Police authorities stated today (Thursday) that supermarkets should be able to control and avoid large crowds if they launch promotions or sales that could lead to large gatherings of people.
The response comes after a three-day promotion launched by Royal Supermarket from May 19 to 21 offering two bottles of sunflower cooking oil for MOP108 (US$13.5) – down from MOP180 – caused a rush of clients to its supermarkets, with videos on social media long lines at supermarket doors and even fights between clients.
During the daily health press conference, a representative from the Public Security Police Force (CPSP) indicated that the promotion led police to dispatch officers to the areas around supermarkets to maintain order.
“We have focused our attention in supermarkets and pharmacies during mask sales […] We wanted to urge residents to avoid gatherings and to assure the recommended social distancing of at least one metre apart,” CPSP spokesperson Lei Tak Fai said today.
Police also urged supermarket companies to be responsible in maintaining order and control the number and flow indoors to avoid “unnecessary chaos”, but also noted that residents should also ponder if such situations could pose a risk to their health.
When asked if health authorities should not better clarify the exact number of people that should be allowed in indoor and outdoor areas, Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre Coordinator, Dr. Leong Iek Hou stated that food and beverage establishments such as restaurants have different recommendations for set limits of allowed people inside.
“We suggest half of the previous capacity, to assure people can maintain a distance of 1 metre between them. Supermarkets don’t have this kind of license so they do not have a limit of people allowed […] Our recommendations are clear that indoors the flow of people should be controlled. There was a promotion in the supermarket but it should have enough space for everyone or crowd control in the entrances,” Dr. Leong said.
Last month the Consumer Council decided to rescind Royal Supermarket’s accreditation as a ‘Certified Store Quality Symbol’ for ‘failure to fix prices’.
Macau has not reported any new Covid-19 cases for 43 days.
A 13th public health maks purchase round will be initiated tomorrow, with masks for children between 5 and 8 years of age now available.