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How can merchants ensure safe trade conditions?

Last update 06.02.2021

On 5 February 2021, in the meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, it was decided to increase safety measures at points of sale from 8 February 2021, while gradually expanding on-site trading. Compliance with the requirements set for traders 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.

Safer trading conditions for all points of sale, i.e. shops, markets and, in particular, shopping centres, include a more effective control of visitor flows and very strict physical distancing requirements, increased merchant responsibilities and obligations for controlling the flow of visitors, a ban on marketing activities, and increased control and responsibility for any non-compliance with the epidemiological safety measures in place.

How to ensure safe conditions in stores?

In addition to the existing safety measures, i.e. the use of mouth and nose coverings, information at the entrance on the maximum number of visitors, visiting the store alone (except with a child or assistant), and ensuring only as many baskets/trollies/shopping bags as the maximum permitted number of visitors, points of sale must also ensure the following:

  • an area of 25 m2 per 1 visitor (incl. technical equipment); if the space is smaller, then only 1 visitor can be present at once;
  • controlling the flow of visitors at the entrance/exit, indoors/outdoors, and on the sales floor where visitors tend to gather (e.g. in specific sections of the shop);
  • if the infrastructure allows, the entrance must be separated from the exit, without disregarding fire safety requirements;
  • the delegation of a responsible person, who constantly organises the fulfilment of the requirements at the point of sale; information on this person must be placed in a clearly visible place;
  • development of an internal (documented) control system for the implementation of epidemiological safety measures, including information on the calculation of visitors, internal procedures and controls, 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;
  • any violations may result in the police closing the point of sale for up to 7 days, but no longer than until the end of the state of emergency.

How to ensure safe conditions in shopping centres?

In shopping centres (SC) (a room or building with a total area of over 1500 m2 and 5 sales outlets), in addition to the existing safety measures, i.e. use of mouth and nose coverings, information at the entrance on the maximum number of visitors, not exceeding the maximum number of visitors allowed in the shopping centre (summing the number of visitors allowed at the separate points of sale), and controlling the flow of visitors at the entrance/exit and in the common areas, the following must be ensured:

  • controlling the flow of visitors both indoors and outdoors (parking lots, at the entrances);
  • visitors are only allowed to enter on their own, except when with a child or an assistant;
  • the registration of the visitor flow must be implemented by the means specified in the internal control system;
  • shopping centres with a total area over 7000 m2 must be equipped with an electronic visitor flow counting device. This requirement will take effect from 15 February 2021. Until then, these shopping centres must ensure that the maximum number of visitors is not exceeded and that the supervisory and control authorities can be provided, upon request, with objective information on the number of visitors in the shopping centre;
  • the delegation of a responsible person, who constantly organises the fulfilment of the requirements at the point of sale; information about this person must be placed in a clearly visible place;
  • development of an internal (documented) control system for the implementation of epidemiological safety measures, including information on the calculation of visitors, internal procedures and controls, 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;

How to ensure safe conditions in markets?
In addition to the safety measures currently in place in markets, i.e. the use of mouth and nose coverings and the ban on serving visitors without such coverings, the following must be ensured:
at least 25 m2 of publicly available space in the market building must be provided per visitor;

  • a notice at the entrance to the market building, stating, incl. in foreign languages, the number of visitors allowed;
  • controlling that no gathering of visitors occurs at the entrance/exit of the market building (both indoors and outdoors), in the corridors, etc.;
  • visitors are only allowed to enter the market building on their own, except when with a child or an assistant;
  • the delegation of a responsible person, who constantly organises the fulfilment of the requirements; information about this person must be placed in a clearly visible place;
  • development of an internal (documented) control system for the implementation of epidemiological safety measures, including information on the calculation of visitors, internal procedures and controls, as well as on the responsible person, so that control institutions can objectively verify the fulfilment of requirements;

Restrictions on markets do not apply to outdoor street shopping venues and points of sale in the open-air area of markets. During the process of sales in outdoor street shopping venues and in open-air market territories, merchants and visitors must wear mouth and nose coverings, as well as comply with the general epidemiological safety requirements. In addition, markets and street shopping venues must respect the restrictions imposed on the sale of certain goods.

At the same time, from 8 February of this year, the on-site sales with the full range of goods will also be possible:

  • at the grocery stores, i.e. stores where food is sold comprising not less than 70% of the assortment of goods;
  • hygiene goods stores, i.e. stores where hygiene goods are sold comprising not less than 70% of the assortment of goods;
  • as well as book stores.

We remind you that full-scale sales are currently taking place in pharmacies, including veterinary pharmacies, opticians and fuel stations; at other points of sale, the range of goods sold on site is limited in order to reduce crowding and shopping in shops, markets, etc.

The obligations imposed on merchants by the government, as well as additional recommended safety measures, are available on the website of the Ministry of Economics. Merchants are also encouraged to use the prepared informative materials to inform store visitors about the maximum number of people allowed on the premises, the use of masks, social distancing rules, and other relevant information.

Source reference

Ekonomikas ministrija

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