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What is this?

This action card provides advice on measures that are likely to be reasonable to take to minimise the risk of coronavirus at retail premises.

It should be used in conjunction with current Welsh Government regulations and other (more general) guidance.

Context

This action card relates to the measures retail premises must take, by law, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Those directly responsible for these businesses are required to take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of people being exposed to coronavirus, and spreading the virus, at their premises.

As a basis for deciding what measures should be taken, the responsible person must also carry out a specific assessment of the risk posed by the coronavirus.

The action card highlights risks generally associated with these venues and considers what reasonable measures could to be taken to mitigate those risks.

Risk assessed reasonable measures must, without exception, be bespoke to the premises so that local circumstances and the views of workers are reflected.

Generic risk assessments are unlikely to fulfil the requirements of the coronavirus restriction regulations.

This is not an exhaustive list and other reasonable measures not referred to below may be appropriate.

If you have questions or concerns please seek advice from your local authority’s environmental health department as soon as possible. Please be aware and respectful of the fact that their role is to ensure that appropriate reasonable measures are taken so that your venue can operate as safely as possible. However, it is not their role to approve your risk assessment.

Specific risks in these premises

The risks associated with retail venues will vary significantly depending on the premises. Despite risks in retail premises that are taking reasonable measures not being as high as in other venues, it is still important that businesses appreciate that the pandemic is not over.

While risks will vary between premises, and will depend on the activities being undertaken and the number of people present, the following risks will be typical:

  • crowds gathering and forming queues outdoors, waiting to enter and indoors at areas such as tills and collection points;
  • overcrowding in small spaces and poorly ventilated part of the premises, in particular in smaller premises, in narrow aisles, in customer changing rooms, staff locker rooms and stock rooms with no access to natural ventilation;
  • staff and the public, particularly the more vulnerable, feeling unsafe when shopping;
  • crowding when promotional activities such as sales take place.

What reasonable measures should I consider taking to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus?

While it is unlikely to be possible to mitigate the risks completely in all premises, some measures are reasonable to take, so must be taken.

You should consider whether the following measures are reasonable to take. The measures you take should be informed by your assessment of the risk of coronavirus spreading at your premises and tailored to your specific circumstances. The Welsh Government has produced a standard template for coronavirus risk assessments, and there are is further information available to support you provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Prevent crowding

  • Limiting numbers or controlling movement of people so that where possible customers can safely distance themselves from others. For example, use one way systems to walk around the premises and control the movement of people coming together in confined areas.
  • Controlling entry and exit points to prevent people coming together.
  • Utilise staff to manage the flow of customers to checkouts if necessary.

Limit your capacity

  • Reducing and monitoring the number of people who may be inside your premises at any one time. Limiting numbers will reduce the extent to which close physical interaction will occur, in particular by reducing the potential for crowding.
  • Spreading people evenly across the venue so that they don’t gather in disproportionate numbers in one room or space.

Keep your premises clean

  • Thorough and regular cleaning using disinfectant in high footfall areas and in high contact touchpoints such as counter tops, tables and door handles.
  • Placing hand sanitisers in multiple locations, particularly at entry points and elsewhere at key touchpoints, and providing automated soap dispensers, water and paper towels in washrooms.
  • Cleaning till points between staff using appropriate cleaning products
  • Regularly wiping self-checkout touch screens/keypads – If these remain in operation. Ideally do this between each use.

Manage use of customer changing rooms

  • Having a member of staff in place to monitor physical distance being maintained to ensure that customers feel assured of their safety.
  • Using markings to avoid the creation of bottlenecks or adopting a one-in one-out process.
  • Limiting cubicle use to one person at a time, except where customers require specific assistance. 
  • Leaving a gap of several minutes between customers using the cubicles.
  • Improving ventilation where possible.
  • Managing clothes that have been tried on to minimise contact between customers and staff.

Manage returns, exchanges and collection of goods

  • Setting up return procedures where customers take return goods to a designated area.
  • Staggering collection times for customers collecting items, with a queuing system in place to increase distance between those queuing, and between other customers on the premises.
  • Encouraging card and contactless purchases and refunds.
  • Cleaning touchpoints after each customer use or handover. For some examples, such as rental equipment, and test drive and rental vehicles, interior and exterior touchpoints should be considered.
  • Encouraging increased handwashing and introducing more handwashing facilities (access to automatic soap dispensers, water and paper towels where possible) for workers and customers or providing alcohol-based hand sanitiser where this is not practical.
  • Putting in place picking-up and dropping-off collection points where possible, rather than passing goods hand-to-hand

Offer and encourage home deliveries

  • Offering home delivery services, with doorstep-only deliveries as the default.
  • If circumstances necessitate inside delivery, staff wearing face coverings and maintaining physical distancing
  • Delivery drivers to using hand sanitiser before each delivery

Think about additional risks during sales or other promotions

  • Avoiding crowds gathering and managing the flows of people when venues are particularly busy, for example due to a sale.

Look after your staff

  • Implementing systems to minimise contacts between staff. For example, stagger staff shifts, break times and deliveries; set a maximum number for kitchens, staff rooms, locker rooms and areas such as smoking shelters.
  • Providing staff with face coverings or other PPE.
  • Erecting physical barriers at till points and help desks using flexi-plastic to provide a barrier between those working on the tills and customers.
  • Closing every other till point where till points are close together, including for self-checkout tills.
  • Facilitating (and not preventing) members of staff that have symptoms,  test positive or who have been identified as a close contact by Test Trace Protect (and are not exempt by way of age or vaccine status) from self-isolating. Self-isolating when a person has tested positive is required by law.
  • Facilitating regular handwashing breaks

Remember face coverings

  • Helping to ensure that people present, both employees and customers, comply with their legal obligation to wear a face covering.

Help Test, Trace, Protect

  • Understanding the role of the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect system has in monitoring and controlling the virus.
  • Informing staff that anyone who is symptomatic, has tested positive, is awaiting a test result or has been asked to self-isolate must not enter your premises.
  • Keeping records of staff and work patterns to support the NHS Wales TTP Service.  

Communicate

You have a legal obligation to provide information to those entering or working at the premises about how to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus. This includes, in particular, information to all those present about their risk of exposure to coronavirus identified in the risk assessment and the measures to be taken to minimise this risk.

This should include clear communications to remind staff and customers of the risk assessed reasonable measures that are legally required or that have been implemented within your premises as part of additional reasonable measure. This should include the legal requirement to wear appropriate face-coverings, maintain physical distancing wherever possible, regular hand washing etc.

It is strongly recommended that this communication is carried out via regular audio announcements, such as public address system announcements, clear signage (e.g. signs, floor tape or paint) for limits on the number people present in a particular area or room or physical distancing markers, queuing systems and one way systems. 

Links to other relevant guidance

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