Preventive protocol stipulates two meters distance in shops; isolation room in malls


Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — As Saudi Arabia moved to phase 2 of the gradual relaxation of coronavirus lockdown rules that spans from May 31 to June 20, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs underlined the need to strictly comply with the precautionary measures and preventive protocols at retail and wholesale stores, commercial centers and malls all over the Kingdom.

According to the protocol, shoppers must maintain a two meter distance from each other, with rooms for instant isolation of suspected cases to be arranged in mall premises. Trying on clothes or testing perfumes are forbidden.

The protocol stipulates that reception hours for shoppers and visitors at these centers shall be the same as the curfew relaxation hours from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the second phase. However, shops will be allowed to continue their work during curfew hours through delivery apps and transporting parcels and goods, or through their vehicles until 12 in the night.

The protocol emphasizes checking shoppers’ temperature at the entrances and not allowing entry to those whose temperature exceeds 38 degrees Celsius. The businesses are also required to measure the temperatures of their employees daily and not allowing entry to employees from other agencies having body temperature of more than 38 degrees Celsius. Employees who are vulnerable to infection shall not be allowed to come to work and must work from home.

All customers must be obliged to wear face masks or any type of covering of their nose and mouth. There should be visible floor stickers to organize waiting queues in crowded places such as entrances, exits, elevators, toilets. It is necessary to put visible floor stickers inside the shops to enforce the spacing between employees, and between employees and customers in crowded workplaces such as customer service offices. The number of persons a shop can accommodate will be determined in the pattern of one person per 9 square meters of the internal space of the store.

The protocol also stresses the prevention of experimenting items inside the store such as trying on of clothes, cosmetics, and make-up products. Social distance of 1.5 meters to two meters shall be maintained at all times between shoppers or employees in the crowded areas of the store such as entrance, customer service counters and exits.

The protocol also encourages avoid using cash and instead facilitate payment through electronic points of sale, online or mobile or card payments. It also stipulates cleaning of the facilities and all surfaces that employees or customers touch every two hours, and disinfection of shopping carts and baskets after each use. There should be hand sanitizers at the entrances of shopping areas and common toilets for disinfection after each use, and discontinue operation of all public touch screens, in addition to dispose of materials that workers share internally such as pens used to fill worksheets, and common devices such as drinking water coolers.

The ministry stressed that prayer rooms, children’s play areas, and places trial rooms shall remain closed. It called on shopping centers to make provision for isolation rooms for suspected cases.