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Keeping more distance because of coronavirus: Supermarkets controlling number of customers allowed in

Keeping more distance because of coronavirus : Supermarkets controlling number of customers allowed in

Supermarkets in Bonn are setting up controls at the entrances to limit the number of customers allowed in at any given time. The city has been reviewing the measures taken and so far, it has had no objections.

During the Corona crisis, Bonn's supermarkets and discount food stores are generating more revenues than they have in a long time. Many customers are buying more food and hygiene products for fear of supply shortages. Stores which limit the number of customers in order to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection open themselves up to potential conflict. In many places, however, the restrictions are met with understanding.

“Bitte Abstand halten! (”Please keep your distance.”) - The new warning signs in the aisles of many stores cannot be overlooked. Like many others, Aldi-Süd is restricting entry to its stores as of this week. If a "safe distance of at least 1.5 meters to other customers and employees can no longer be maintained" due to a large volume of customers, then entry must be restricted, according to a company spokeswoman. Aldi-Süd is also appealing to its customers to pay cashless if possible.

Lines form before the store opens

At another supermarket in Bonn, customers have recently been queuing up even before the store opens, according to a store security employee. "It's normal for 35 to 40 customers to be waiting here in the morning to get in," he says. At the checkout areas, there are markings on the floor to indicate where customers should stand, keeping a safe distance from each other in order to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection. But often, these are overlooked.

Some customers and employees have seen these measures lead to disputes. "Disregarding the distance requirement does happen from time to time", reports Andrea Gebranzig from Beuel, who is pleased with the new safety measure. She has already observed some discussions at the checkout line. "Many customers complain when the safe distancing is disregarded," says the 54-year-old.

The security worker can also confirm this. "We've seen all sorts of things here. Not a day goes by here without a dispute," he regrets. Many customers do not understand the purpose of the restriction. "But some are simply impatient and like to complain about the new government directive," he says. Yet the waiting time to enter the store usually takes only five minutes. He prefers to let a smaller number of people in, "as they often look for similar products on the shelves and come close together at the same places.” He has the impression that the hoarding has not decreased. "Staff replenish all supplies at 8 a.m., and by noon many are sold out.”

200 customers maximum allowed in the store at one time

The four Edeka shops owned by the Mohr family in Bonn and the surrounding area are coping well with the new regulations. "Customers are largely abiding by them," says Christopher Mohr. To keep an eye on things, the multiple entrances on Bornheimer Strasse have been reduced to one. "Also, our staff always makes sure that there are not too many customers in the store." About 200 are allowed to be in the store at the same time, which is unproblematic during the week. Since there is more activity on the weekend, security personnel are deployed at the entrance. "Not a single person who was there, was bothered by having to wait in line outside the door. Everyone was understanding.”

Rewe and Penny supermarkets, which both belong to the same company, also regulate customer access where necessary. "This can be done both by limiting entry and by restricting the number of shopping carts or baskets. Information about the current situation is provided by signs or over the loudspeakers in the stores.” Our customers can make an important contribution in protecting the health of everyone by keeping their distance and acting calmly and respectfully.

The city public order department had no objections about the way supermarkets and discount food stores in Bonn were handling the situation. Deputy city spokesman Marc Hoffmann said their job was to follow up and make sure that entry restrictions, physical distancing and hygiene regulations were being adhered to. All shops that are allowed to remain open are being monitored on a regular basis to make sure they are in compliance. Should violations be found, owners would be punished. "So far, this has not been necessary, as the shop owners are acting very reasonably and prudently. Entry controls are in place, protective devices for employees have been installed, and no store has been found to be overcrowded.”

(Orig. text: Nicolas Ottersbach / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)