The Western Cape Government issued a circular (H51/2020) to guide various businesses and organisations with regard to measures that they need to put in place to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid 19). The circular is specifically aimed at the transport, retail, petrol stations, banking, the post office and essential services sectors. The Garden Route District Command Council suggests that while the peak period of essential business activities approaches, businesses in the Garden Route should adhere to the guidelines provided to them in the circular.
RETAIL, BANKING AND POST OFFICES
The retail, banking and post office environments are advised to not allow their establishments to be overcrowded. A limited number of people to enter the building should be allowed. Together with this, the method to manage queues outside an establishment to ensure social distancing must also be put in place, for example marker lines that serve as an indication to consumers on where to wait. Furthermore products should be spread out in aisles to prevent people shopping too close to one another. Each staff member should be reminded to avoid touching his/her eyes, nose and mouth, particularly when hands are not clean – regular hand washing is advised. Customers on the other hand should be offered alcohol-based hand sanitisers before entering the establishment – employees should spray the sanitiser to manage the usage thereof. When customers leave a paypoint area the counter top and credit card machine must be wiped before the next customer is assisted. To close off all business activities of the day, each counter and the entire business area should be thoroughly disinfected.
In the fuel franchising sector, staff should encourage customers to remain in their vehicles, unless they have to go to the shop. Attendants have to keep a 1,5 meter distance from the window of the vehicle unless they are offering a card machine to the customer or have to collect money. Before payments are made, attendants are encouraged to offer the customer alcohol-based hand sanitiser to clean their hands. Subsequently machines should be cleaned after the customer has left. All machines, pumps and surrounding equipment have to be cleaned with a disinfectant. Petrol attendants must avoid touching doors, windows and door handles of vehicles.
Drivers or owners in the taxi industry also have a big responsibility to ensure that personnel are aware of proper hygiene practices. Drivers/personnel are encouraged to clean buses and taxi ranks with soap and water to close off business operations of the day.
By doing so, surfaces at the bus depot and taxi ranks should be cleaned each hour while the area is in use. Passengers must keep a minimum social distance of 1,5 meters – markers are also regarded as an effective method to give guidance. When handling doors, no customers should be allowed to touch door handles of minibuses or buses. Drivers have to open doors for customers on their arrival. Doors should furthermore be left open while the vehicle fills to its limit. Again, alcohol-based hand sanitisers have to be offered to customers before they enter the bus or mini-taxi. After receiving money from customers, all drivers have to clean their hands with the sanitiser. Social distancing, even inside the bus/minibus should be practiced; meaning enough space should be allowed between passengers. Windows should be kept open to allow droplets to escape through the windows, when a passenger coughs or sneezes. After each trip, all surfaces touched by passengers have to be cleaned. These include: door handles, window ledges and seats. Furthermore, the inside and outside of the vehicle should be thoroughly cleaned twice per day. This can also be done with an alcohol-based sanitiser.
METERED TAXI AND E-HAILING TRANSPORT
In the metered taxi and e-hailing transport environment (Uber, Bolt, etc.) drivers are encouraged to transport one to three passengers per trip, depending on the size of the vehicle. All doors should be handled by drivers. As in other industries, hand sanitisers should also be offered to passengers and when money is exchanged,
drivers are advised to clean their hands immediately thereafter with alcohol-based hand sanitiser. Credit card machines should be wiped each time before use. Windows should be kept open throughout the trips for dirty air to escape, particularly when passengers cough or sneeze.
After each trip door handles and window ledges have to be cleaned and the inside of the vehicle should be disinfected twice per day.
Some general hygiene practices everyone should remember, include:
- coughing into the elbow, keep hands clean by washing both hands with soap or cleaning it with alcohol-based hand sanitiser is still widely advised;
- keep a minimum of 1,5m social distancing from others and avoid crowded areas or gatherings.
To ensure that we contribute to eliminate the spread of the virus to others, it is the duty and responsibility of everyone to take ownership of their health and to protect the health of others. If we respect all the guidelines of the World Health Organisation and National Institute of Communicable Diseases, obey all the rules and regulations of the South African Government, provincial governments and municipalities then soon we will be able to do business as usual again.
Stay home, stay safe.