Limits on the number of customers in-store and more PPE for supermarket staff are among the measures which the Supermarkets Association (SATT) says its members will be implementing during the current lockdown period.
The measures are a direct response to increasing number of infections and deaths from COVID-19 being recorded by the Ministry of Health and will be in effect up to the last day of the current lockdown, 23rd May 2021.
“The threat posed by the virus, along with the scope of community outbreak has put forth cause for us to reconsider current measures at supermarkets nationwide,” a release issued by the Association today stated.
SATT says supermarkets will be increasing the visibility of signage, pamphlet distribution and paraphernalia by the Ministry of Health on their premises, to ensure increased compliance where necessary. And it is asking Government to support the COVID control efforts “by advising the public to listen, adhere and comply with the policies in play by the supermarkets”.
“It is a well-documented fact that every time a press conference is held by The Honourable Prime Minister to address further restrictions, there is a wild run on the supermarkets and retail food outlets. This trend, although baffling, leads us to advise that perhaps his press conferences be scheduled later in the evening,” the Association suggests.
According to the release, with immediate effect, supermarket staff will wear double masks, as well as face shields and PPE, where possible.
Families wishing to purchase supplies will be limited to one member, “with exceptions to single household persons and other such exemptions as necessary”.
“In an effort to control crowds, we will be engaging with TTPS to ask for SRP’s and traffic wardens to assist with crowd management,” the Supermarkets Association said. “We are asking the authorities to emphasize that it is an offence to congregate as such and we are asking where possible that persons should wait in their vehicles.”
The Association says supermarkets will discontinue all promotions, advertising, and specials, with immediate effect. In addition, the sale of large appliances and furniture are to be suspended immediately, except for mini appliances and household items.
The Association is asking shoppers to avoid making daily visits to supermarkets, given that there will be a long wait to enter the supermarkets.
“Shopping carts have been limited to adjust to the capacity of persons that can be safely circulated through stores as per recommendations,” SATT advises.
The release notes that “member stores have already increased the factors, including available registers, to allow for the throughput of traffic circulation as smoothly as possible for faster turnaround period.”
SATT also has requested assistance from the Police Service to ensure its efforts to reduce further spread of COVID-19 are a success.
“We are also requesting the TTPS to make an active effort to assist with crowd control in an effort to ensure compliance from customers, as supermarkets do not have any formal authority to take action against offenders,” SATT says in the release.