Viral affect: should we expect an increase in the incidence after Black Friday?

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Retailers have not introduced additional security measures for the Black Friday sale. According to representatives of specialized associations, the existing restrictions are sufficient. In addition, retail is confident that this year, due to the coronavirus, people will be more active in making purchases on the Internet. However, experts and virologists interviewed by Izvestia do not exclude an increase in the incidence of coronavirus after a large-scale action, which is traditionally held not only online, but also in an offline format. In queues at stores and in shopping centers, the virus can easily spread. Perhaps during a pandemic it would be wiser to transfer the action entirely to the online format, the State Duma and the Federation Council note.

No additions

Retailers are not taking any additional security measures at retail outlets in connection with the pandemic, other than those already in place. For example, there are recirculators in stores (they purify the air), there are protective shields at the cash desks, markings are made on the floor, allowing you to maintain social distance. Also, citizens are offered antiseptics and masks. Ilya Vlasenko, the press secretary of the Association of Retail Companies (AKORT), told Izvestia about this. Rospotrebnadzor has not yet developed or recommended any other measures to trade, he noted. According to an AKORT representative, retail cannot add anything to the existing protocol.

Retail chains this year do not expect rush demand and a large crowd of people in stores in connection with the Black Friday, said Ilya Vlasenko. Companies are confident that the vast majority of shoppers will shop online, which has become the most popular during the spread of the coronavirus.

– So far, not a single chain has announced that during the day there were queues in stores that could potentially pose a threat to human health, they are unlikely to appear tomorrow, – said the representative of AKORT.

The press service of Rospotrebnadzor “Izvestia” was reminded that the fulfillment of mandatory requirements in stores is controlled by local departments for trade, prefectures and the association of administrative and technical inspections. The headquarters did not respond to Izvestia’s request.

Gone online

The holding of Black Friday in Russia has never resembled an American sale, President of the National Distance Selling Association Alexander Ivanov told Izvestia. Let’s say people didn’t break down shop doors in an attempt to purchase discounted items, he added.

– Buyers themselves understand what is happening and take those protective measures that are necessary in this situation: put on masks, observe social distance. People today are more willing to stay at home and prefer shopping online than in regular stores, he said.

Earlier, the expert told Izvestia that this year, precisely because of the unfolding pandemic, the number of participants in the sale in the online segment will jump by 20%. That is, from 50 million people last year to 60 million this year. In his opinion, this will happen due to the emergence of a new audience: people over 50 have begun to actively make online purchases.

There has already been a massive transition of consumers to online, so the number of companies that will participate in the action will grow by about a third, President of the Association of Internet Trade Companies Artem Sokolov told Izvestia.

Restricting stationary trade in conducting a sale this year should not have been, says Alexander Borisov, chairman of the CCI Council for the development of the consumer market. The expert is sure that the existing control over retail and public catering is quite strict. Examples of store closures due to violations (for example, if staff worked without a mask) spurred retail chains to comply with all existing requirements.

“It seems to me that the sale is necessary: ​​buyers have a desire to buy goods at a reduced price, and trade wants to make up for its losses that occurred during the spring lockdown,” he said. – Retail is trying as much as possible to take care of customers, who, in turn, must protect themselves on their own.

The expert is sure that this year in stationary stores you should not expect a rush of visitors. The delivery of goods to home has removed this problem. In general, there is no urgent need for people to leave their homes to participate in Black Friday, he said.

Safer on the web

However, the main method of transmission of the virus from person to person is by contact. Consequently, the more contacts, the greater the risk of infection, said a member of the State Duma Committee on Health Protection, Doctor of Medical Sciences Boris Mendelevich.

– The number of diagnosed patients in our country is growing, every day we set anti-records. We are in a very serious situation, – he noted.

According to the expert, now it is better to sit at home, rather than attend social events.

There are indeed risks in holding Black Friday, Mark Sanevich, co-founder and CEO of BestDoctor, agrees.

– The density of interaction between people at the time of sales and promotions in shopping centers naturally increases and can lead to an increase in the number of cases. In Russia, social distance and mask regime are not strictly observed even at normal times, so they are unlikely to be fully observed during the period of excitement in stores. This will definitely affect the growth of morbidity, he is sure.

Russians have been reminded of compliance with personal protective measures since spring, but not everyone is ready to follow the recommendations. In order not to provoke an increase in infection, such actions should not be carried out at all in ordinary stores, says Sergei Leonov, a member of the Federation Council Committee on Social Policy, Candidate of Medical Sciences.

– Basically, such events will affect large cities, and, given the situation with the epidemic, it is undesirable to hold them offline. Of course, there will be no talk of social distance. You can understand, of course, everyone: both stores are trying to return lost profits, and people will try to save money due to a decrease in income, but it is better to do sales online, the senator said.

However, Sergei Leonov believes that one should not expect a big crowd. Vladislav Mohamed Ali, medical director of the SberZdorovye service, agrees with him. According to the expert, a trip to the mall this Friday will be no more risky than the previous one or the year before. However, given the rise in coronavirus cases, it is better to move shopping online. Moreover, many stores have long been holding Black Friday on Internet platforms, advised Vladislav Mohamed Ali.

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