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Guidelines for shops, shopping centres and food service institutions

How do we prevent the spread of COVID-19 in shops?

  • Avoid meeting in shopping centres.
  • If possible record a message and play it over your public announcement systems telling people to keep a distance of at least 2 metres from each other, including in queues for the tills, and to touch things as little as possible in shops.
  • Clean self-service points and tills, and shopping trolleys and baskets, weighing scales and so on more frequently than you normally would. Clean self-service points and tills with touch-screens every time they are used if possible.
  • If you can offer online shopping, encourage people to use it.
  • Organise your tills so that your clients can keep at least 2 metres apart from each other and from the client service staff.

How do prevent the spread of the coronavirus in shopping centres, stores, and catering establishments?

In stores and catering establishments it is recommended to:

  • avoid physical contact when handing over receipts and cash;
  • sell ready-made foods (e.g. pastries, sausages, candy, cookies, nuts or salad) only pre-packaged and, if possible, also pre-package the loose ready-made food sold at self-service deli counters. Ready-made food must be packaged in a separate room or 2 metres away from where customers are moving around. Single use packaging (e.g. coffee cups) cannot be freely available to customers;
  • follow the regular food-handling rules and ensure that all employees that handle the food have passed the training on food-handling;
  • not organize product presentations, including food tastings;
  • clean and disinfect more often than usual all the surfaces that are frequently touched and come into contact with food;
  • ensure that all persons who are providing services on site (e.g. people who are installing or repairing equipment) have the possibility to wash and disinfect their hands;
  • clean and air the premises according to the regular schedule. The use of cleaning products and the cleaning schedule have to be based on the user instructions of the cleaning product;
  • store the waste (including personal protective equipment) that might be contaminated with the virus separately from other waste and keep it in a closed bag. In 72 hours it can be thrown in the municipal waste container.

See the instructions.

As of April 4, the maximum permitted number of clients in pharmacies, post-offices, service premises, etc. must be limited in order to ensure the compliance with the 2-by-2 rule. Will the businesses need to limit the number of people entering?

Yes, businesses, pharmacists, postal officials, etc. must ensure that there are only so many people at the same time in the store, pharmacy, post office or other service premises (e.g. in the bank, the telecommunication company office) that would allow for at least 2-metre distance between clients, and no more than 2 people are allowed to be together – better if people were alone. Calculations need to be made on how many people can be allowed on premises at any one time, if necessary, limiting the access, so not too many people would enter at the same time in the store, pharmacy, post office or service hall. Therefore, the access must be monitored at the entrance.

It is equally important that there will be no crowds gathering at the entrances of shopping or service premises. If there is a queue, people would need to keep at least 2-metre distance. Failure to comply may lead to a fine of EUR 2000. All businesses, pharmacists, postal officials, etc. must also ensure the availability of disinfectants in the stores, pharmacies, post offices and service premises (banks, telecommunications offices). The businesses must make the disinfectant available where they are most needed. Clients must be clearly informed about the location of the disinfectants. If there is no such information, the clients may not enter the store, pharmacy, post office, etc. These requirements are valid until the person in charge of the emergency situation amends the order, the necessity of the order will be evaluated at the latest every two weeks.

How can service providers protect their employees and customers?

Employees must follow the usual measures for the prevention of respiratory infections:

  • When sneezing or coughing cover the mouth and nose with a tissue or sneeze/ cough into your sleeve. The tissue should be thrown into a bin.

  • Clean hands with soap and water or a hand-sanitizer containing alcohol (especially after sneezing or coughing). In businesses, disinfectants must be available for both customers and employees.

  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Disease can spread through unwashed hands.

How can I protect my employees from the infection?

  • Monitor the health of your staff. Send home any staff who have the symptoms listed above and give them instructions to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Any member of staff who has come into contact with an infected person must monitor their own health, and if symptoms appear, they should remain at home for 14 days and follow the self-isolation guidelines.
  • Keep a minimum of two-metre distance from all customers.
  • Arrange for your staff a possibility to wash their hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, at least once every two hours.
  • If it is not possible to wash hands, they should disinfect their hands with antiseptic handwash with a minimum 70% ethanol content, if possible. Hands that are visibly dirty must certainly be washed.
  • Recommend that staff who come into contact with customers to wear rubber gloves as well as textile gloves. Hands should be disinfected before gloves are put on and after they are taken off. When taking gloves off, pinch the material of the other glove from the section of the glove between the palm and the wrist; pull the glove off so that it turns inside out, with the contaminated side inside. Please note that single-use gloves should not be washed or disinfected and should be removed on leaving the cash register and disposed into a bag which can be closed.
  • When using masks, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maximum usage time.
  • Work garments, including textile gloves, should be washed after every shift, at the highest temperature allowed for the material. Work shoes should also be cleaned after every shift.
  • Minimise contact with the customers for these members of the staff who belong to risk groups, particularly older employees or those with chronic illnesses or immune-compromised persons.
  • If possible, arrange to work in one shift, or organise the handing over of the shift so that the employees of different shifts would not mingle.
  • Guidelines and instructions:

A person with symptoms of illness just walked in. Can a company in the service sector even implement restrictions? Can workers refuse to serve this person? What to do if they refuse to leave?

Companies are obligated to see to it that neither employees nor clients have symptoms of illness. If a person refuses to leave, call security or the police.

When should I wash my hands?

You should wash your hands:

  • before starting work;
  • before handling hot or cooked food;
  • after handling or cooking hot food;
  • after handling waste;
  • after cleaning up;
  • after using the toilet;
  • after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing;
  • after eating, drinking or smoking;
  • after handling cash.


Last updated: 1 May 2020