November 26, 2020

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Black Friday splurge: How will stores observe social distancing?

2 min read

While South Africans and countless businesses gear up for the annual Black Friday splurge on 27 November 2020, this year will no doubt play out a little differently. With a pandemic still in our midst, this year’s rush needs to be coupled with COVID-19 safety protocols. 

While this year’s Black Friday binge will be like no other, we have to wonder about the rules and how retailers and businesses will handle the influx of customers. Western Cape Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities David Maynier, in a statement, outlined what safety measures should be taken in order to keep customers and staff safe — also to avoid “super spreader” events. 

OPPORTUNITY FOR BUSINESSES TO RECOVER 

While the “Black Friday” sales traditionally mark the start of the festive spending season, it will also allow businesses to recover from revenue lost during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

“We appeal to retail businesses to please implement the necessary health guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure that their staff and customers are as safe as possible,” said Maynier. 

To support retailers and other businesses, the Department of Economic Development will be meeting with major retailers, and the property management companies for the major shopping centres this week to discuss risk management strategies, as well as the consequences of non-compliance of the COVID-19 safety measures. 

BLACK FRIDAY: RETAIL STORES AND BUSINESSES TO CONSIDER THESE MEASURES 

Maynier said retail stores and other businesses should consider the following measures;

  • Reducing congestion at shops and malls: Run as many promotions online as possible, open for longer hours and consider running specials over a longer period;
  • Managing customers inside stores and malls: Limit the number of people in-store to ensure social distancing and ensure correct wearing of masks and that sanitiser is available;
  • Managing store entry: Maintain strict screening protocols at the store entrance and stagger entry into the store;
  • Managing congestion at pay points: Be vigilant of congestion and take measures to ensure social distancing on Black Friday. Reduce congestion by minimising the use of cash. Ensure that card payment machines are regularly sanitised; and
  • Reducing infection among staff: Ensure that more frequent sanitising of frequently touched items/surfaces takes place, for example at goods receiving, within the stores, at till points and so on. Ensure health measures are maintained in communal staff areas such as canteens and smoke break areas. Ensure staff are informed and have resources to enforce health protocols in the store.

Any COVID-19 safety non-compliance in businesses with regard to Black Friday can be reported here.

“Supporting retail sales during this time is important to our economic recovery in the Western Cape, but both customers and businesses need to anticipate any potential COVID-19 health risks that may occur in order to ensure that we keep safe and move forward,” added Maynier.