The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) has called on the retailers, supermarkets and wholesalers to ban the use of self-service by customers for fruits and vegetables, as a measure to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an interview, CZR president Mr Denford Mutashu said this was a recommendation that came after a meeting on Thursday last week with Vice-President General (Retired) Dr Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care.
“For fruits and vegetables retailers, supermarkets and wholesalers should ban self-service. We need to ensure that there is a lot of safety measures within the stores. The banning of self-service on fruits and vegetables is meant to avoid a situation where a customer touches a fruit such as an apple, then goes on to touch another, then leave it.
“The next customer comes through and does the same thing, under such a scenario there is a high risk of spreading the pandemic. We have actually agreed that retailers, supermarkets and wholesalers are going to ban self-service for fruits and vegetables and come up with better alternatives,” said Mr Mutashu.
He said they agreed on a number of things and there were recommendations made on how retailers should also support the initiatives that Government is putting in place to curtail the rise of Covid-19 cases.
Mr Mutashu also said it was recommended that each and every store should have internal communication through their instore radio or even posters where they will be constantly communicating with their customers on the dangers of Covid-19, the impact that it has had, the safety precautions that they can take as customers and also employees as well.
He added: “It is important for both public and private institutions to implement Covid-19 prevention measures such as ensuring that each and every customer wears a face mask properly when they enter the supermarket and even when they do their shopping. We should also mandatorily see temperature scanners at each and every store that is open and operating during the lockdown.”
Mr Mutashu also noted that the practising of social distancing was also key and at the meeting they also heard that there were some who had improvised social distancing for most of the big supermarkets where they encourage shopping using trolleys.
He said as one is actually pushing or pulling a trolley distance between that person and the next customer is probably a metre or plus which is highly recommended.
Mr Mutashu also said it was important for retailers, supermarkets and wholesalers to take the Covid-19 regulations internally.
“We are urging retailers, supermarkets and wholesalers to be vigilant and ensure that they take their employees for Covid-19 tests and also ensuring that they practise highest levels of hygiene. We also encourage them to ensure that when employees report for duty they exercise social distancing with their colleagues within the establishment,” he said.
He also said they should also get disinfection certificates so that periodically and constantly they disinfect their working environment.
The new lockdown measures were gazetted through Statutory Instrument 10 of 2021, Public Health (Covid-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) (No. 2) (Amendment) Order, 2021 (No. 9).
Under the measures, most commercial and informal sectors will be closed except hospitals, supermarkets, pharmacies among other essential service providers.