COVID-19 Heroes: Italy VMs Get Creative in Encouraging Customers to Physically Distance

From left, Vicenza Exchange visual merchandisers Keti Nani and Kimberlyn Lastimosa set up a protective shield to hang between customers and cashiers at Hunt Brothers Pizza. They also developed a social distancing campaign to include floor signs that remind customers to stay at least 6 feet apart while shopping—a campaign that has since been adopted at Exchanges worldwide.

Keti Nani and Kimberlyn Lastimosa, visual merchandisers at the Vicenza Exchange in Italy, have developed an easy way to get shoppers’ attention and encourage them to keep their distance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s a simple concept: small red signs placed on floors throughout Exchange stores on the post with two footprints, each spaced 6 feet apart.

Lastimosa said the idea sprang from discussions with command regarding the best way to remind base residents to practice physical distancing. It started with a simple hashtag—#CoronaMetro—and evolved from there.

“Implementing this on base has made people more aware of how bad the situation really is and more aware of our spacing,” Lastimosa said. “It really drives home the message that even though the virus not on base yet, we want to keep it that way.”

The idea to put the signs on the ground was merely a practical consideration, Nani added.

“It’s hard to get people to follow the rules, so we figured with everybody looking down at their phones while they’re walking, putting signs on the floor would help them remember,” she said.

Nani said that while working on the base right now is a little daunting considering the circumstances, the team is taking necessary precautions when working on the sales floor and washing their hands often.

“We hope that others take the situation seriously,” she said. “We are happy that other locations are using our design to help spread awareness, because physical distancing is one of the most effective ways to help flatten the curve. We hope the rest of the world can see what drastic measures we are having to take here in Italy and maybe use them as well.”


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