COVID-19 – Guidance for Supermarkets and Food Businesses Principles for the Development of Business Operating Processes & Procedures

COVID-19 – Guidance for Supermarkets and Food Businesses Principles for the Development of Business Operating Processes & Procedures

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and is not believed to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging. However, recommended hand hygiene practices must still be observed; food handlers should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and more frequently than normal. Proper respiratory etiquette is also essential (#Catch it, Bin it, Kill it).

Food handlers who are unwell should not be at work; if they have symptoms, they should go home, call 111 and follow advice given. Supervisors should ensure that the Covid-19 Symptom Check List (https://healthygibraltar.org/covid-19-checklist-general/ ) is used by staff on every shift.

General recommendations to effectively reduce risk of transmission of the virus:

  • total capacity of the supermarket/store should be calculated to facilitate optimum physical distancing (divide surface area of store in square meters by 5 = total number of people; this includes customers and staff)
  • displaying appropriate signage to ask customers not to enter the premises if they have symptoms
  • implementing a queue management system to limit crowds gathering at entrances and maintain the 2 metres distance
  • providing facilities for hand sanitising at entry/exit points and throughout the store where possible
  • sanitising of trolley / basket handles between each use for optimum disinfection
  • monitoring the number of customers within the premises and limiting access as needed to avoid congestion
  • reminding people to be mindful to maintain the 2meter distance as far as possible
  • reminding customers to only buy what they need to avoid spending too much time in the premises
  • using a face mask, face covering or face shield if adequate physical distancing is not possible
  • using floor markings inside the premises to aid compliance with maintaining distancing advice of 2 metres, particularly in the most crowded areas, such as serving counters and tills
  • using vertical signage to direct customers into lanes, if feasible, to facilitate movement within the premises while maintaining 2 metre distance
  • placing plexiglass barriers at tills and counters, if viable, as an additional element of protection for workers and customers
  • encouraging the use of contactless payments where possible, without disadvantaging older or vulnerable customers
  • making regular announcements to remind customers to follow Public Health advice on physical distancing and hand/ respiratory etiquette
  • cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, using appropriate disinfectant solutions frequently
  • restocking shelves after the store is closed to avoid added congestion in aisles

Public Health Gibraltar supports measures to allow safe privileged access to supermarkets and food businesses for the elderly and essential workers.