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Social distancing plan for supermarkets

Supermarkets could limit the number of customers to 50 people at a time if a case of Covid-19 was confirmed, a business leader said this week.

Zach Moniz, the manager of the Lindo's Group of Companies, explained that plans were in place to manage a range of scenarios based on the extent of the spread of the coronavirus.

He said: “Right now there are no confirmed cases so we're operating as normal, except for heightened sanitisation and cleaning procedures.

“Cashiers clean their registers every couple of hours, we've got a guy on site wiping down handles on freezers, carts — whatever he can see that's touchable — all of that is being cleaned in a cycle.”

Mr Moniz added: “Our stage two is a Covid-19 confirmation on the island and then we will look at more social distancing procedures.”

He explained that the measures would depend on the level of contact any coronavirus case was thought to have had on the island.

Mr Moniz said: “If their community outreach was not very big our social distancing will not be as severe.

“If there are community transmissions then I'm sure the Government is going to implement more social distancing policies.

“That will look like a maximum number of 50 people in the store.”

The businessman highlighted measures taken in Italy, which has been hard hit by the virus, where customers were asked to queue about six feet apart from one another while they waited to enter supermarkets.

He added: “We will employ those kinds of procedures at that time, I would expect pretty much the whole island will be on isolation anyway.”

Mr Moniz said: “Stage two depends on the nature of the transmission. We may allow 100 people in the store, if the community transmission is heavy then I can see it being where we only allow 50 people in and maintain six-feet separation for the duration of their time in the store.”

He added: “Then if we had transmissions for employees in the store we would have to look at staffing levels and reduced hours and online business.

“It will be those kinds of things we will have to flesh out as we get to that bridge, but we have talked about it and we have a plan in place.

“You can't really know how bad it's going to be until it is that bad.

“We're hoping it never gets that bad, we're doing all the things now to mitigate and avoid that transmission so hopefully that bears fruit.”

Mr Moniz said that if the number of customers was limited, staff levels might decrease as well.

He added: “We are in this business — we've always been in this business.

“We serve the community so we will do our best to serve the community as best we can for as long as we can.”

Mr Moniz said that delivery services like DropIt and Lindo's online orders programme were already popular and would be useful if people were stuck in their homes.

He added: “Of course, we try to accommodate as many people as we can online, making deliveries.

“I can drop something off on your step and walk away.”

Mr Moniz said he had confidence in the precautions being taken by the Government.

He added: “I think the Government is doing absolutely all they can at this time and they're not sitting back, waiting. They're proactively doing what they have to do.”

To read a letter from Lindo's to its customers, click on the PDF under “Related Media”

Lindo's (File photo)

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Published March 18, 2020 at 4:27 pm (Updated March 18, 2020 at 4:27 pm)

Social distancing plan for supermarkets

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