Shoppers who go to purchase items from Melcom, Ghana’s largest chain of retail department stores, are now required to wear facemasks or they will be denied entry.

Besides, customers must also strictly observe physical distancing, wash their hands with soap under running water, rub their hands with sanitizers and have their temperature taken before they will gain access.

These strict measures are aimed at protecting the health and safety of both customers and staff at the 45 outlets of the supermarkets across the country.

Strict instructions

Speaking in an interview with Graphic Online on measures Melcom had adopted to the stop the spread of COVID-19 among its customers and staff, the Joint Group Managing Director, Mr Mahesh Melwani said “We have given instructions to, and we keep reminding all our shop managers to strictly enforce these containment measures and those who do not wear facemasks will be refused entry.

“We now appreciate that since we started enforcing the wearing of facemask from the beginning of the outbreak in Ghana, 99 per cent of customers come having one. People now understand that wearing mask is not only for their safety but the safety of all of us,” he stated.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in his eighth COVID-19 address, commended Melcom, and two other retail shops for showing leadership in enforcing all social distancing and other containment protocols and urged the general public emulate them.

Other containment measures

Mr Melwani stated that Melcom, which remained open during the three-week lockdown, was the first to introduce hand-washing to curb the spread of COVID-19 among its customers and employees.

He said the outlet tried its very best to encourage customers, in the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak in Ghana, to wear masks but customers were not getting used to it until the President gave the directive for the people to wear mask.

He stated that prior to that, the supermarket had procured several protective equipment including about 8,000 N95 facemasks and pocket hand-sanitizers for its staff nationwide.

“We also have instructed our staff to constantly clean and disinfect the lifts, trolleys, railings on stair cases and ramps. We are doing our level best in hammering this into all our staff that this must be done all the time.

“We have also implemented measures such as having queue markers and regulating entry to ensure that the number of customers inside remains manageable,” he said.

Social responsibility

Mr Melwani said in between December 2019 and March this year, Melcom had undertaken many corporate social responsibility activities to improve the lots of Ghanaians.

He mentioned the donation of 1,343 units of blood to the various blood banks involving staff and members of the public on the premises of 22 outlets of Melcom nationwide.

To address poor sanitation in some basic and second cycle schools, Mr Melwani said Melcom imported 64 portable toilets and accessories to be installed for selected schools.

“So far, we have handed out six unit of toilets to the Nsawam Senior High School and the Methodist Primary School and Nsawam,” he said.

Support for fight against COVID-19

The manager said in a bid to support the President’s commitment to stop the spread of coronavirus in Ghana, Melcom also donated GH100, 001 COVID-19 National Trust Fund as well as a number of pocket hand-sanitizers to a number of public institutions including the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Ghana Immigration Service, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and Greater Accra Regional Hospital.

“Early March this year, based on an appeal made to us, we donated to Korle Bu Teaching and the 37 Military hospitals a number of items such as buckets and accessories, bath and hand towels, disinfectants, toiletries, food items for patients.

BY: Nana Konadu Agyeman

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