Guide on Social Distancing at Food Outlets in Zimbabwe

Guide on Social Distancing at Food Outlets in Zimbabwe

Queues are a common feature in Zimbabwe especially in supermarkets and other food outlets. It is therefore important to ensure that these outlets do not become sources of COVID-19 transmission. One of the best strategies to prevent transmission is to practice social distancing. Social distancing involves standing or sitting 1 metre away from the next person.


This advice on social distancing measures applies to everyone including those inside the food business and in the external public areas where customers may need to queue. Besides social distancing, people should be reminded to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds and more frequently than normal.

The following are a few general indicators that are relevant to the majority of retail outlets:

  • Use additional signage to ask customers not to enter the shop if they have symptoms
  • Regulate entry so that the premises do not become overcrowded
  • Use floor markings inside the commercial spaces to facilitate compliance with the social distancing advice of at least 1 metre, particularly in the most crowded areas, such as serving counters and tills
  • Use vertical signage to direct customers into lanes if feasible to facilitate movement within the premises while maintaining at least 1 metre distance
  • Make regular announcements to remind customers to follow social distancing advice and clean their hands regularly
  • Place plexiglass barriers at tills and counters if feasible, as an additional element of protection for workers and customers
  • Encourage the use of contactless payments where possible e.g.       mobile payments by customers
  • Provide handwashing stations or facilities if possible, providing soap, water and hand sanitizer


It is important for supermarkets need to avoid crowding. They should create adequate spacing between individuals.

Effective measures to support this may vary by store and location but could include:

  • Monitoring the number of customers within the store and limiting access to avoid congestion
  • Implementing queue management systems to limit crowds gathering at entrances and maintain at least 1 metre distance
  • Reminding customers to only buy what they need

Staff canteens

There is no evidence that coronavirus is transmitted through food. Workplace canteens may remain open where there are no practical alternatives for staff to obtain food. The following advice applies to staff canteens:

  • As far as reasonably possible, a distance of at least 1metre should be maintained between users
  • Staff can continue to use rest areas if they apply the same social distancing
  • Notices promoting hand hygiene and social distancing should be placed visibly in these areas
  • If possible, increase the number of hand washing stations available

Takeaways and restaurants offering a pick-up service

Take aways and restaurants are encouraged to offer pick up service in order reduce contact between people. This means they should open websites where people can place orders online. Where this is done:

  • No orders should be taken in person on the premises - this should be communicated to customers by appropriate means such as signage
  • Businesses should therefore only take orders online or by telephone
  • Customers could have staggered collection times - customers should be discouraged from entering the premises until their order is ready
  • Customers arriving without having already placed an order should be encouraged to leave the premises to place their order by telephone or online, and to return at a designated time for collection
  • Customers whose orders are ready should enter one at a time to collect orders and make payments
  • Businesses should discourage crowding outside the premises. Where possible, use queue management systems to maintain at least 1 metre separation