Coronavirus: New safety guidance for retailers reopening stores

Safety guidance covid-19 lockdown
The new guidance will offer advise on how retailers can safely approach reopening to the public
// Government publishes new safety guidance to help retailers reopen safely
// June 1 is the provisional date given to non-essential retailers to begin a phased reopening

Retailers have been provided with a new safety guidance by the government to help them prepare store re-openings next month.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that June 1 is the provisional date given to non-essential retailers to begin a phased reopening.

The new guidance will offer advice on how retailers can safely approach re-opening to the public.


Retailers have been told to make every effort to comply with social distancing.

Where this is not possible, they are advised to take mitigating measures including:

  • Reviewing store layouts
  • Screens or barriers to separate people from each other
  • Side-to-side or back-to-back working (rather than face-to-face) where possible
  • Staggering the arrival and departure times of employees to avoid overcrowding
  • Additional parking or bike racks to encourage employees to travel to work without using public transport
  • Reducing movement around stores with the encouraged use of radios or telephones for communication
  • A one-way flow system through stores with floor markings and signage
  • Staff should also be grouped into shift patterns or pairings to reduce contact as much as possible
  • Meetings should be limited and break times should be staggered with packaged meals provided to avoid opening staff canteens
  • Handwashing facilities and cleaning materials should be made readily available

To manage customers, retailers are encouraged to:

  • Define the number of customers that can reasonably follow two metre physical distancing within the store
  • Limit the number of customers in-store and encourage them to shop alone
  • Have more than one entry point in larger stores to reduce congestion
  • Use floor markings and signage to aid social distancing
  • Use contactless payment where possible
  • Suspend or reduce customer services that cannot be undertaken without breaking social distancing guidelines
  • Use outside space for queuing where possible

Meanwhile, fitting rooms should also be carefully considered and only used where necessary.

Retailers have been advised to limit customers’ handling of merchandise through different display methods or rotation of high-touch stock.

When handling returns these should be no contact where possible with goods taken to designated areas.

Returns should also be kept separate from displayed merchandise to reduce likelihood of transmission.

Moreover, shopping centres have been advised to take responsibility for the regulation of the number of customers in centres.

An additional £14 million has been made available to the Health and Safety Executive to support businesses in making stores and workplaces safe.

The government advised that additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not beneficial.

Sectors such as manufacturing have also been urged to return to work from this week under the government’s new “Stay Alert” rule.

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