If customers use a shopping cart in the supermarket, this will not guarantee that they are 1.5 meters apart from each other. This is the conclusion of researchers from the University of Amsterdam. What turns out to work: reward.
The researchers had the agents wear a sensor that recorded the distance between them. This allowed them to determine how often and for how long people came within 1.5 meters of each other. Customers with a shopping cart approached each other just as much as customers without, and thus had the same amount of contact with others in the store. Researchers suggest that the vast majority of connections in the supermarket last less than 10 seconds.
If customers in the study received a bag of Easter eggs if they kept a sufficient distance while shopping, this reduced or even shortened contact with each other. “Our research findings provide concrete starting points for effective and positive distancing stimulation in practice,” says UvA researcher Tessa Blanken.
“Shops can use the traffic light to regulate crowds and a reward system to encourage distance. We’ve shown that this works, so it would be good if it actually applied.”
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