20.03.2020
Ministry of Economics

Merchants must ensure additional precautions in stores to limit spread of Covid-19

 

Upon assignment by the Cabinet of Ministers, Sandis Ģirģens, Minister of the Interior and Acting Minister of Economics, has issued an order for merchants throughout Latvia to ensure additional precautions at retail sites:

Merchants, including shopping centres, markets and street sales sites, must place clearly legible signs in plain sight (at least by the cash register or at the entrance to the sales site) urging patrons to be socially responsible and maintain a two meter distance to other patrons in the check-out queue.

Merchants whose retail premises exceed 100 m2, shall ensure a two meter gap between patrons in the check-out queue with markings.

Shopping centres shall regularly, once every 15 minutes, play an announcement in Latvian urging patrons to not spend more time than necessary on the premises and to comply with the indications regarding minimum distance to others. Merchants are free to play the announcement in other languages as well.

Other measures shall also be implemented as possible to restrict the flow of people at retail sites to promote compliance with Ministry of Health recommendations for limiting the spread of Covid-19, as well as following the recommendations published on the website of the Ministry of Economics.
 

“It is crucial to implement precautionary principles so that we can avoid as much as possible the further spread of the virus and prevent overloading the state security and health services. I highly appreciate the risks that our emergency services face every day, therefore I urge all the people of Latvia to be respectful and conscientiously comply with all distancing instructions,” emphasises Sandis Ģirģens, Minister of the Interior and Acting Minister of Economics.

In order to support merchants in the implementation of the new requirements, a ready-made announcement audio file has been published on the website of the Ministry of Economics; merchants are welcome to download it and use it. We would like to thank SIA “Baltic Voice Over Agency” and Gundega Zvēra personally for their input in preparing the announcement audio file.

Recommendations for retailers and customers to help smaller retailers implement additional precautions are also available on the website of the Ministry of Economics.

As previously reported, on 14 March the Cabinet of Ministers tasked the Ministry of Economics with drafting proposals in collaboration with merchants for measures to ensure social distancing at retail sites in order to limit the spread of Covid-19. In order to collect the opinions and possibilities of merchants, as well as to decide on measures to be implemented to provide for social distancing at retail sites, on 16 March the Ministry of Economics held a meeting together with representatives of retail and business organisations, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Health. During the meeting, representatives of the major retail chains reported on the measures already implemented to ensure distancing – information notices and floor markings placed at stores, disinfectant solution made available to patrons, additional disinfection measures on store premises, shopping baskets and carts. Retailer representatives stated that the number of customers has already decreased, thus they are looking at the possibility to shorten working hours of some stores, therefore people are urged to pay attention to the information at the stores. Furthermore, they reported that additional capacity will be allocated to online sales, and that they are closely following price changes of goods, however, prices of some goods are being changed by suppliers, which, in turn, affects prices in stores.

 

Ministry of Economics

Public Relations Department 

prese@em.gov.lv

 

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