Mall retail store vacancies are at historic highs of 10.5%. Meanwhile, vaccination sites require significant parking spaces near major transportation routes, with room for a large number of vaccinated patients to wait the required 15 minutes after treatment while under observation for allergic reactions. Colder weather makes indoor facilities ideal for this 15-minute waiting period.
Empty mall space is an ideal solution for local health departments to utilize for vaccine administration. As such, mall owners across the country have been partnering with local health departments.
- Mega Vaccine Sites: NJ Mall, Convention Center cleared to serve as COVID-19 vaccination hubs (Dec 21, 2020, NewsNOW from Fox)
- Governor Murphy Tours Morris County Vaccine Mega-Site (Jan 8, 2021, New Jersey Office of the Governor)
- Mass vaccination sites open at stadiums across the country | WNT (Jan 11, 2021, ABC News)
This post is based on the CNN article, Vaccination megasites pop up in empty malls, by Parija Kavilanz, January 15, 2021, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight. Francis Zera/Spaces Images/Blend Images LLC
1. Choose a local mall that students might be familiar (or draw a typical mall layout on the whiteboard to include parking, food court, large anchor stores, and show some empty store locations). Ask students to describe how the vaccination site could be set up to increase the volume of patients treated daily.
Guidance: This exercise is designed to involve students in planning a service process to include parking, one direction movement flow of patients, administration of paperwork and the vaccination waiting area for patients before and after the shot, and easily accessible bathroom locations.
2. As a follow up on the first question, ask students to identify potential bottlenecks in their layouts. How can capacity be increased? Should demand be managed also?
Guidance: This is an opportunity to review bottlenecks and methods to reduce them in services. Students should identify ways to increase capacity and manage demand. Discussion of potentials bottlenecks is a good review of capacity and demand management strategies in service operations.