Reopening of shops may require temperature checks for customers

‘New normal’ could include ban on shopping baskets, price promotions

A worker checks the temperature of a customer at the entrance of a supermarket in Turin, Italy. Photograph: Reuters/ Massimo Pinca

A worker checks the temperature of a customer at the entrance of a supermarket in Turin, Italy. Photograph: Reuters/ Massimo Pinca

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Temperature checks for staff and customers, mandatory staff Covid-19 testing, and no price promotions to prevent “surge consumption” are among measures being mulled over by retailers as they plan for eventual reopening of non-essential outlets.

Some stores may also ban shopping baskets and insist customers use trolleys as a “natural distancing mechanism”, while some national retailers are planning to accept only contactless payments, and not cash, for a period.

Retail Excellence, an industry group with 2,200 members, on Wednesday issued a circular to members outlining a range of potential measures that retailers should consider, pending the release of official guidance.

It told members it had requested “detailed advice” from the State. In the meantime, it has compiled its own list of possible measures, based in part on the advice from governments abroad.

PPE for staff

The organisation is also working with a team of “medical experts” to devise a plan for the personal protective equipment (PPE) retail staff may require. The plan will be released “in a few days”.

The circular suggests smaller shops may have to rip out fixtures to make room for social distancing. Over-the-counter stores may need internal redesigns so that staff can social distance.

It told its members that customers would demand “health and safety prudence”.

“The [public] health advice, which has yet to be published, might include the necessity to supply infra-red thermometers for large format shopping centres.”

It said “many employers will implement daily temperature testing” of staff.

It suggested customers might be “mandated” to wear a mask and gloves in food stores. All staff will be told to wash their hands at least once every hour.

It said that whatever guidelines were released by State authorities must be followed to the letter, and stressed its suggestions were just a “guide”.

“When you reopen, you will face a new normal.”

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