No more food sampling or product testing: What to expect when retail outlets reopen in phase 2

In a photo taken on Aug 1, 2019, patrons shop in the Sephora outlet at Bugis+.
In a photo taken on Aug 1, 2019, patrons shop in the Sephora outlet at Bugis+.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Retail establishments, which will be allowed to open physical stores on Friday (June 19), will have to adhere to strict safety measures including occupancy limits, frequent cleaning and disinfection of common areas, and implementation of the Government's visitor check-in system SafeEntry.

Enterprise Singapore (ESG), the Housing Board (HDB), Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) released a joint advisory for retail establishments and lifestyle-related services on Tuesday detailing the guidelines and rules that business will have to follow.

Establishments required to comply with these measures include malls, supermarkets and stand-alone stores such as Ikea and Decathlon.

Occupancy limits and safe management measures

- All malls and large stand-alone stores that have a gross floor area (GFA) larger than 930 sq m must comply with the occupancy limit of one person per 10 sq m of GFA.

- All other stores, including shops within malls, and those at HDB residential blocks, MRT stations, and bus interchanges, are not required to adhere to the same occupancy limits as long as they can maintain at least 1m distancing between individual customers or groups of customers of up to five people.

- Retail establishments are to clearly demarcate queue lines for customers at entrances, cashier counters, weighing counters, fitting rooms and other areas where required. Stores must ensure at least 1m spacing between customers.

- Activities and events in stores or mall atriums are not allowed.

- All common play areas for children, toddlers, and infants in retail stores or malls must be closed.

- All malls, large stand-alone stores, supermarkets, stores providing beauty services, and other large retail stores that have a GFA larger than 930 sq m must implement SafeEntry for customers, to facilitate the collection of information for contact tracing when needed.

- All malls, large stand-alone stores, supermarkets and stores providing beauty services must conduct temperature screening and checks on visible symptoms for customers. Those who have a fever (with a temperature above 38 deg C) and/or appear unwell should be turned away unless they are entering the premises to seek medical treatment for a specified symptom.

 
 
 

- All employees, customers, delivery personnel and other on-site personnel must wear masks at all times.

- Product testers and samples that require customer contact, such as cosmetics and food samples, must be removed.

- Retail establishments must ensure frequent cleaning and disinfection of common spaces such as counters and display shelves, where customers are served. Items such as shopping trolleys, baskets, handrails, and interactive hardware such as iPads, self-checkout kiosks and lift buttons, should also be cleaned regularly.

- Retail establishments should put up clear signs to remind customers of the above measures where applicable, and train and deploy service personnel to provide clear communication to customers on safe distancing measures.

Trade specific measures 

BEAUTY RETAIL 

- All testers and samples that require physical contact must be removed. This includes skincare, make-up, health drinks and health products.

BEAUTY SERVICES

- Customers receiving facial treatments or facial therapies in private rooms are allowed to remove their masks during their treatment, but operators must ensure that the private room is thoroughly disinfected before and after use.

- Face masks should still be kept on in open settings, such as in open-format salons where customers are seated together

- Encourage appointment bookings and implement a queue management and booking system to stagger customer appointments.

- Assign one therapist to follow through all treatments with the same customer, where practicable.

- Refrain from serving food and beverages to customers and remove shared items such as magazines and newspapers. 

- At spas and wellness centres, tools that are used to apply beauty products on customers should not be dipped into the same beauty product containers more than once without sanitisation. Single-use massage oil, creams and beauty products are encouraged to prevent cross-contamination. 

 
 

- At nail salons, employees must remove their aprons before going for breaks or meals. Aprons must be sprayed with disinfectant daily and kept clean.

- Manicure stations at nail salons must have common contact areas, such as hand-rests, covered with a towel or disposable covers. These should be replaced after each customer. Pedicure stations must have foot basins and chairs disinfected and wiped down after each customer. 

BOOKS AND STATIONERY STORES 

- Book launches and readings, meet-the-author sessions, and promotional activities that will result in large congregations are not allowed. 

- Minimise browsing time by encouraging customers to read book summaries online and reduce browsing in-store. 

 
 
 
 

DEPARTMENT STORES

- Maker workshops, in-store product launches, and promotional activities that will result in large congregations are not allowed. 

- Consider establishing separate check-out and collection counters for in-store purchases, redemptions, click-and-collect and home delivery, to minimise queues.

FASHION RETAIL

- Fitting rooms, seats and try-out areas should be spaced at least 1m apart and clearly demarcated.

- Fitting rooms should be disinfected after each use.

- Discourage the testing and trying of products. Products tried on by customers should be sanitised where possible. This can be done via steaming, cleaning, leaving overnight to air, or other reasonable sanitisation methods.

- Implement click-and-collect systems to reduce dwell time or encourage online purchases by having a flexible return policy.

Government agencies will be conducting inspections during phase two to check on the proper implementation of the safe management measures.

 
 

Under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, first-time offenders will face a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment of up to six months, or both.

Subsequent offences may result in a fine of up to $20,000, imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both.

Businesses that do not implement or comply with the Government's safe distancing advisories may be ineligible for government grants, loans, tax rebates and other assistance.