Posted on March 30, 2020

Social distancing is the key to beat COVID-19 pandemic but usually maintaining a safe distance becomes an issue when someone visits a shop or hypermarket to purchase grocery.

Almost all hypermarkets in Qatar, following the directives of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, have made sufficient arrangements to ensure social distancing among customers and also continously disinfecting shared surfaces. The Ministry of Public Health yesterday issued a number of tips for the customers on how they can decrease the risk of contracting coronavirus while shopping grocery.

In an infographic shared on its social media accounts, the Ministry has advised people to limit the grocery store visits to only one person and avoid taking children. “If your household workers are doing the shopping, explain to them the precautionary measures,” the Ministry said further advising people to make a grocery list prior to leaving their houses. “To reduce the number of visits, purchase enough groceries to last 1-2 weeks but do not over purchase to leave stock for others. Ensure you always leave a distance of at least 1.5 meters between yourself and others,” the MoPH has advised people in an ongoing awareness campaign to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

The Ministry also advised people to ensure disinfecting their cars and baskets prior to use, and wear disposable gloves and throw them in a trash bin immediately after use. “Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes while shopping and use electronic forms of payment instead of cash and also use a tissue when entering your pin number,” the tweet says.

The Ministry has further advised people to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers immediately after they leave the grocery store and place their grocery bags in the trunk of their cars instead of seats of cars. “When you reach home dispose of the grocery bags immediately and wash the purchased items. Ensure to disinfect and wipe the surfaces that were in contact with the grocery bags and the products you purchased. When you finish storing the products wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol based-hand sanitizer,” the tweet said. 

The Ministry has further asked people to avoid going grocery story if they are experiencing any flu like symptoms such as coughing sneezing and fever; suffer from any chronic condition and low immunity and they are elderly persons. In line with government’s directives to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country, major hypermarkets of the country have also issued a series of social distancing guidelines. The hypermarkets have placed signages at vantage points imparting awareness on shoppers to maintain reasonable distance while in the store and at the checkout queue.

Lulu Hypermarket recently advised all its customers to limit one person per household to do the shopping. They have suggested the use of cashless payment wherever possible and recommended its customers to sanitise or wash their hands before coming to the store. Lulu Hypermarket also started a massive campaign named “Your Health is in Your Hands” at all its stores, aiming to promote awareness of hand hygiene among its customers, employees and general public, as the risk factors for the increased infection and transmission of diseases are mainly associated with the hand hygiene.

Al Meera Consumer Goods Company has also banned the entry of children below the age of 12 to its branches as part of its preventive measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

source: The Peninsula