askST: As retail businesses reopen for Phase 2, shops must stay safe

This is the third of an eight-part series brought to you by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Manpower Ministry and Enterprise Singapore. Learn the Dos and Don'ts of retail businesses operating from June 19.

Covid-19, Phase 2, shopping centres, Safe Management Measures
Shoppers wear masks and keep a distance from others in the mall. PHOTO: ST FILE

Which Safe Management Measures must retail store owners implement?

All retail outlets must put in place Safe Management Measures, which can be found on the Covid GoBusiness ("Safe Management Requirements") and Enterprise Singapore's websites.

Businesses must ensure that all employees, customers, delivery personnel and persons on the premises observe Safe Management Measures at all times, such as wearing masks properly and maintaining a clear physical space of at least 1m from others.

Businesses must also ensure regular and frequent cleaning and disinfection of common spaces such as counters where customers are served; high-contact items including shopping trolleys/baskets and handrails; and interactive hardware such as tablets or self-checkout kiosks.

Products that customers touch frequently, such as clothes, footwear, accessories and optical products, should be cleaned or sterilised frequently, wherever possible. Online retail and click-and-collect services for goods should be encouraged.

Businesses and customers should use self-checkout counters and cashless or contactless payment to minimise contact between individuals. There must also be clear signages to remind customers of Safe Management Measures, and service staff must be trained to clearly communicate them to customers.

Do retailers need permission to organise in-store or mall promotions? What guidelines do they have to follow when organising such activities?

Activities and events in stores or mall atriums must not be held as they increase the risk of Covid-19 transmission. Such activities may be allowed for supermarkets on a case-by-case basis, but approval must be sought from Enterprise Singapore; an extension of existing retail space may be required as part of Safe Management Measures.

Retailers reopening in Phase 2 should avoid activities, such as providing special discounts or offers, that would attract crowds. Those who wish to organise such activities must ensure that there is proper crowd control and Safe Management Measures. Enforcement action will be taken against retailers who fail to do so.

Are testers and samples allowed?

All product testers and samples that involve customer contact or common touch points, like cosmetics and food samples, are not permitted and must be removed. However, individually packed samples, such as travel-sized products and gifts with purchase, may be distributed to customers.

What additional safeguards must retailers who have to cross-deploy staff implement to lower the risk of cross infection?

There should be no cross deployment or interaction between employees in different shifts, teams or worksites, even outside of work.

If cross deployment cannot be avoided due to operational reasons such as the nature of the job - for instance, for IT support personnel, drivers or managerial staff supervising different office or store locations - retailers must take additional safeguards to lower the risk of cross infection.

Such safeguards include reducing the number of premises that workers are cross-deployed to or putting in place systems to minimise direct contact with cross-deployed personnel.

How can malls or large stand-alone stores ensure that shoppers comply with the occupancy limit of one person per 10 sq m of gross floor area?

Malls and large stand-alone stores can consider limiting the number of entrances that are open, and deploying queue management systems or staff to control the number of visitors entering and leaving the premises, to comply with the visitor capacity allowed.

Malls should also have processes in place to identify hotspots, and manage large crowds and long queues within and outside malls. These may include re-directing customers to other outlets, breaking queues into several sections, putting up signs that indicate the length of queuing time and implementing queue management systems.

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