New shopping restrictions

From November 18, there is a new limit on the number of customers allowed in stores - no more than one person per 15 square metres.

This new rule applies to all shops - including groceries, pharmacies and shopping centres. Also starting Wednesday, November 18, stores will be allowed to stay open for longer - until 9 pm. However, overnight curfew is still in place - between 9 pm and 4:59 am.

Vendors will be required to manage the queues in front of the stores and monitor maintaining a distance of two metres between people. Most retailers intend to limit the number of available shopping carts according to the capacity of the shop.

This limit of 15 square metres per person is valid for fifth through third risk levels of the PES system. Right now, the country is on the fifth level and will probably get to the fourth on Monday, November 23. For the second level, the maximum number of customers per 15 square metres increases to two. In the first level, up to four people per 15 square metres will be allowed in the shop.

The Association of Trade and Tourism (SOCR) has criticized the new measure, saying it will increase the risk of infection by causing people to queue outside for up to an hour during peak times. According to the association, it will also increase the mobility of customers, who will move between stores looking for the shortest line, while encouraging panic buying. 20 to 30 percent of people will not be served at all due to the new restriction, the association estimates.