11 May 2020

Guidance for re-opening retail stores

Whilst we are all awaiting details from the government as to what measures retailers will need to implement when they can re-open their stores, last week the BRC (British Retail Consortium) and USDAW (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) have published their guidance to the retail sector which has been developed in collaboration with the government.

Whilst we are all hopefully that June the 1st signifies the day that non-essential retailers can reopen their doors, it is clear that the health and safety of retailers’ staff and customers are clearly in focus, and that we have all learnt a large amount from the essential retaillers current instore social distancing policies.. You can read the full guide by clicking here , below is a summary of the key elements you should be thinking about.

Managing customers outside your store.

  • Limit the number of entry and exit points to your store. If at all possible, consider separate entrance and exit points.
  • Identify how many customers you can safety let into your store. The easiest way to do this is to look at the total size of your store, and its layout, and consider the 2m2 social distance advice.
  • If at all possible use a staff member at the entrance of your store to meet customers and explain guidelines, and to control the number of people entering your store.
  • Clearly place signage outside your store (or in the window) to explain your guidelines and consider floor markings to allow people to queue safely. If you are within a shopping centre please talk to the centre management
  • Talk to stores in your local area ( or just next door) to see if there is an opportunity for shared queuing systems.

Managing customer inside your store

Hygiene and cleaning:

  • It is recommended that there is a Provision of cleaning stations at front of store including:
    •  Hand sanitiser, if available
    • Disinfectant wipes or spray and tissue for trolley/basket handles.
  • Identify and regularly clean key touch points eg. door handles, lift buttons, keypads, stair/escalator hand rails.

Managing Social Distancing within your store

  • It is recommended you use floor markings to help with social distancing. At a minimum this should be in the busiest foot fall areas of the store and where queuing is likely to take place, i.e till points and checkout areas, and collection points.
  • Place signage detailing your social distancing guidance throughout the store, reminding customers of these rules, and asking them to follow this guidance.
  • Look at the layout of your store, so ensure the 2m social distancing is possible in aisle consider the removal of promotional materials that take up space within the store.
  • To protect your staff and customers at till points, erect physical barriers at till points using flexiplasic. These should also be included in the instore cleaning programmes.
  • Encourage cashless purchasing. If you are operating a self-check out system have staff on hand to wipe down and clean these areas regularly, ideally between use.
  • Consider how you can restock shelves and where possible limit this to outside of the store’s opening hours. This will help reduce congestion in key areas. If it is not possible to do this consider the safest way to do this without compromising the safety of your staff and customers.

Changing rooms, Customer Seating and Special Assistance

  • Consider keeping changing rooms closed. If this is not possible, you must always have a staff member in place to ensure social distancing is maintained.
  • Remove or limit customer seating in store. If seating is provided, space out appropriately, This will stop customers clustering within the store.
  • Stop services which require direct interaction with customers such as providing make up advice, nail bars or in store personal shopping. Also, let customers know whether or not you are able to help with large purchase ie large TV or Furniture pre purchase.
  • Cafes and restaurants are closed until further notice and should be securely closed off to ensure customers do not use them for seating.

General Considerations:

  • Ensure all staff are aware of the social distancing measures that are in place and trained on how they should support these measures being observed. Remind staff that social distancing applies in all areas of the store, including non-customer facing areas.
  • Consider your staff shifts, in order to avoid crowding consider stagger staff shift start, end and break times. Also consider trying to keep the same groups together on each shift where possible.
  • Have available sufficient gloves, masks and/or visors for those colleagues who require them. If you supply re-useable visors ensure colleagues are reminded to clean them regularly during use, and before and after each use.
  • Staff can continue to use rest areas as long as social distancing is respected.  Consider asking staff to bring their own food or consider a take away service within your canteen to reduce over crowding at busy break times.


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