Supermarkets prepare for coronavirus challenge

1 min read

After shoppers dashed to Cyprus supermarkets to stockpile on personal hygiene products and non-perishable food items, traffic has returned to normal, but shopkeepers are on their toes to face further challenges.

The government not ruling out a curfew has supermarkets concerned, but they feel ready to cope with any sudden spike in demand.

Already proving to be able to handle twice the traffic they would normally see since the first coronavirus cases appeared on 9 March, supermarkets say that they are fully stocked and prepared.

“After seeing a significant increase in shoppers coming through our doors for a few days, things have returned to normal,” said general director of the Cyprus Supermarket Association, Andreas Hadjiadamou.

He told the Financial Mirror, even in the event of a curfew, supermarkets would have to remain open and people would be able to shop one way or another.

Hadjiadamou called on the public to stay calm, reassuring them there is no risk of shortages at supermarkets, arguing that outlets are well stocked, and consumers should not be worried that items will run out.

The only shortages of products at supermarkets are personal hygiene items such as hand sanitizers and antiseptic.

“These products usually disappear from the shelves quite fast, causing but a temporary shortage. Supermarkets are quick in finding alternative suppliers.”

“Supermarkets are well stocked with toilet paper,” he said, noting that rationing the sale of any item is not on the table as is the case in many EU countries.

Hadjiadamou said businesses were already prepared long before the outbreak last week and despite people already stockpiling on certain products, the situation was “completely manageable”.

Commenting on claims that some supermarkets might be profiteering, Hadjiadamou said that the association’s members are serious businesses and would not play around with people at such a vulnerable time.

“Furthermore, our members are instructed to report any profiteering attempt made from any of their suppliers. We will not hesitate to name and shame these cases.”

Asked about whether supermarkets are contemplating introducing delivery services, he said some smaller supermarkets are already doing so.

“The issue of delivery is being discussed among our members and we could see a number of supermarkets introducing a delivery service especially for as long as this crisis continues”.

Hadjiadamou said supermarkets follow instructions of the health services placing dispensable hand sanitisers in aisles and at cashier stations.

He noted that supermarkets are abiding by the Health Ministry’s decrees and are not allowing more customers than the number of people allowed permitted per square metre.

According to government decree, a supermarket can only allow one customer per 8 square metres.

He said the majority supermarkets offer disposable gloves to customers and are frequently sanitizing trolleys.