Mercadona introduces new regulations over coronavirus. | EFE


Mercadona has announced that it’s cutting its opening hours and introducing a series of measures to avoid crowds in order to guarantee the health of customers and workers during the State of Emergency caused by the outbreak of coronavirus.

The company said its network of 1,600 supermarkets in Spain will still open at 0900 but will close an hour and a half earlier than usual at 2000.

The capacity of each store will be controlled by the person in charge with support from a private security agent.

Outside the entrance of each supermarket there will be "a minimum one metre" area drawn up for customers who are waiting to go into the store and there will also be separation inside the shops.

Mercadona insists that all shops will remain fully stocked and that its "supply of basic necessities" will be strengthened.

A trade union notice states that the capacity will fluctuate between 100 and 200 customers depending on the size of each store.

Some stores will no longer have a ready-to-eat area, sliced ham or a butcher areas.

Mercadona said customers are being advised to fill baskets quickly, pay with a card instead of cash and refrain from stockpiling.

The company has also introduced new health and safety measures, including more intense cleaning and disinfection processes throughout the facilities.

There were long lines and crowds in supermarkets across the country last week and shelves were cleared as customers stockpiled essential items, despite repeated assurances that there was no shortage of products.