Christophe Vandercam / Photo News

Access door at shopping centre only opens to those that have disinfected their hands

The Waasland Shopping Center in East Flanders has found a foolproof way of ensuring that only customers with clean hands can enter the shopping mall. The automatic doors that give shoppers access to the shopping centre will only open once they have disinfected their hands. The idea to link the use of a hand sanitiser dispenser to the mechanism that opens the doors comes from two companies from East Flanders: House of Entertainment from Aalst and StarNet from Sint-Niklaas. 

The companies developed “Solotion”, an automatic access control system with which people must first disinfect their hands before they are allowed into a building or an outside space that has been cordoned off for a sporting event or a concert.  

One of the people behind the development of Solotion told VRT Radio 2 East Flanders that “Really it’s comparable to the access gates at a festival, where you first have to scan your ticket”. The prototype of Solution system has been in use since Tuesday at the Waasland Shopping Center in Sint-Niklaas. 

Pieter Mariën of House of Entertainment in Aalst told VRT Radio 2 East Flanders that Solotion is the first fully automatic access system that uses hand hygiene as its criterion for granting access.  

“It is a versatile system that can be applied to all existing access systems. If people want to access a given area they must first take some hand gel from an automatic soap dispenser. Once that has been done you are given the green light and you can enter. If you don’t disinfect your hands the system blocks you from entering”.

In addition to this the system can also be programmed to allow only a given number of people into a building or outside space where access is limited. With social distancing to form an invaluable plank of the exit strategy from the COVID-19 crisis limiting the number of people that can enter is of great importance.

Currently the system is only in use at the Waasland Shopping centre. However, Mr Mariën says that there have been many enquiries from companies interested in using the system.