Experts who are part of the supermarket sector in São Paulo indicate the best practices to guarantee the safety of consumers and associates
The changes promoted in store sanitizing due to the pandemic, and the new technologies available for supermarkets were the themes discussed in the APAS Webinar, in June 9. The online event gathered Roberto Longo, Vice-President of Sonda Supermercados, Cristiane Takagui, of Supermercado Saúde, and Vera Borrasca, infection control and risk management expert and Alexandre Momesso, partner at Consultoria Sanity, as moderator.
One of the most sold products since March, in the beginning of the pandemic, is the hand sanitizer, and for that reason, many brands started to manufacture this product and making it available on supermarket shelves. According to Vera Borrasca, the consumer needs to be aware to the fact that the product’s quality can only be recognized when it touches the skin. “It is important to give preference to products from reputable companies, which are reference in the category”, said the expert during the APAS Webinar.
As many new brand are offering hand sanitizer, we noticed some cases of people mixing moisturizers to the product to reduce skin dryness. However, the infectious diseases expert stresses that people should not modify products. “All products have their chemical composition made to reach specific objectives, thus, we do not know the results of modifying the product. If it is causing too much skin dryness, it is best to change the product”, she explained.
Mask and temperature
With an eye in avoiding the spread of the Coronavirus in points of sale, the approach towards the customer should be clearer, especially regarding the mandatory use of masks. “The legislation requires the consumer and all associates to use masks to enter the store, but if the customer is not wearing one, the recommendation is to try to convince him or her by explaining the benefits. In case a customer tries to force his or her way into the store, the police should be contacted”, warned Roberto Longo, Vice-President of Sonda Supermercados.
In relation to measuring body temperature in store entrances, Mr. Longo explained that the customer has the right to refuse it, since there is no legislation establishing that customers must allow measuring their body temperature. “Measuring the temperature is legal; however, it works only to guide the customer that he or she may be sick, we are not able to stop the customer from entering the store”, he stated.
To Vera Borrasca, measuring body temperature of associates makes more sense as they are in the store for longer periods. “It is important to understand that the customer body temperature may vary according to the environment in which they were at before arriving to the supermarket”, the infectious diseases control and risk management expert indicated.
With the technology evolving from more modern mechanisms, many supermarket chains are investing in new equipment that, apparently, brings more safety for those attending the point of sale. Devices that apply UV rays on products, for instance, should be seek after the operation becomes fully aware of the four actions to ensure the hygiene and safety of everyone: washing hands, using masks, distancing and cleaning touching surfaces.
“These are the prevention actions that everyone must do and, after making sure they are being applied, we can start thinking about using other technologies that will have Marketing impact, bringing a greater sense of comfort to the population”, Mrs. Borrasca stressed.
According to Roberto Longo, implementing the plexiglass shield on checkouts are mandatory in some city in the state of São Paulo and, to Vera Borrasca, this is one of the greatest measures adopted in order to avoid contamination between people. Just like the checkout shields, face shields work in the same way, but its use should be associated to the use of mask in order to improve efficiency.
Another aspect approached by Roberto Longo was sanitizing and controlling of cars coming in and out the parking lot, since in most stores it is necessary to push a button to lift up the gate. “APAS guidance is to remove this button to avoid creating a contamination spot.”