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Supermarket slots for over-65s only as staff and public show 'exemplary self-discipline'
17 March 2020 @ 15:36

SUPERMARKETS in Spain have shown themselves to be exemplary in terms of organisation whilst the country remains in a 'State of Alert' over the Covid-19 Coronavirus – and some have set aside early-morning slots limited to the over-65s.

In Carrefour, only adults of pension age are allowed in between 07.00 and 08.00 – in fact, the store has started opening two hours early precisely for that purpose.

Most supermarkets, including Mercadona and Mas y Mas, have now reduced their hours and close at 20.00 instead of 21.30 (in the case of the former) and 21.00 (for the latter).

Staff have been diligently following the health authority's recommended procedures and disinfecting every surface, plus shopping trolleys and baskets, and even the card machine each time a customer pays, contactless operations included.

Employees wear masks and gloves, and customers are required to put on gloves normally dispensed in the fruit and vegetable section, as soon as they enter.

Limited numbers are allowed in at once, and those waiting to go in are called one at a time as the last person leaves, as well as being required to stand at least two metres apart whilst in the queue.

Shelves continue to be understocked, however – although supplies are guaranteed and the limited number of customers on the premises at any time are discouraged from stockpiling, most are still bulk-buying to a certain extent on the basis that this will mean fewer occasions when they need to leave their houses.

It is likely, therefore, that the limited availability of goods will soon ease once everyone has filled up with what they require for the short-term future and has limited further need for the contents of the replenished shelves.

Although the discipline is exemplary in Spanish supermarkets at present, some of it has actually proven unnecessary: The general public themselves are taking the temporary changes seriously and automatically keeping themselves separate from other customers and staff, and collecting gloves at the entrance without having to be told.

Not everyone wears masks, because pharmacies have mostly run out, although many people improvise with DIY masks or by wrapping a scarf around their faces.



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