Retailers upset over idea of banning unvaccinated people from large stores

One of the possibilities mulled by the government regarding restrictions after November 15 is to deny unvaccinated people access to large stores. Retailers say that step would be a mistake, Latvian Television reported November 8.

A number of options for life after November 15 are currently under consideration. There are new possible trade restrictions, such as in shops with an area exceeding 1,500 square meters, only Covid-19 certificate holders would be allowed to enter. This includes grocery stores.

“Rimi Latvija” public relations manager Juris Šleiers told Latvian Television: “This would create unnecessary stress for buyers and traders. Mainly, the problems would be in the regions. Limiting large sales areas risks creating queues and crowds in small shops and we do not need this right now."

In Latgale, this would mean that more than half of the population would have been denied access to large food stores. Small stores would be overloaded.

“Maxima Latvija” Communication Head Liene Dupate-Ugule said: “This can create a shortage of goods. There simply isn't so much room on the shelves in stores physically. Neither in the warehouse nor in the fridge. We just can't accumulate so many items to service so many customers.”

It would also be difficult in Rīga. According to Dupate-Ugule, half of Maxima stores in Rīga exceed 1,500 square meters.

“In our stores, around 300 thousand people come in every day, then you can only calculate how much extra time and resources would be needed to check these people, control them,” Dupate-Ugule said.

But Šleiers said: “At the moment, under the existing restrictions, we see queues emerging in some places. We've been forced to close the shops at half-past seven, because cash registers have to be locked before seven.”

The Rimi representative said that people should be let in the major shops since they have better air exchange, more space, and therefore less crowding. But the Maxima spokeswoman said the green and red corridors were operating effectively in the trading centres in the past; that, according to the company's representative, would be an optimal solution.

 

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