The health authority’s recommendations include trying to spread out shopping times to avoid congestion; regular hand washing; and avoiding public transportation wherever possible.
People in risk groups for serious illness should they be infected with the coronavirus are asked to consider letting others do Christmas shopping on their behalf.
The aim of the recommendations are to help ensure “both customers and retail staff can complete Christmas shopping in a way that protects measures against the virus,” NIPH writes.
In general, given national recommendations to stay at home more and avoid meeting too many other people, it is a good idea to avoid being in stores at the same time as many other people, the health authority says.
“It’s good to think of alternative times and ways to shop. The aim is to reduce the number of contacts, to reduce the chance of spreading the virus,” NIPH consultant doctor Tone Bruun said via the health authority’s website.
The specific advice issued by NIPH for Christmas shopping is as follows:
- Stay at home if you feel unwell
- Try to shop at times when there will be fewer customers in stores
- Keep a distance of at least 1 metre from other customers and staff
- Wash your hands or use disinfectant regularly
- Avoid public transportation wherever possible
- Postpone shopping until later if you can see shops are congested
- Consider shopping online or asking others to shop on your behalf, particularly if you are in a risk group for Covid-19
- Do not wait until the last few days before Christmas to do your shopping if you have the chance to do it earlier
The retail sector has also been issued with advice by NIPH. That includes ensuring customers can keep a distance from each other, including in queues, and not letting too many people into stores. It must be possible for customers to keep a distance of one meter at all times.
Shopping malls have been asked to develop strategies for the entire premises, including common areas.
Stores are also asked to consider other measures such as extended opening hours and increased provisions for home delivery.
It should be noted that municipalities can introduce stricter regulations locally than the general recommendations given by NIPH for Christmas shopping. If in doubt check with the local authority in your area.
National regulations relating to shopping are also subject to change. These can affect, for example, face mask requirements, opening times and recommended social distances.