Government clamp down on retail premises still operating

All the reports today are that these next few weeks are likely to be the worst we’ve seen in the course of the pandemic, and that the Government is seeking to clamp down on covid-safety in retail premises still operating in whatever form.  

We are writing to reinforce the Covid-safety advice provided by the Government for essential retail and businesses offering a click-and-collect service in accordance with the National Lockdown restrictions. 

  • Businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open. Essential retail includes food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences, as well as market stalls selling essential retail. Banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses are also permitted to stay open.
  • Priority Actions for essential retail are:-
    • Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Keep it reviewed as the pandemic situation changes.  Share it with all your staff. 
    • Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
    • Ensure staff wear face coveringsBy law, staff in retail settings must wear face coverings when in customer facing areas, unless they have an exemption.
    • Remind your customers to wear face coverings in any indoor space or where required to do so by law. Take reasonable steps to ensure customers are aware they are required to wear a face covering – such as by displaying a notice. 
    • Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one way system that your customers can follow.
    • Consider ventilation.
    • Take part in NHS Test and Trace. Betting shops are legally required to keep a record of all customers, visitors and staff for 21 days. Other retail businesses should keep a record of all staff and contractors (not customers) for 21 days. 
    • Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating. Employers must not require someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work. Any employer asking an employee to break self-isolation to work is committing an offence.
    • Reduce crowding. Consider how many people can be in the space while remaining socially distant. Use floor markings to manage queues.
    • Help your staff maintain social distancing. Consider using barriers to separate staff and customers, introduce back-to-back or side-to-side working, and have staff work in the same team each day.
    • Communicate and train. Make sure all staff and customers are kept up to date with how safety measures are being used and updated.

Covid-safety for click-and-collect services:

  • Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect, where goods are pre-ordered and collected without entering the premises.
  • Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; must close, with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through.
  • Priority actions are:
    • Providing clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to peoplebefore arrival, such as by phone, on the website or by email.
    • Encourage customers to collect goods on their own, where possible.
    • Ensure staff wear face coverings. By law, staff in retail settings must wear face coverings when in customer facing areas, unless they have an exemption.
    • Manage outside queues to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals, other businesses or additional security risks, for example by introducing queuing systems, having staff direct customers and protecting queues from traffic by routing them behind permanent physical structures such as street furniture, bike racks, bollards or putting up barriers. Setting out clear demarcation for social distancing (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) for customers queuing.
    • Reduce crowding. Consider how many people can be in the space outside premises while remaining socially distant. Use floor markings to manage queues.
    • Ensuring customers are compliant with rules on social contact. This is required under the ‘Covid-secure’ regulations.
    • Use physical barriers and screens to separate staff and customers at the entrance to premises.
    • Communicate and train. Make sure all staff and customers are kept up to date with how safety measures are being used and updated.

The full guidance is available here: 

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