The majority of people shopping in Red Deer are obeying the social distancing rules.
That’s the good news, according to an employee at one of the city’s major retailers.
The sad news is that Red Deerians don’t seem to be as happy as they were when they COVID-19 pandemic emerged, spurring a spell of panic shopping from the middle of March to the end of the month.
“Everyone was smiling and laughing – all the customers I interacted with were just like ‘isn’t this just crazy?’ Everyone was friendly,” said the worker, who the Advocate has agreed not to identify.
In recent weeks, however, shoppers seem to be depressed, he said.
“There are not as many happy people as there were during the panic buying phase. It’s bringing everyone’s spirits down – all of these measures.”
Patrons also increasingly see everyday shopping as a social activity – “it’s something to do.”
“And it’s people of all ages – young people, old people; they’re always looking around because there’s nothing else to do.”
The employee said 90 per cent of customers observe social distancing measures, adding that many are fearful of catching the virus, and are therefore, “overly cautious and are super scared.”
“I’ve only had one guy asking for my help, and he was in my personal space, so I told him, ‘I can help you,’ but if he could just stand about six feet away. And that’s one customer in the past three weeks.
“I’ve also had to explain to one other employee that we have to socially distance ourselves to set a good example for the customers.”
Since the panic buying phase subsided, the store is back to normal levels when it comes to essential food items, said the worker.
“Before we had no pasta, no sauce, no meat, no bread,” he said. “Now, we have a fully stocked food section, but our cleaning supplies still run low.”
“You can never get wipes, still to this day.”