkshire-based technology provider Videcon.
Retail staff as well as customers will now be required to wear face coverings following the latest rules introduced by the Government on Tuesday (September 22nd), with retailers facing an increased fine of up to £10,000 if they fail to comply.
Since implementing the new technology, Whiteley’s has reported an almost 90% decline in customers refusing to wear face coverings.
This comes in addition to a forecasted saving of approximately £17,000 a year, thanks to Whiteley’s management being able to reallocate a member of staff from manning the door, back to their original duties.
Whiteley’s General Manager, Peter Williams said: “Customers’ and employees’ safety should be a top priority for all retailers in the current environment.
"I was very excited to see how our visitors reacted to this new system and I must admit I was overwhelmed with the volume of positive feedback we’ve received from customers and employees respectively since the installation by Videcon.
"Our customers are feeling safer coming into the centre knowing that we are doing our best to support national efforts to suppress the virus and our employees are very appreciative of the technology removing the confrontational element, asking customers to put on their mask.
"In addition to the safety benefits, we have also seen immediate financial gains to our business in the form of an increased number of visitors, and reallocation of the resource.”
Covered was developed as part of Videcon’s wider Detect & Protect range, which focuses on deep learning technology aimed at supporting businesses to keep customers and staff safe in the wake of COVID-19.