Why sneeze guards, routine cleaning will stay post pandemic
PREVENTIVE health measures introduced at regional shops to deal with COVID-19 are destined to become part of the social fabric of life.
Peter Chounding of Laidley and Hatton Vale IGA said he expected the sneeze guards at check-outs would become a permanent feature, and the stores had just invested in automatic hand sanitisers at store entrances, at a cost of $2000 each.
"I don't think any of that stuff will go away," he said.
Increased cleaning measures have also been introduced, which include hourly cleaning of commonly used touch points on trolleys, handrails and freezer doors.
"It's been a big cost in extra wages - we're just lucky we haven't seen any illness," Mr Chounding said.
Supa IGA Gatton manager Jason Rayner introduced similar physical barriers and said he expects they will remain for the foreseeable future and may become permanent.
He said he thought their extra cleaning measures would become "standard practice".
Mr Rayner said customers had responded positively to the health measures and most were diligent in maintaining them.
He said staff had also responded well after initial concerns were overcome.
"I think they were a bit anxious at the start with how we were going to handle it," he said. "They're dealing with it and pretty comfortable with the way it's going."
The stores reported that the frantic buying - particularly of toilet paper and cleaning goods at the beginning of the virus threat - had settled down, although some brands continued to suffer reduced stocks.
"For a few weeks it was bedlam but it's calmed down" Mr Chounding said.
But the supply of orders put in by the store continues to fall short with some brands not being available for an array of reasons.
"We have the items people want, but still don't have the variety," Mr Chounding said.
He said the business was trading about 50 per cent above normal, which he attributed to people eating at home and not being as able to visit restaurants and cafes.
Articles contributed today by Margie Macoll were supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.