Shops ready to re-open with new protection plan
Social distancing for shoppers outside an Aldi store in Edinburgh (pic: Terry Murden)
More retailers say they have measures in place to ensure they are ready to reopen once the lockdown restrictions are eased.
Essential retailers, such as pharmacies, DIY shops and supermarkets, and those operating online warehouses have already transformed their business practices to protect staff and customers.
This includes social distancing inside and outside stores, installation of protective plexiglass at tills, limiting numbers into stores, and regular cleaning.
The British Retail Consortium has worked with Usdaw to produce guidance on social distancing for non-food retail stores. This draws on Government advice as well as the many lessons learned by essential retailers in recent weeks.
The safety and wellbeing of retail colleagues and customers remains the highest priority– Helen Dickinson, BRC
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium said: “Retailers are closely following developments from Government on when restrictions might be eased and are starting to plan accordingly.
“The safety and wellbeing of retail colleagues and customers remains the highest priority and these guidelines aim to support everyone in the industry.
“Since the lockdown, many retailers have proved how shops can be run safely and effectively in line with the Government’s social distancing advice.
“This guidance is the product of retail’s incredible efforts to adapt to exceptional circumstances. The industry knows how to serve the public while protecting staff and customers alike.
“Continued close collaboration with Government, including public support for the steps retailers are taking and adequate notice to get supply chains up and running, will mean that retail businesses can start trading again slowly and safely, and customers can feel confident that they are safe to return to shops.”
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw General Secretary said: “Non-food retail should only start trading again when expert public health advice agrees.
“However, we need to be ready and we need to make sure that the proper preparations and measures are put in place.
Helen Dickinson: retailers have proved how shops can be run safely
“Usdaw and the British Retail Consortium have been working to develop advice and guidance for the non-food retail sector on what effective safe distancing in the shops might look like.
“We would urge all high street retailers to study the joint advice and open a dialogue with Usdaw and the BRC on putting in place plans for adequate social distancing measures in their stores.”
Testing for retail staff
The Scottish Government has confirmed that frontline retail staff in pharmacies, supermarkets and grocery stores – as well as their suppliers – who are self-isolating can be referred by their employers for national testing for coronavirus.
The Scottish Retail Consortium wrote to the Scottish Government last month asking for these sectors to be included in any prioritisation of mass testing for Covid19.
David Lonsdale, director of the SRC, said: “We very much welcome the Scottish Government’s move to ensure testing of key retail workers in pharmacy and grocery, who play such a crucial role in ensuring everyone can get the medicines and food they need.
“This is something we raised with Ministers and it is encouraging to see this positive response. By also testing those throughout the supply chains we can maintain good supplies to stores and individuals.
“This is another demonstration of the value of hardworking retail workers in keeping our shelves stocked, and food and essential items delivered, during this difficult time.”