Only about a third of shoppers are sanitising their hands and trolleys before entering supermarkets, according to a random sample undertaken by the Central Western Daily at our major supermarkets over the last 10 days.
During observational periods of about 20 minutes, the CWDwatched scores of people entering supermarkets without sanitising their hands, basket or trolley despite the stores providing the sanitiser.
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After months of ever-changing rules and restrictions, and with only a few Covid-19 cases recorded in the district since March, could it be that the city has become dulled to the importance of hand and trolley sanitising at supermarkets? Or have we just decided it's a big city problem?
Although Covid-19 is not a food-borne illness, it can survive on surfaces for up to several days given the right temperature and humidity. With people often sizing up their fruit and veg by sight and feel, the risks can increase.
Federal government agency Safe Work Australia has directed supermarkets to request that customers "only touch items they are interested in purchasing". Consumer advice organisation Choice went a step further: "Only touch the products you intend to buy."
Although it is anecdotal evidence and not a scientifically weighted study, it appears that well over half of shoppers are either sanitising before they walk into the supermarket, or not at all.
Some supermarkets are known to temperature-check their staff before they begin a shift, and it's not unusual now to see checkout workers and shelf stackers in masks. However, despite a request by supermarkets for shoppers to consider wearing masks, few do.
SWA stated that "when entering the shopping centre or market, customers should be given antibacterial wipes and/or hand sanitiser for personal use, and antibacterial wipes for use on their trolley and/or basket" and that "trolleys and hand baskets are wiped clean with surface wipes after each use".
However unless the store places a marshal on the entrance to ensure everyone complies, there is no way of forcing customers to do the right thing.
Few shops now have marshals.
During the pandemic shoppers have also turned up to find a supermarket yet to replace empty disinfectant wipe rolls or packets.
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