14 Apr 2020

Coronavirus pandemic: what are supermarkets doing to keep people safe?


Governments are asking people to stay at home to halt the spread of the coronavirus. They are imposing curbs on everyday life, but without precedent in peacetime worldwide. However, notice that people may leave their homes to shop for basic necessities. Given that supermarkets still are an essential service for the population, they will remain open. The issue here is that many institutions received critics for not imposing stricter social distancing policies. Because of that, most supermarkets worldwide will have to implement strict rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

With many countries in lockdown, supermarkets are limiting the number of customers in stores to enforce social distancing. The majority of supermarkets is even using marshals to police the distance between shoppers in queues. Retailers are also managing queues outside their stores to protect shoppers from the transmission of the virus.

Supermarkets are taking measures to prevent clients from getting COVID-19. (Source: Al Jazeera)

Measures that were taken by supermarkets to help people in times of COVID-19

Distancing measures

The major grocery store chains are implementing social distancing tools by installing floor decals and waiting points. These are supposed to keep people at least two meters away from each other. Supermarkets are also limiting the number of shoppers allowed in-store so distancing can be maintained. When clients reach the limit, the remaining shoppers must wait outside.

Physical barriers inside supermarkets

Most supermarkets are adding physical barriers to keep customers and employees safe during the coronavirus outbreak. They are rolling out protective screens across stores to form a barrier between shoppers and staff. By doing so, they are trying to prevent viral transmission through droplets. 

Touching limits

Some supermarkets will be asking shoppers to only touch items that they want to purchase. Besides, they are offering hand sanitizer at the entrance and exit of stores. In addition to that, many institutions also will be cleaning screens, trolleys, baskets and all touchpoints every hour. Another deep cleaning must happen every night as well. Of course, when clients know that, they feel confident to purchase their groceries.

Differentiated hours for the elderly


Most supermarkets rolled out individual policies allowing allocated hours for the elderly and vulnerable to shop for what they need. Besides, most supermarkets are asking customers to do their payments with a card. This is better than using cash at tills because it helps to contain the spread of the virus. In addition, most supermarkets are attempting to curb stockpiling by placing limits on the amount of any item that shoppers are allowed to purchase. As you can see, these are obvious measures.

The pandemic has a special way to make us face an unprecedented crisis. We are talking about the demand for food and household products. It is also forcing supermarkets to work round the clock to keep shelves stocked. While society is adapting to social isolation, these institutions must take measures to protect staff and customers. All this amid a pandemic that requires proper social distancing. It is an enormous challenge for everybody. Hopefully, we are going to get through this.