Retail Reopens: New Terms Apply

It’s official, non-essential retailers will be able to reopen their doors on 15th June, and, if you fall into that category, we’re sure you’re aware that everyone in your organisation will soon be operating in a very different retail environment.

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced unprecedented changes in stores and the Government advice released this week will likely prompt further preparations for you and your teams.

Legal responsibility of retailers.

The latest guidance for shops and branches highlights that, as a retailer, you have a legal responsibility to protect your workers and others from risk to their health and safety.

Under regulations, such as the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, you are required to carry out a risk assessment, identify and assess the new risks posed by Covid-19 and take action to control them. You should also record your findings and review the controls you have put in place to check that they are working.

Failure to adequately protect your staff and customers from getting ill can result in a regulator, like HSE or the local authority, taking action against your organisation under criminal law or the affected individual/s making a claim for compensation.

Be Safe. Be Ready.

In order to best control the risk of Covid-19, the Government guidance advices retailers to introduce a number of new processes in stores, from ensuring regular cleaning schedules and clear staff communications, to maintaining 2 metre social distancing across all areas of the building and business.

It also suggests you:

  • Introduce more one-way flow through buildings and provide social distancing floor markings and signage to remind both workers and customers to follow to social distancing
  • Manage outside queues to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals or other businesses and provide clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to people on arrival
  • Ensure latest guidelines are visible in selling and non-selling areas and provide written or spoken communication of them to both workers and customers inside and outside your stores
  • Provide regular reminders and signage to everyone to maintain hygiene standards

In-store messaging: Clarity is key.

Once implemented, new safety measures will need to be constantly reviewed, updated and maintained. You’ll need shoppers and your staff to feel safe enough to return to stores, and to sufficiently protect them and your business once they’re there.

Unsurprisingly, recent research has found that just 41% of adults feel comfortable returning to stores on their local high street. Planning and executing your store reopenings well is the first step towards rebuilding consumer confidence and trust. Good first impressions go a long way.

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