Supermarket chains Mercadona and Carrefour began enforcing controls on customer numbers on Monday morning to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Both companies announced that limits would be enforced on those entering their stores in order to ensure that safe distances (at least one metre) between customers and workers were respected.
Privately-hired security guards will oversee and control a queue outside the establishments in which customers must wait one metre apart while they wait their turn to enter.
In the specific case of Mercadona, the one-metre limits will be marked on the floor in the queues for the fish counter and the check-outs.
From now on, all Mercadona stores will open from 9am to 8pm, although this could vary depending on demand.
Mercadona bosses are asking customers to come throughout the day and not to arrive first thing in the morning as the shops will remain stocked with basic and essential products. For food safety reasons they add that under no circumstances will product returns be allowed.
Among other recommendations, the chain advises users that only one person should go at a time (not with children or in groups), that no one in a high-risk group should go at all and that purchases should be made quickly. They also ask customers not to hoard goods to ensure that those most in need don't have to go without.
Card payment is preferred and the use of gloves when handling fresh products is mandatory.