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Shoppers brave the new way of navigating aisle

Hundreds of shoppers took advantage of the additional items allowed to be sold at stores over the weekend.

Shoppers on 2 May 2020 queue at a Mr Price store at Canal Walk Shopping Centre in Cape Town. Picture: Jarita Kassen/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - South Africans have been flocking to stores following the implementation of government’s eased regulations on Friday.

Hundreds of shoppers took advantage of the additional items allowed to be sold at stores over the weekend.

From long queues at entrances to people being barred from entering shops for not wearing masks, this was the new normal across SA’s retail stores.

Sandton City, which is known for elaborate shopping experiences, was abuzz with the amended regulations bringing Africa’s richest square mile back to life.

However, not all customers were adhering to the shopping guidelines on only essential items, many took the opportunity to catch up on some retail therapy.

“I just came to buy some winter clothes and check if there are sales since we’ve been indoors for a while now,” said one shopper.

Scores of customers also failed to comply with health measures set up by various stores.

“As soon as they get into the shopping malls they immediately remove the mask, which is quite upsetting because we are not a metre away from each other and they’re also not respecting the essential workers,” said another shopper.

There were fears government’s restrictions could have been permitted too soon as the number of infections continued to rise.

SHOPPERS’ RAISE SAFETY CONCERNS

Meanwhile, even though shop owners were doing their best to keep their stores clean, some shoppers were worried about their safety.

One pregnant Canal Walk shopper said she felt unsafe when shopping.

“I don’t feel safe…I don’t know why I’m here actually. I should be at home,” she said.

Businesses had to think of new ways to make the shopping experience as enjoyable as possible.

A Gatesville shopper said the popular spice shop Osman’s devised a system.

“If you write your stuff down…you don’t need to go inside, they bring it to you. There’s a window where you pay… you don’t need to go inside.”

But for many bigger outlets this was not an option and shoppers simply prepared for the wait ahead.

While there were few queues at clothing outlets, there was usually a long wait to enter most food stores.

For official information about COVID-19 from the Department of Health, please click here.