Shops Reopening but we need to Follow This Guidance
The Government has set out guidance for businesses and customers to ensure shops can stay open safely.
Non-essential retail will be allowed to reopen on Monday for the first time since March but it’s going to be very different to how it was before. Shops have to follow strict guidelines in order to allow customers back in – and there is a lot expected of the customers too.
If we’re going to make sure shops can stay open – and hopefully pubs and restaurants to follow – without risking a second wave, there needs to be a bit of give and take. First of all, support businesses, especially local and independent traders, who have made a real effort to keep their customers safe from the coronavirus.
And repay the favour – this is only going to work if we all follow the guidance and stay alert, so make sure you know what’s expected of you before you hit the high street. Get used to seeing the below poster in shop windows. Think of it as similar to a food hygiene poster or a licence behind the bar in a pub.
If you see this poster, it means the shop has ticked all the boxes to make sure staff and customers are as safe as possible. You might see it in offices and other businesses too.
Here’s a breakdown of what is expected from shop owners – and from you.
A Covid-19 risk assessment
Shops are being allowed to reopen on the proviso they’ve done a thorough examination of what needs to change on site. From how many people can come into the shop to providing cashless payments, businesses owners will have spent weeks going through this process.
Businesses with more than 50 customers are expected by the Government to publish the result of its risk assessment online. Customers don’t need to do anything on this one – but think twice about whether or not you want to go into a shop that hasn’t done this.
Cleaning, washing and hygiene procedures
Every single kind of business will need to do this, but it’s doubly important for shops serving multiple customers. Shops should be providing handwashing material when you enter and at various points throughout, and anything that is touched by customers should be cleaned. Other areas likely to be touched multiple times – till counters or handrails, for example – should be cleaned regularly throughout the day.
What does this mean for shoppers? If these resources are there, use them. Don’t get complacent and walk past them – washing your hands is still the best way to stop the spread.
Try not to handle products when browsing and remember fitting rooms will be closed and if you need to return something, make sure you follow guidance on ‘no contact’ returns.
Help people to work from home
Businesses have been asked to help people work from home where possible but that’s clearly not an option for shop staff. But you should keep in mind that those workers are putting themselves at a heightened risk and shops may not have the same level of staffing as before.
Be respectful towards staff – they’ve got a tough week ahead of them and you can help by being patient, being prepared to queue and following all the guidance without needing to be told twice.
Maintain a two-metre distance between people
We’ve become familiar with this one in supermarkets in recent months. Expect shops to have markings on the floor to help you keep a proper distance away from others, as well as one way systems.
How can you help? Don’t shop in groups. If you need to shop, go alone – and if you need to take your children, make sure they’re following the guidance too.
Do everything practical to prevent transmission
Every business will face its own challenges depending on a range of factors, from size of the shop to the type of products on sale. Before customers arrive, shop owners will be rearranging layouts, adjusting ventilation and training staff on how to enforce social-distancing. But remember, this is on you too. Be sensible – keeping yourself safe from this virus isn’t rocket science, follow the rules and make sure you don’t become a spreader.
And follow the guidance on wearing a mask: They should be worn at all times in an enclosed public space where social-distancing is not possible.