A new, selfless step toward social distancing
To control the spread of COVID-19 and to make sure consumers are safe, Supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles have announced that they will be introducing a limit on in-store consumers. The restrictions will be enforced starting Monday and will continue for the foreseeable future until both parties decide that it’s safe to do otherwise.
The limits will depend on each floor’s space and similar to the measures that have been introduced in the UK earlier, customers will line up outside the stores and will only be allowed to go in in a calculated manner. In addition to this, however, they have implemented dedicated community hours for people who have special needs and the elderly.
The chief operating officer of Coles, Matt Swindells, has stated that if the volume of customers inside the store gets too high to maintain safety, they will be restricting new personnel from entering their stores from Monday. In select stores, trading hours have been extended to 7 am-10 pm, and seven am-midnight.
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 because of the upcoming Easter weekend, Woolworths will not just be counting people but restricting them from entering stores as well. They have also stated that the consumer limit will location-specific and depend on the store’s size.
How safe is it to shop at supermarkets right now?
So far, Australia’s community transmission numbers for COVID-19 are low – and the stores want to keep it that way. Prof Clements has stated that the safest thing is to just get in and get out, and not to linger in the aisles.
It seems like a measure that is sensible and taken just in the nick of time. However, there are things every shopper must consider to be safe. These include:
- Planning trips carefully
- Wearing masks and gloves
- Avoid proximity – in queues and stores.
- Carry your disinfectant wipes to clear basket and trolley handles whenever possible.
- Always carry an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
- Sanitise hands after handling money and change (prefer online payments)
What you need to know about the lingering periods of the virus
Recent studies done by The New England Journal of Medicine have shown that the COVID-19 virus is detectable on:
- Copper surfaces: Up to four hours
- Cardboard surfaces: Up to 24 hours
- Plastic/steel surfaces: Up to 72 hours
The study also stated that these are numbers for ideal conditions – while factoring in real-life situations such as exposure to light and air, the virus dies quicker. The advice is to:
- Throw product packaging out whenever you can
- Try using cloth tote bags and washing them later.
- If you are using reusable plastic bags, throw them into the cupboard for a few days after use (to ensure the virus is dead)
- Carry your bags
However, all roads lead back to sanitising hands regularly before, during, and after shopping. So, if you are planning to go out, follow the instructions in this article and you shall be fine.