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January 14, 2021

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Supermarkets, malls take precautions against COVID-19

SHANGHAI’S supermarkets, catering businesses, malls and office buildings are taking stricter measures to prevent gatherings and the spread of coronavirus.

At the Cloud Nine Shopping Mall in Changning District, everyone must have their temperature checked by infrared thermometers before entry and staff have been told to wear masks, said Li Jiajun, the mall’s executive director.

Customers arriving by car will also have their temperatures checked by security staff. “If the car’s license plate indicates north China, where some areas have recently become COVID-19 hotspots, the driver will be required to leave visitors’ names, license plate number and entry time for emergency tracking,” Li said.

“In previous months when the pandemic was better controlled in China, some people without masks were allowed to come in,” Li said. “But recently measures to curb COVID-19’s spread have been strengthened.”

Reminders about wearing masks are broadcast regularly, but some visitors were seen taking off masks in the shopping mall, especially after finishing their meals, Li said. 

Some companies, such as Spanish retailer Zara and supermarket chain Carrefour have put in their own measures such as checking health QR codes and taking temperatures.

A notice about wearing masks was seen at the Global Harbor shopping mall in Putuo District yesterday, next to a board with the information on China’s latest high- and middle-risk zones.

A staff member, surnamed Ma, who is in charge of checking health QR codes at the entrance of the mall, said the notice about the zones is updated once a week.

Measures in some wet markets have also been tightened. A market in Bansongyuan Road Subdistrict in Huangpu District has an infrared body thermometer at the entrance and two staff members ask visitors to wear masks before letting them in.

“Yesterday a senior citizen argued with us and refused to wear a mask,” a staff member surnamed Zhang said. “But the majority of consumers understand the stricter measures.”

Several kilometers away, a vegetable market has posted a notice about prevention measures on the wall. But the staff weren’t checking on visitors and some customers were seen shopping without masks yesterday.

Restaurants have also enhanced coronavirus prevention and control efforts.

At the Sunya Cantonese Restaurant on Nanjing Road Pedestrian Mall, every diner is required to have their temperature checked and must present their health QR code before entry. They also need to register their name and contact details.

Online payment backed

“We ask them to keep a 1-meter distance while waiting, and we have increased the frequency of disinfection. Even the menus are disinfected,” said Zhu Hong, Sunya’s deputy executive chef. “We also remind diners to finish meals in two hours.”

“Diners are suggested to make payment online and avoid using cash to prevent contact,” said Zhu.

Diners were seen waiting patiently and cooperating with the upgraded measures.

“It is quite understandable because it is for our safety,” said Xu Li. “I have taught my parents how to make payment online to avoid contact.”

Zhu added: “Cold-chain foods are disinfected and staff handling cold-storage meat should wear protective clothing and glasses during food operation.”  

Xing Hua Lou in Huangpu District, which dates back to 1851, is asking customers to maintain a distance when buying prepared food.

They also need to have their temperatures checked and present their health QR codes before entry. Thorough disinfection is conducted throughout the restaurant every hour.

Alibaba’s online and offline grocery chain Freshippo is insisting on nucleic acid tests for all imported fresh food products since April last year. Since August, consumers have been able to track the test reports as well as the import dates, vehicles used and place of origin. 

Gloves and disinfectants are also available at frozen food counters.

Walmart said it has been testing and disinfecting all its imported frozen food. Cashiers, cleaning staff and those handling fresh food are required to wear plastic gloves.

Regular cleaning and disinfection is carried out on shopping carts, elevators, toilets and self-service check-out facilities.

At Suning’s department stores and home appliances outlets, shoppers also have to show their health codes and have their temperatures taken.

HKRI Taikoo Hui, a commercial complex in Jing’an District, has tightened its anti-epidemic measures at its two Grade A office buildings.

Office tenants in the two buildings have to make reservations in advance for visitors who are also asked to fill out a form with their names, gender, phone numbers, the name and address of the company they plan to visit, date of arrival, and whether they traveled outside Shanghai.


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