Saturday, June 22, 2024

ln the times of Covid-19, supermarket shopping a new experience

Grocery shopping in the midst of the pandemic has become a totally new experience, the newspaper Milenio reported after visiting several supermarkets in and around Mexico City to check out the social distancing and hygiene measures they are taking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

At Sam’s Club in Cuemanco, customers are greeted by a worker who applies antibacterial gel to their hands and only allows one person per membership to enter. 

Aisles are mostly empty of shoppers due to the limited access, and workers all wear masks. At checkout, cashiers make sure customers respect social distancing and are not permitted to approach the cashier until the person in front of them has finished paying. If they are being greeted by the usual friendly smile, it’s impossible to see underneath the masks. 

The situation is similar at Superama in Portales Sur. Only one person per family can enter the store, and a woman wearing a mask and gloves wipes down the shopping carts with an alcohol-soaked cloth. 

Gone are the tongs and trays customers usually use to select products from the bakery. Today, loaves of bread and pastries are individually wrapped in cellophane. 

Online shopping has become increasingly popular, and supermarket workers push carts through the aisles filling customers’ orders. 

At checkout, taped marks on the floor help customers maintain distance from one another while waiting their turn. Cashiers wearing masks greet customers from behind a clear plastic barrier, and there are no baggers to pack groceries. As most are elderly, they have been sent home to wait out the pandemic. 

At Santa Fe’s Bodega Aurrerá, despite stay-at-home orders, several families congregate at the entrance, waiting for their one family member who has been allowed entry to tackle the shopping on his or her own. Police officers wearing masks and gloves make sure this policy is adhered to. 

Inside the store, workers wearing protective gear spray the handles of shopping carts with disinfectant. Again, taped marks on the floor at checkout areas keep customers at a safe distance.  

At the Eduardo Molina Afuera Walmart, capacity has been reduced from 3,000 shoppers to 1,400, and a sign tells customers they must remain 2.25 meters away from others.

At Sam’s Club in Coacalco, shopping rules are blasted over large speakers before shoppers, one per family, enter the store. Aisles are eerily empty and signs are placed in front of essential items where purchase amounts have been limited.

At Híper Soriana in the Los Ángeles neighborhood, shopping conditions are less than ideal. Still, customers must wait for a shopper to leave the store before they can enter, and a bottle of hand sanitizer sits on a table at the entrance for customers to use, should they choose to do so. However, shelves where rice, beans, pasta and soup should be are empty, and the floors at checkout are taped but few people pay the recommended distance any regard.

While efforts are being made to make shopping a safer experience, albeit a strange one, it’s up to customers themselves to make sure they abide by guidelines and do their part to flatten the curve. 

Source: Milenio (sp)

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