Utility bill payments through supermarket counters will be  suspended and customer operated devices such as touch screens at  cashier counters removed, under the Operational Guidelines on Preparedness and Response for COVID-19 Outbreak for Workplace Settings issued by the Health Ministry.

The new measures will also give customers the option of choosing between  a paper invoice or having the invoice sent electronically to their mobile phones as 18 districts in the country reopens tomorrow after a month-long curfew.

All supermarkets are required to provide hand washing facilities at the entrance preferably with a foot or elbow operated tap and ensure that each customer washes hands before entering . Customers without masks are not to be allowed in.

Before opening the supermarket, the place has to be cleaned and the floor , counter tops, and all common contact surfaces disinfected and entrance and exit doors kept open  if no dedicated person is assigned  for the purpose.

Supermarkets are required to take only a designated number of customers inside in order to maintain the one-meter distance between two persons including in the queue while staff are advised  not to wear nonessential accessories/ornaments (such as wristwatch, bracelets etc.) during working hours.

The handles of the carts and baskets should be disinfected after each use and  operating of weighing machines should only be done by the dedicated staff members. Cashiers are advised to sanitize hands after interacting with each customer.

Supermarkets also advised to avoid selling unpacked common retail items (Rice dhal etc.) and to arrange separate small stalls outside the main market for commonly sold items such as rice, coconut, potatoes onions etc. This measure could reduce the overcrowding inside the main hall.