Shopping at Australian retail outlets has never looked so different.
Australians heading out for some retail therapy need to check the list:
- Use the hand sanitiser
- Adhere to the social distancing signs
- And if you’re hot? You’re not getting in.
The safety precautions have been welcomed by many Australians striving for normalcy, but some people aren’t listening.
“When me and my housemate went to Uniqlo we were required to use hand sanitiser and our temperature was checked by a staff member as we entered the store,” a Melbourne woman told The New Daily.
“It was a strange experience, but I also felt reassured knowing they had these precautions in place.”
There were signs up and regular messages across the loudspeaker to keep distant, but customers were ignoring the warnings, she said.
“Despite this, once we were in the store, no one was practising social distancing or standing 1.5 metres apart, particularly in the lines for the change rooms or the checkouts.”
Another woman who works at an outdoor living chain said she had only seen two customers adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“I would say we would have 50-plus customers at certain times in the store, because families of seven are walking in all together,” said the 21-year-old, who is also immunocompromised.
She said although staff members had put signs up and tried to remind customers, most people just acted normally.
“I’ve had like two customers social distancing. One lady told off her husband for getting too close and another guy wanted to use a different pen to me,” she said.
“Everyone is getting really close. People are picking up things. If I am lifting something they’ll come and help, but that means our hands touch.
“It makes me annoyed more than anything. Because it’s just like these people are clearly breaking social distancing rules.”
To stop crowding, stores like Specsavers are now limiting the number of people who can enter a store at once time.
“We are taking our responsibility seriously, including limiting the number of people who can come into each store, dependent on its size,” said Dr Benjamin Ashby, director of optometry for Specsavers.
“This may mean that some customers who are early for their appointment, or who arrive when the store is busier, may be asked to wait outside until someone else leaves or come back at their booked appointment time.”
But just because you’ve had your temperature checked doesn’t mean you’re not carrying COVID-19, Australian National University infectious disease physician and microbiologist professor Peter Collignon said.
“Half of the people with COVID-19 don’t have a raised temperature,” Dr Collignon said.
“If we want to stop it spreading we need to stop the droplets spreading and that means keeping your physical distance.
“We all need to become more polite, don’t rush and just keep your distance.”
Paul Zahra, CEO of the Australian Retailers Association, said shoppers and stores needed to work together.
“Front-line retail staff have put in a heroic effort to serve Australians during these tough times, navigating a new world of health and safety concerns and quickly adapting to a new way of doing business,” Mr Zahra said.
“We urge shoppers to be patient, and be respectful to staff who have worked so hard to get their stores ready.
“We need them to continue to abide by the government’s health advice.
“We urge everybody – retailers, shopping centres and customers – to work together on this because everyone has a part to play.”