Soon Lee Megamart has paved the way for a more organised form of grocery shopping, in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, by limiting its premises to 30 customers at any given time.
Soon Lee Holdings Executive Manager Eddy Ong told the Sunday Bulletin that one of the reasons behind the initiative is to curb overcrowding at its department stores due to panic buying, which began a few days ago.
He said, “Having such a packed crowd poses risk of spreading the coronavirus. Hence, we decided that our stores should be limited to 30 customers at one time, in accordance with the advice given by the Ministry of Health (MoH).”
Ong said such a high concentration of shoppers at any given time also poses danger to the staff.
“When the place is overcrowded, it will be a big problem for our staff. They are important to us, and it is us, as the management, who bear the responsibility of ensuring that our employees are well taken care of, particularly during this deadly outbreak. They work shifts and go home to be with their family, especially our local staff. So their health is our concern and we must protect them,” he said.
The Sunday Bulletin visited Soon Lee’s branches in Batu Bersurat and Lambak yesterday and got to witness firsthand the new system in place. Customers were seen waiting patiently in queue for their turn to enter the store. Once a customer has exited the premises, the first customer in line will enter.
Employees were also on hand to ensure queueing customers stand a safe distance apart.
One shopper applauded the system of crowd control, which makes them feel safe during grocery shopping as it is in line with the call for social distancing by the MoH.
Another customer added, “This is definitely a good move by Soon Lee as it not only supports the government’s efforts to contain the outbreak, it also tackles the problem of panic buying. I fully support this move as I feel at ease when getting my household supply.”
Meanwhile, a shopper suggested that the establishment could go one step further by providing customers with face mask and disposable gloves, especially those who have not been able to secure these items.
Besides the crowd control initiative, Soon Lee Megamart has also set up a temperature check for customers before they are allowed into the premises.
Ong said, “Customers found to have high temperature (37.5 degrees Celsius and above) are politely asked to stand aside for a bit before their temperature is checked again. If it has gone back to normal, they are allowed into the store.”
“So far,” he said, “all of our customers have been cooperative and supportive of our efforts, which we really appreciate.”