What to consider when re-opening your retail store

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the UK’s retail sector throughout 2020 with many retailers being forced to close their doors for good. However, this week Boris Johnson has confirmed that England is to return to a regional tier system from December 3rd, with all non-essential shops to be reopened in all tiers.

Some retailers have been through this before and successfully re-opened their doors after the first UK lockdown rules were lifted back in June. However, if this is your first time re-opening after a lockdown, or you need a refresher on what to do, read on.

The Government have released safety guidelines to aid in the safe opening of public retail spaces. The guidance has been released to ensure that all retails spaces are ‘Covid-secure’ and meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene requirements to keep you, your staff, and your customers safe.

What businesses should consider

Here we will highlight the current government guidance that has been issued to shops and branches to open to prevent receiving any hefty fines or worse, transmitting Covid-19 cases.

Risk assessments

You should carry out a risk assessment before returning to work that addresses the risks of Covid-19. As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to protect the health of your employees, customers and visitors. The HSE have created a guide to working safely during the coronavirus outbreak which you can find here.

Customers and Visitors

You will need to enforce a limit for the number of customers or visitors on your premises at any one time to follow the social distancing 2m rule. If you’re a bridal retailer, you may need to tell the Bride in advance of the appointment how many visitors she can bring along to the dress fitting. You should encourage customers to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter your premises.

Employees

Ensure that you have a conversation with your employees about whether they feel safe to return to work and whether their return is necessary. The advice remains that if an employee can work from home, they should continue to do so.

Social Distancing

The social distancing rule of 2m is still in force wherever possible, or 1m with risk mitigations in place such as screens and barriers where 2m is not viable. Where social distancing can’t be followed in full, you should take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission. You can find the government approved mitigating actions here.

Cleaning and Hygiene

You will need to ensure that your retail space has been fully cleaned before restarting work and frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including staff handheld devices and card machines etc. Where fitting rooms are essential, for example bridal retailers, they should be cleaned very frequently, typically between use. Items that have been tried on or returned should be stored in a separate room for 48 hours or clean the item with usual cleaning products before displaying them on the shop floor.

PPE

By law, staff and customers of retail settings are required to wear a face covering, unless exempt. Full PPE equipment is not required for non-clinical businesses. Where using physical barriers or screens between workers and members of the public, then staff behind the barrier or screen will not be required to wear a face covering.

Workforce Management

Consider splitting staff shifts in such a way that they will not meet each other when coming to and from work and try not to mix shift groups. If you have staff returning to work for the first time, ensure they are fully aware of all safety procedures in place.

If you have any concerns about how returning to work could affect your insurance or want to speak about amending terms of your cover, contact us on 0121 550 2380 or info@weddinginsurancegroup.co.uk