The Government approves provisions for safe indoor and outdoor trade
Last update 02.04.2021
The Cabinet of Ministers at the 1 April meeting of this year, decided that from 7 April of this year, all stores outside the large shopping centres can resume on-site work in the conditions of increased safety. According to experts, the risk of people gathering in shopping centres is too high; therefore, only operation of certain types of stores and service outlets is allowed there, maintaining all existing epidemiological safety requirements for the operation of points of sale, while cancelling the issue of goods obtained via distance selling in stores. The Government also confirmed that from 7 April of this year, the organization of street trade (or fairs) is allowed, at the same time ensuring the safe trade protocol for all outdoor trade.
"This decision allows us to finally put an end to the lists of goods! Now points of sales are in the same position both in large cities as well as in regional centres and small towns. With this, we will not only achieve an even better division of the customer flow, but will also provide the long-awaited support to local entrepreneurs and small producers, who have hitherto been forced to have a down time and rely only on the state aid. Following the principles of "Safe stays Safe", our citizens will once again be able to buy the things they need without any difficulties - from seasonal clothing to goods for home, household, and garden work," emphasizes the Minister of Economics Jānis Vitenbergs.
In order not to cause crowding in points of sale, incl. the formation of long queues, especially on public holidays, we would like to remind that residents:
- visit the store one by one (except with a child or an assistant),
- plan the necessary purchases in advance,
- plan to shop for a longer period of time,
- remain in the store for as short a time as possible.
We would like to remind that compliance with the requirements set for merchants will be monitored by the State and Municipal Police, as well as by the Consumer Rights Protection Centre which has the right to control compliance with the requirements for the maximum number of visitors and the implementation of epidemiological safety measures in the internal control systems.
All latest information on safety requirements for merchants is published on the website of the Ministry of Economics. Samples of internal control system rules for small points of sale developed by the Consumer Rights Protection Centre are published on the CRPC website. In turn, informative materials for informing visitors about safety requirements are available on the website of the informative campaign “Safe stays Safe”.
Safe trade provisions for the stores outside large shopping centres.
As of 7 April of this year, all stores outside the large shopping centres (i.e., stores with the total sales area of less than 7000 m2) can resume on-site work in the conditions of increased safety.
The following safety provisions must be met at all these points of sale (in every store, regardless of its size and range of goods sold):
- both the customers and the staff must wear nose and mouth covering,
- information on the maximum number of visitors must be placed at the entrance;
- the number of baskets/trolleys/shopping bags must correspond to the maximum number of visitors allowed;
- an area of 25 m2 per 1 visitor (incl. technical equipment) must be ensured; if the space is smaller, then only 1 visitor can be present at once;
- the flow of visitors must be controlled at the entrance/exit, indoors/outdoors, and on the sales floor where visitors tend to gather (e.g., in specific sections of the store);
- if the infrastructure allows, the entrance must be separated from the exit, without disregarding fire safety requirements;responsible person must be delegated, who constantly organises the fulfilment of the requirements at the point of sale; information about this responsible person must be placed in a clearly visible place;
- internal (documented) control system must be developed for the implementation of epidemiological safety measures, including information on the calculation of visitors, internal procedures and control, as well as on the responsible person, so that control institutions can objectively verify the fulfilment of requirements;
- it is forbidden to organise and advertise short-term (shorter than 7 days) special offers that could motivate people to immediately visit and stay at the point of sale for longer periods, thus creating a risk of gatherings;
- the police may close the point of sale for up to 7 days for violations.
Safe trade provisions in large shopping centres
As of 7 April of this year in frame of enhanced safety conditions at the shopping centres with a total sales area of more than 7000 m2 and at least five merchants or service providers operating in individual points of sale only the following can operate:
- the grocery stores where food is sold comprising not less than 70% of the assortment of goods;
- the stores where hygiene goods are sold in the amount of not less than 70% of the assortment of goods;
- pharmacies (including veterinary pharmacies);
- optical goods stores;
- pet food stores;
- flower stores;
- press outlets.
At the same time, the operation of service providers (for example, dry cleaners, financial institutions, repair services, etc.) is allowed in shopping centres, but further it is not allowed to issue goods purchased via distance sales in stores!
Safe trade provisions in markets and street trade
As of 7 April of this year the following safety requirements must be observed in the open area of the market and in street trade:
- visitors and merchants must wear mouth and nose covering;
- clearly visible information about precautionary requirements to visitors must be placed;
- a distance of 2 meters between points of sale must be ensured;
- the flow of visitors must be controlled and regulated in places where visitors are excessively gathering, such as in aisles, where a one-way flow is recommended;
- a responsible person must be appointed who remains on site and organizes the implementation of the epidemiological safety measures referred to in the provisions;
- an internal control system must be developed describing the procedure for ensuring control to prevent physical distancing violations and to prevent increased crowding of visitors
As of 7 April, the organization of street trade is also allowed, i.e., the organization of trade fairs, where the following safety requirements must be met:
- visitors and merchants must wear mouth and nose covering,
- up to 20 points of sale are allowed,
- the trade fair territory must be physically demarcated,
- no entertainment events (thematic festivals, attractions) take place during the organization of street trade.
Find out more on the amendments reviewed by the Cabinet of Ministers to the Regulations No. 360 "Epidemiological Safety Measures for the Containment of the Spread of Covid-19 Infection" adopted on 9 June 2020 on the website of the Cabinet of Ministers, for the final version of the amendments please refer to www.likumi.lv after publication.