Government office releases formula to help stores stick to COVID-19 rules

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Logo from the government's coronavirus advice to stores. Source: Stenbock House

The government office has issued guidelines to stores in adhering to the latest round of coronavirus restrictions, which include a requirement to limit shopfloor space to 50 percent customer occupancy.

The regulation entered into force Saturday and requires stores to get no fuller than 50 percent of the maximum capacity of customers during more normal times, as well as adhering to the 2+2 rule, mask-wearing and providing disinfectant. 

The government guidelines, which appeared on the office's social media page, say that at least four square meters of space per person to comply with the 2+2 rule, adding that this figure should be divided by 2 in addition, to account for the 50 percent occupancy rule. 

This would mean that for a 100-square-meter store, i.e. a small supermarket-sized outlet, the maximum number of customers permitted would be 13 (ie. 100 / 4 = 25, 25 / 2 = 12.5, rounded-up to 13 – ed.). 

In other words 8 sq m of space would be needed per customer.

The new restrictions also required catering and entertainment outlets to close at 10 p.m., where it had previously been midnight, and with a maximum occupancy of 50 percent of 250 people, whichever was lower. This figure rises to 500 people (but still 50 percent maximum) for outdoor events. 

Exemptions are provided for employees, suppliers, delivery workers, technical workers and the emergency services during the restricted times (10 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next morning). 

Theaters and concert halls without fixed seating must wrap up their performances by 10 p.m., those with fixed seating must stop admitting people at 10 p.m. but the performance itself can last longer. 

The 10 p.m. and 50 percent occupancy rules also applies to rooms rented out for private parties. 

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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