// BRC publishes new guidance on retailers reopening stores amid the coronavirus lockdown
// The government ramped up protective measures last month to prevent the spread of Covid-19
// The government has not yet revealed with the lockdown measures will be relaxed
A new guidance has been published by the BRC which includes advice on retailers reopening stores amid the coronavirus pandemic, including social distancing and hygiene measures.
Last month, the government ramped up its measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including a nationwide lockdown that featured the temporary closure of all retailers deemed non-essential.
At present, it remains uncertain as to when the non-essential retail sector can reopen for business and the final decision on this will be made by the government.
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“We need to be ready and, as we start to prepare for the re-opening of stores, it is likely that some virus control restrictions will continue to be necessary to limit transmission,” BRC said.
In preparation for the reopening of stores, the BRC teamed up with Usdaw to provide guidance on social distancing for non-food retail stores.
The trade organisation relied on government advice as well as the lessons learned by essential retailers in recent weeks.
Some of the measures include limiting the number of entry and exit points in and out of stores and having separate entrance and exit points if possible, and limiting the number of customers in stores at any time.
Other measures include considering keeping changing rooms closed.
If this is not possible, there must be a colleague in place at all times to ensure social distancing is maintained.
“Retailers are closely following developments from government on when restrictions might be eased and are starting to plan accordingly,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.
The safety and well-being of retail colleagues and customers remains the highest priority and these guidelines aim to support everyone in the industry.
“Since the lockdown, many retailers have proved how shops can be run safely and effectively in line with the government’s social distancing advice.
“This guidance is the product of retail’s incredible efforts to adapt to exceptional circumstances.
“The industry knows how to serve the public while protecting staff and customers alike.
“Continued close collaboration with government, including public support for the steps retailers are taking and adequate notice to get supply chains up and running will mean that retail businesses can start trading again slowly and safely, and customers can feel confident that they are safe to return to shops.”
Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Non-food retail should only start trading again when expert public health advice agrees.
“However, we need to be ready and we need to make sure that the proper preparations and measures are put in place.”
“Usdaw and the BRC have been working to develop advice and guidance for the non-food retail sector on what effective safe distancing in the shops might look like.
“We would urge all high street retailers to study the joint advice and open a dialogue with Usdaw and the BRC on putting in place plans for adequate social distancing measures in their stores.”