Shoppers at hypermarkets and other stores across Qatar have been urged to strictly follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
A customer who frequents a store at Al Thumama told Gulf Times that many shoppers refuse to maintain a reasonable distance as they get items from the shelves or while queueing at checkout counters.
“It is frustrating to see a lot of people don’t heed to important measures and regulations set by hypermarkets and supermarkets on social distancing,” said an Indian expatriate in Doha, suggesting that shoppers should do their share in the efforts to protect other customers and staff from Covid-19.
He added that many people continue to ignore signage placed at relevant areas of stores to guide them on the distance they should keep while shopping.
Filipino expatriate Rose A shared the same view saying that the signs and markers that most hypermarkets have placed inside their premises to encourage physical distancing are praiseworthy measures.
However, she said that if people don't follow these basic safety nets and social etiquette, it would be difficult to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“To flatten the curve, people should first apply commonsense and respect what other people are doing to prevent them from catching Covid-19. They should follow the safety guidelines issued by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH),” Rose stressed.
“Not only are these irresponsible persons putting themselves at risk but also other people, and most importantly the members of their family. If they want to do their part and help bring back our normal lives, residents should do their part and co-operate with the rest of society,” she said.
Staff and some employees who have been repeatedly reminding shoppers to follow the guidelines echoed the same observation saying “such attitude doesn’t help at all in the fight against Covid-19.”
While most of the stores now conduct regular cleaning and sanitisation, a staff said that those who shop should also constantly protect themselves and have concern for other people.
“However, I often see the vegetable area, particularly where onions are placed, so crowded and people seem to be unaware of the risks,” he added.
Apart from maintaining a reasonable distance, LuLu Hypermarket, for example, advised shoppers to sanitise or wash their hands before coming to the store; suspend the use of reusable bags; use cashless payment wherever possible; and to limit one person per household to do the shopping. It also dedicated checkouts for the elderly and vulnerable shoppers.
LuLu stores also posted guidelines from MoPH on ways to protecting oneself and others from the infection.
While the demand for online grocery shopping continues to surge, it is learnt many residents still prefer to come physically to stores and buy the items they need.
Meanwhile, Carrefour Qatar posted on its website that customers can purchase their needs at its stores as it cannot take online orders at the moment. It is also trying to increase its capacity to meet next day delivery schedules.
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