The new guidance is designed to help stores prepare for safe re-opening.
It has been widely anticipated that “non-essential” retailers, that have been closed since March 23rd, will be permitted to re-open next month. Toy World has spoken to many toy retailers, from independents to larger chains, to discuss their plans for re-opening. We are happy to report that, in the toy trade at least, common sense prevails and shop owners have come up with a multitude of considered and thoughtful ways in which they can safely trade while keeping staff, customers and working partners as safe as possible.
The new safety advice from the government stresses to retailers the importance of making every effort to comply with social distancing. Recognising that this may present challenges in smaller premises, mitigating measures are also suggested. These include reviewing store layouts, using screens or barriers to separate people from each other, reducing movement around stores (with the encouraged use of radios or telephones for communication) and a one-way flow system through stores with floor markings and signage.
It is advised that employers should group staff into shift patterns or pairings to reduce contact as much as possible, stagger break times and make handwashing facilities and cleaning materials readily available. The report states that additional PPE for staff is not beneficial.
All premises should 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, use floor markings and signage to aid social distancing, offer contactless payment where possible and limit handling of merchandise through different display methods or rotation of high-touch stock. Returns should be kept separate from displayed merchandise to reduce likelihood of transmission.
Stores should use outside space for queuing where possible, and shopping centres have been advised to take responsibility for the regulation of the number of customers in centres.
An additional £14m has been made available to the Health and Safety Executive to support businesses in making stores and workplaces safe.
The full ‘Working Safely during Coronavirus (Covid-19)’ advice for shops is available here.