Retailers apprehensive of new weekend shopping rules

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Mobilizing employees, counting shopping carts, cordoning off or removing goods: stores are preparing for the new government-adopted restrictions on weekends and holidays, Latvian Radio reported December 4.

The government decided Tuesday it would only be allowed to purchase food, hygiene products and fuel during the weekends and holidays. The list of goods that won't be sold over the weekend was updated several times. This creates confusion and worry in retailers. Some companies are still wondering whether it is worth working on weekends.

“Now people have to go shopping after work, it creates an unwarranted load for retailers and people, and also stress,” said Latvian Traders Association chair Henriks Danusēvičs.

Danusēvičs believes that the government should make decisions more timely and clearly justify them, as retailers are concerned at the moment whether buyers will understand the restrictions. Small merchants are particularly worried, because people can often become very nervous if they can't buy a particular item, and Danusēvičs even assumed the possibility of protests in shops, overturned shelves and shattered glass.

Meanwhile, the most widespread chain of stores in the regions, Top, is ready for the weekend. Top board member, Ilze Priedīte, said that shop assistants were already instructed and prepared to call the municipal police if needed, as experience has shown that people perceive the epidemiological constraints in different ways.

Priedīte said that a big test was the requirement not to serve customers without face masks, because there were also aggressive buyers and even threats to an assistant.

Top plans to remove goods that will not be sold on weekends from the shelves, and cordon off areas where possible.

Larger chains are also actively preparing for the weekend. Rimi will cover products that will not be sold and play announcements.

Maxima will limit customers' access to goods that will not be purchased, nor will they be able to scan through the system. Currently, Maxima has already introduced 40 security measures in the stores, said spokeswoman Liene Dupate-Ugule.

She acknowledged that there is a little concern because there may be misunderstandings, but Maxima develops guidelines for how to deal with these situations, and also mobilizes security officers.

More people have already been seen in shops, said all representatives. There is concern that people will rush to the stores Friday to stock up for the weekend.

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