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The Shoprite Group is committed to adhere to the strict measures put in place by the South African government following President Cyril Rhamaphosa’s announcement of a National state of Disaster, and are following any directives to stay abreast of information and required actions to be taken in relation to the effect of Covid-19 on its employees, operations and customers.
It is tracking the guidelines and advisory updates of the World Health Organisation, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) and it is also participating in discussions with the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, which facilitates guidance to the retail and wholesale industry on shared challenges, to navigate and mitigate any issues that may arise.
A special Shoprite Group executive level task committee, under the leadership of CEO Pieter Engelbrecht, convenes every 24 hours to report on progress made in the various departments of the business with action plans and new procedures deployed as required by the developing crisis.
These action plans range from special arrangements for conducting meetings and receiving visitors at its offices and information campaigns to employees at store and office level, to buying strategies to ensure adequate quantities on products currently in high demand as a result of the escalating number of people testing positive for Covid-19.
The well-being of Shoprite employees and customers is the focus point of all the new procedures and refreshed existing practices being put in place and communicated on an almost daily basis to enable all to avoid the spread of the virus and to be aware of symptoms.
Coupled with that are regular messages on hygiene and cleanliness to both employees and customers in-store. These are not only about how to keep themselves safe, but also to provide customers comfort that it is safe to visit our stores, to the extent that any person moving in public between other people, currently can be.
All Group personnel also have access to a 24 hour Helpline which is offering guidance and information on health and wellbeing matters, including trauma to employees and their immediate families
Travel guidelines and related precautionary measures have been put in place and communicated to employees who need to travel, as well as business associates who are travelling to meet with the company.
The development of the scale of the novel coronavirus in the country will inform the need to further adapt the Group’s operational decisions and protocols from day to day as required - including special or sick leave, as directed by an employee’s GP, or working from home arrangements as and when needed.
The importance of strict hygiene and hand-washing procedures, as well as the Clean-as-you-go principle (where surfaces are ongoingly cleaned and disinfected whilst working) have been reinforced with all store personnel.
Spray bottles with disinfectant have been deployed at all till points and are used by cashiers and packers to sanitise the entire till surface, including pin pads as well as their own hands. Customers can also make use of these spray bottles apart from the wipes provisioned at each store entrance for use on hands and trolley and basket handles.
Bakery products and salad bowls previously openly displayed, are now bagged or tubbed before put on display.
Where needed, contingency plans are being put in place to ensure the availability of stock from suppliers and the timeous replenishment of our stores as volume sales are now spiking on certain products.
*Updated: 17 March 2020