The Puerto Rico Retailers Association (ACDET, in Spanish) announced the results of the Collaborative Surveillance Program that the sector has integrated into its efforts to minimize the risks of COVID-19 contagion, which revealed that 96% of participating establishments are 96% compliant in their protocols.
The conclusion stems from a sample involving 45,000 observations by 15 college students who visited 56 stores in Puerto Rico spanning more than 100,000 square feet.
So far, the trade group has signed up more than 500 local businesses to its “Joint Commitment” strategy to fight COVID-19, which calls for enforcing the use of face masks, physical distancing and hand sanitizing, among other measures, at the stores.
“We’re extremely satisfied with the support that the businesses have given us as part of the ‘New reality, we embrace you’ educational campaign, the health and safety measures in their stores, their voluntary commitment to the initiative, which has more than 500 signatures, and their participation in the collaborative surveillance and voluntary self-supervision program,” said Iván Báez, president of ACDET.
The trade group is one of several representing sectors of the local economy claiming they are not to blame for the increase in the number of COVID-19-related cases and deaths. Retail, they said, has not been the focus of the outbreaks and contagions recently reported by the Puerto Rico Health Department, he said.
Following a three-week period during which ACDET carried out the random observations, the ACDET shared its results and once again requested that before making any determination of sector closures, the government should do them in a targeted manner, by risk sectors and not at a general level.
“According to the results, in more than 45,000 observations of the parameters of mask use, physical distancing and use of hand sanitizer, in 56 stores spanning more than 100,000 square feet, the percentage of compliance on average is 96%.” Báez said.
“These figures, from observations made under an objective protocol and external to the store operators, show the great effort that the store is making to be in compliance, offer a safe experience for consumers and employees, and collaborate hand in hand with the government with the goal of eradicating COVID from our island,” said Báez, who is director of Public and Government Affairs for Walmart Puerto Rico.
The government is expected to announce the terms of a new executive order that will go into effect Oct. 3, which may include restrictions, but will likely not call for a general lockdown, Gov. Wanda Vázquez said during a news conference yesterday.