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This guidance is being updated

The Welsh Ministers have revised the The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 and this guidance is being updated to reflect those regulatory changes. A person responsible for an open premises is still required to ensure that 2 metre distance is maintained between anyone on the premises. The practical advice in this guidance is still considered useful however you must have regard to the revised regulations.

Further guidance on measures to minimise the exposure to coronavirus as well as an updated version of this guidance will be published next week.

Introduction

This document is to help anyone operating a retail facility in Wales understand how to operate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping as many people as possible 2 metres apart from those they do not live with.

To tackle the spread of COVID-19, the Welsh Government introduced the Coronavirus Regulations in March 2020. These imposed strict restrictions on gatherings, the movement of people, and the operation of businesses (some of which were required to close temporarily).

The Welsh Government prioritises the protection of people, and with this aim, is now following a cautious approach to easing this lockdown and reopening workplaces. The safety, health, and well-being of everyone is of paramount importance to us.

Many essential retail businesses in Wales have remained open throughout the emergency, but non-essential retail providers are also now permitted to reopen in Wales from 22 June 2020 as part of this easing of the lockdown. We have produced this guidance to help the retailers involved to operate safely.

We expect that this document will be updated over time. This version is up to date as of 20 June 2020. You can check for updates at Keep Wales Safe – at work.

How to use this guidance 

This guidance aims to help retail business operate safely and gives practical considerations of how safe practices can be applied in your business or operation. Each business will need to translate these into the specific actions it needs to take, depending on the nature of its business, including the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated.

The majority of retail businesses, including shops are allowed to open on 22 June, however, business should be aware of restrictions applying to them. These are businesses and services which are listed in Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Coronavirus Regulations. They mean that a person responsible for carrying on a business, or providing a service included on this list must undertake the following in respect of any premises where the business is carried on or the service is provided.

They must take all reasonable measures to ensure:

  • that a distance of 2m is maintained between any persons on the premises (except between two members of the same household, or a carer and the person assisted by the carer)
  • that persons are only admitted to the business premises in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain that distance
  • that a distance of 2m is maintained between persons waiting to enter the business premises (except between two members of the same household, or a carer and the person assisted by the carer)

In doing so, they must have regard to the Statutory Guidance and supplementary guidance on taking all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing in the workplace which has been issued by the Welsh Government.

This document builds on these requirements with practical advice for retailers.

In the event of any discrepancy between this guidance and the Statutory Guidance, you should have regard to the Statutory Guidance. This document is not a substitute for legal advice which you should consider obtaining where necessary, nor does it supersede any legal obligations including in relation to health and safety, employment or equalities. It is important that as a business or an employer you continue to comply with your existing obligations, including those relating to individuals with protected characteristics. Failure to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks could result in enforcement action by the relevant authorities.

This guidance contains non-statutory guidance to take into account when complying with these existing obligations. When considering how to apply this guidance, take into account members of the public and customers, as well as employees and contractors, and anyone else on premises.

To help you decide which actions to take, you need to carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment, just as you would for other health and safety related hazards. This risk assessment should be done in consultation with the recognised trade union or, if there isn’t one, a representative chosen by workers.

It is important to note that indoor shopping centres and indoor shopping arcades are included as part of these restrictions under Part 4 Schedule 1 of the Coronavirus Regulations. A person responsible for carrying on a business, or providing a service in these contexts is also subject to the same duties as other retail businesses which are allowed to open.

The fact that people in Wales are currently required to ‘stay local’ and as a rule of thumb should avoid travelling more than 5 miles from home may limit the number of people accessing retail businesses in the immediate term.

Welsh Government will work with local authorities to closely monitor the situation and produce further guidance – and regulations if necessary – to protect public health in these premises over the coming weeks. Welsh Government has also issued guidance for the safe management of public spaces.

Who this guidance is for

This document is designed to help anyone operating a retail business or premises in Wales to operate and reopen safely.

Not all businesses in Wales are currently able to operate. However, shops and certain businesses and services listed in Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Coronavirus Regulations are now able to operate (from 22 June) but within clear parameters.

The guidance may be of particular use to those retail businesses that are re-opening following a period of closure. The guidance is based on the experience of the Welsh Retail Consortium/British Retail Consortium’s and Usdaw’s food retail members who have been operating physical distancing effectively in stores for a number of weeks. These are non-exhaustive and it is the responsibility of each business to decide the most appropriate methods to implement physical distancing and other COVID-19 control measures in their business or on their premises. Over and above these specific recommendations there should be open dialogue with colleagues to reassure them and discuss any concerns about the safety of their role.

As mentioned, a person responsible for carrying on a business, or providing a service that can operate in Wales is required by law in respect of any premises where the business is carried on or the service is provided to take all reasonable measures to ensure that a distance of 2m is maintained between persons waiting to enter the business premises (except between two members of the same household, or a carer and the person assisted by a carer). You should therefore consider the indoor or outdoor public space outside your business as part of your approach.

As noted, this requirement applies to those operating indoor shopping centres and arcades.

This guidance document is designed for those operating individual retail premises, shops and branches and further guidance will be produced for indoor shopping centres and arcades. Welsh Government has also issued guidance for the safe management of public spaces.

Key principles

The Welsh Government has adopted five principles for operating safety.

Care: Our health and well-being comes first

Everyone should approach the health, safety and well-being of members of the public and customers, as well as employees and contractors and anyone else on premises as paramount.

The COVID-19 outbreak is a new and fast- moving situation for everyone. It will be challenging, worrying, and potentially stressful for many.

In terms of your workforce: workers are only allowed to return to the workplace if it is not reasonably practicable for them to  work from home. Securing childcare and finding a safe way to travel to and from work may be difficult and a source of anxiety. Employers should be mindful that this could pose a barrier to an employee’s safe return to work.

The COVID-19 pandemic poses health risks to everyone, but for certain vulnerable people, there is an increased risk of becoming seriously ill. It is also evident that certain members of our community, such as those from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, are impacted more than others. We do not yet have the evidence as to why groups are impacted more than others, so employers should take extra care to safeguard vulnerable employees. More information on physical distancing is available on the Welsh Government website. The online COVID-19 Workforce Risk Assessment Tool is a two-stage risk assessment for NHS and Social Care workers, which is suitable for use for all staff who are vulnerable or at risk of contracting COVID19, including people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.

Employers are still under legal obligations to ensure the decisions they make in response to COVID-19 do not directly or indirectly discriminate. Employers should not make biased assumptions and use those to disadvantage workers or block them from the job market.

Comply: The laws that keep us safe must be obeyed

Business owners and retail operators must continue to fulfil their legal duties under new and existing health and safety laws, including maintaining and protecting the health, safety, and well-being of employees and contractors; members of the public and customers.

For your workforce you must determine what steps are needed to create a safe working environment. Employees also have a legal responsibility to their employer and each other to follow instructions concerning safe working practices.

For everyone In Wales – as outlined above – a person responsible for carrying on a business, or providing a service included under Part 4 of Section 1 of the Coronavirus Regulations must undertake the following in respect of any premises where the business is carried on or the service is provided. They must take all reasonable measures to ensure that a distance of 2m is maintained between any persons on the premises; that persons are only admitted to the business premises in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain that distance; and that a distance of 2m is maintained between persons waiting to enter the business premises. In doing so, they must regard the Statutory Guidance and supplementary guidance on taking all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing in the workplace. The distancing requirements do not apply to members of the same household, or carers of any individuals.

Involve: We all share the responsibility for public health

Operators are required by law to protect their employees, and others, from harm. They also have a duty of care for their own safety and those of others, which would include customers and other members of the public on premises. This is a shared responsibility.

Involve members of the public and customers with clear communications and advice.

Maintain regular and meaningful communication with employees and with the recognised trade union or, if there isn’t one, a representative chosen by workers (including their health and safety committee, if this exists). This should identify and deal with risks before anyone re-starts work, or manage risks on an ongoing basis. Staff should be involved with implementing control measures and reporting risks to protect workers and visitors.

Adapt: We will all need to change how we work

The main aims are to take all reasonable measures to ensure that 2m distance is  kept between all people in respect of any premises where the business is carried on or the service is provided, and to implement robust hygiene measures.

Consultation and communication will help to identify the essential hygiene protocols, equipment and measures that are needed to keep the workplace safe from COVID-19 and limit its transmission. There is a growing body of industry specific guidance and examples of good practice available to draw upon: including this one.

Communicate: We must all understand what to do

It is essential that there is clear, precise and constant communication between members of the public and customers, as well as employees and contractors, and anyone else on premises. It is important that everyone gets the same message and same instruction. Employers should ensure that communications are accessible for all. 

The aim is to give clear communications and assurance of the management of COVID-19 risk.
 

Thinking about risk

Objective: That all operators carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment.

Everyone needs to assess and manage the risks of COVID-19. As an operator, you also have a legal responsibility to protect members of the public and customers, employees and contractors from risk to their health and safety.

This means you need to think about the risks they face and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them, recognising you cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.

You must make sure that the risk assessment for your business addresses the risks of COVID-19, using this guidance to inform your decisions and control measures. A risk assessment is not about creating  huge amounts of paperwork, but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your retail premises and any other workplace. Your risk assessment will help you decide whether you  have done everything you need to. There are interactive tools available to support you from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at Managing risks and risk assessments at work.

Employers have a duty to consult the workforce on health and safety. You can do this by listening and talking to them about the work and how you will manage risks from COVID-19. The people who do the work are often the best people to understand the risks in the workplace and will have a view on how to work safely.

Involving them in making decisions shows that you take their health and safety seriously. You must consult with the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union or, if there isn’t one, a representative chosen by workers. As an employer, you cannot decide who the representative will be.

At its most effective, full involvement of your workers creates a culture where relationships between employers and workers are based on collaboration, trust and joint problem solving. As is normal practice, workers should be involved in assessing workplace risks and the development and review of workplace health and safety policies in partnership with the employer.

Employers and workers should always come together to resolve issues. If concerns still cannot be resolved, see below for further steps you can take.

If an individual is concerned about the safety measures in respect of any premises where a business is carried on or the service provided, then they can report this to the Public Protection services of  the relevant local authority (which include environmental health and health and safety).

Where the enforcing authority, such as your local authority, identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they will consider taking a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. For example, this would cover operators not taking all reasonable measures to ensure the 2m distancing requirements.

Managing risk

Objective: To reduce risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures, in order of priority.

Employers and business owners have a duty to reduce risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures.

A person responsible for carrying on a business or providing a service must work with any other employers or contractors sharing the workplace – as well as with customers – so that everybody’s health and safety is protected.

All risks must be assessed, with meaningful discussion with staff and/or their recognised trade union, before re-commencing work. Risk assessments should include those working from home. If you are required by law to have a written risk assessment (where there are five or more employees) then significant findings must be written down and control measures put in place. Risk assessments are a legal requirement for pregnant women, no matter the size of the business and further guidance is available for employers of pregnant women.

From a staffing perspective, in the context of COVID-19 this means working through these steps in order:

  • Where it is reasonably practicable for a person to work from home then they must not be leaving home for their work. The most effective way of ensuring physical distancing is to enable some or all staff to work from home, some or all of the time. There is an expectation that employers should be as flexible as possible and make adjustments wherever that is possible. This may include issuing staff with laptops or mobile phones and facilitating communication from wherever members of staff may be.
  • Where working from home is not reasonably practicable, all reasonable measures must be taken to maintain a physical distance of 2m between those in the workplace.
  • In addition, in every workplace, increasing the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning of hand contact surfaces in particular – should be undertaken. Use hand wipes to clean computers and surfaces.
  • Where reasonable measures cannot be taken and where closer working is required, it is important that other measures are considered, for example: minimising the level of interaction, using physical barriers, increased hygiene, environmental cleanliness and reminders about the importance of hygiene, washing hands well for 20 seconds with soap and drying thoroughly, or using alcohol based hand sanitisers, before and after close contact.
  • If people must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, then you will need to assess whether the activity can safely go ahead. No one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment.
  • In your assessment you should have particular regard to whether the people doing the work are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
  • Ensure those with symptoms are not present on the premises.

Your risk assessment must also extend beyond the workforce. Anyone responsible for carrying on a retail business, or providing a service that can operate or re-open in Wales must also take all reasonable measures to reflect the 2m physical distancing duties already outlined in respect of any premises where the business is carried on or the service is provided.

If you are currently operating, you are likely to have gone through a lot of this thinking already. We recommend that you use this document to identify any further improvements you should make. You must review the measures you have put in place to make sure they are working. You should also review them if they may no longer be effective or if there are changes that could lead to new risks.

Sharing the results of your risk assessment

We would encourage all businesses to demonstrate to their workers and customers that they have properly assessed their risks and taken appropriate mitigating measures. If possible, you should publish this information on your website particularly where you are an employer with over 50 workers. Below you will find a notice that you may wish to display in your workplace or on your premises to show that you have followed this guidance.

Who should go to work: protecting your workforce

Objective: Ensuring that where it is reasonably practicable, people work from home.

Steps that will usually be needed:

Staff must work from home if it is reasonably practicable for them to do so.

  • Considering who is needed to be on site; for example: workers in roles critical for business and operational continuity, safe  facility  management, or regulatory requirements and which cannot be performed remotely; workers in critical roles which might be performed remotely, but who are unable to work remotely due to home circumstances or the unavailability of safe enabling equipment.
  • Planning for the minimum number of people needed on site to operate safely and effectively.
  • Monitoring the well-being of  people who are working from home and helping them stay connected to the rest of the workforce, especially if the majority of their colleagues are on-site.
  • Keeping in touch with off-site workers on their working arrangements including their welfare, mental and physical health and personal security. Other businesses to which employees may need to travel, if not listed in Part 4 of Schedule 1 to the Regulations, will be subject to a similar duty to ensure 2m distance is kept between people on premises when work is being carried out.
  • Providing equipment for people  to work at home safely and effectively, for example, remote access to work systems.

Protecting people who are at higher risk

Objective: To protect extremely vulnerable and vulnerable individuals.

  • Extremely vulnerable individuals have been strongly advised not to work outside the home.
  • Vulnerable individuals, who are at higher risk of severe illness (for example, people with some pre-existing conditions), have been asked to take extra care in observing physical distancing and should be helped to work from home, either in their current role or in an alternative role. If vulnerable (but not extremely vulnerable) individuals cannot work from home, they should be offered the option of the safest available on-site roles, enabling them to stay 2m away from others. If they have to spend time within 2m of others, you should carefully assess whether this involves an acceptable level of risk. As for any workplace risk you must take into account specific duties to those with protected characteristics, including, for example, expectant mothers who are, as always, entitled to suspension on full pay if suitable roles cannot be found. Particular attention should also be paid to people who live with extremely vulnerable individuals.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • Providing support for workers around mental health and well-being. This could include advice or telephone support.
  • See current social distancing guidance for advice on who is in the extremely vulnerable and vulnerable groups.
  • See current guidance for shielded individuals that need particular consideration.

People who need to self-isolate

Objective: To make sure individuals who are advised to stay at home under existing social distancing guidance do not physically come to work. This includes individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, those who live in a household with someone who has symptoms and those who are advised to self-isolate as part of our Test, Trace, Protect programme.

Steps that will usually be needed:

Equality in the workplace

Objective: To treat everyone in your workplace equally.

  • In applying this guidance, employers should be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers or individuals.
  • It is unlawful to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, sex, disability, race or ethnicity.
  • Employers also have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers and those who are new or expectant mothers.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • Understanding and taking into account the particular circumstances of those with different protected characteristics.
  • Involving and communicating appropriately with workers whose protected characteristics might either expose them to a different degree of risk, or might make any steps you are thinking about inappropriate or challenging for them.
  • Considering whether you need to put in place any particular measures or adjustments to take account of your duties under the equalities legislation.
  • Making reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage, and assessing the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.
  • Making sure that the steps you take do not have an unjustifiable negative impact on some groups compared to others, for example, those with caring responsibilities or those with religious commitments.

Managing the premises: ensuring that colleagues and customers are protected

Together with Usdaw, the Welsh Retail Consortium and the British Retail Consortium have developed practical guidance for customers and retailers to minimise exposure to COVID-19.

Objective: Ensuring that staff understand what they need to do.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • Ensuring all staff are aware of the physical distancing requirements in the Coronavirus Regulations in Wales and trained on how they should support these measures being observed. Remind staff that physical distancing applies in all areas of the premises, including non- customer facing areas.
  • Ensuring all staff are aware of changes to cleaning regimes and are clear about what is expected of them.
  • Providing regular and visible written or verbal communication of key messages regarding coronavirus.
  • Providing frequent reminders using the following: additional signage to ask staff not to turn up for work if they have symptoms, written communication, posters and informational signs, daily reminders to all staff via noticeboard and/or intranet.

Limiting spread of COVID-19 on your premises

Objective: To limit the spread of COVID-19 in any premises where the business is carried out or the service is provided.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • Taking all reasonable measures to ensure that a distance of 2m is maintained between people on your premises.
  • Taking all reasonable measures to ensure that persons are only admitted to the premises in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain distance. Assess the size of the premises and its layout, this will enable you to calculate the number of customers who can reasonably follow 2m physical distancing.
  • Providing regular and visible written/ verbal communications to your staff and customers.
  • Providing daily reminders about hand washing and correct coughing etiquette using the following: additional signage, written communication, posters and informational materials.
  • Providing hand sanitiser in high traffic/ customer interaction areas such as: till points, changing rooms (if open), staff rooms, backdoor for staff and delivery drivers.
  • Reviewing the cleaning regime – especially around high use areas and multi-person contact points, including door handles, keypads. Toilets, if open, should be cleaned regularly throughout the day and at the end of the day.
  • Providing additional pop-up handwashing stations or facilities if possible. Provide soap, water and hand sanitiser, if available.
  • Facilitating regular handwashing breaks for all staff.
  • Introducing frequent deep cleaning of work areas, with attention to multi contact points – for example, between shifts, staff change overs and/or during breaks.
  • Encouraging the use of disinfectant wipes to clean all equipment before and after each use and ensure there are
  • sufficient waste disposal points for waste generated.
  • Staggering staff shift start, end and break times to avoid crowding.
  • Arranging shifts to maintain same staff working together, where possible.
  • Consider alternative tasks for staff where concerns are raised.
  • Providing sufficient gloves 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.
  • Reminding staff not to share items for example, pens when signing in or out.
  • Considering how staff security checks can be managed while maintaining physical distancing.

Areas outside the store (including customer areas, deliveries and public areas)

Objective: Managing outside areas effectively.

Steps that will usually be needed:

Physical distancing

  • Taking all reasonable measures to ensure that a distance of 2m is maintained on your premise or between people waiting to enter your premises.
  • Limiting the number of entry and exit points into and out of the premises. Consider having separate entrance and exit points if possible.
  • Using a colleague to meet customers, explain the physical distancing requirements and control the number of customers entering the premises at any one time. In some circumstances, that colleague may need to be SIA licensed.
  • Considering whether temporary barriers should be available in case it is necessary to stop people joining a queue.
  • Placing clear signage outside the premises explaining the physical distancing measures in place that customers should follow and remind people that anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should be following government guidance.
  • Placing markings outside the premises to assist correct queue spacings.
  • Encouraging customers to shop alone wherever possible. Please bear in mind that this is not always possible, for example where people need to be accompanied by carers.
  • Working with neighbouring businesses and local authorities to consider how to spread the number of people arriving throughout the day for example by staggering opening hours; this will help reduce demand on public transport at key times and avoid overcrowding.
  • Speaking with neighbouring businesses and relevant partners such as local authorities, landowners, shopping centre managers and BIDs (where they exist) to determine the best way to avoid congestion for queues outside shops. In the event of a dispute between business owners over a contested outside space, we suggest the business owner discusses the issue with their local authority or landlord to help resolve any dispute.
  • Considering whether additional security staff may be required to support staff.
  • Scheduling deliveries to avoid crowding in delivery areas. Consider non-contact stock deliveries.

Hygiene and cleaning

  • Providing cleaning stations at front of your premises including: hand sanitiser, if available and disinfectant wipes or spray and tissue for trolley/basket handles.
  • Identifying and regularly cleaning key touch points e.g. door handles, lift buttons, keypads, stair/escalator hand rails.

The shop floor and till areas

Objective: Managing specific areas within your premises effectively.

Steps that will usually be needed:

Physical distancing

  • Using floor markings inside to facilitate compliance with the 2m physical distancing requirements outlined above, particularly in the most crowded areas and where queuing is likely.
  • Placing clear signage throughout the premises, reminding customers of the physical distancing measures and asking them to follow these rules.
  • Reviewing the layout of the store to ensure aisles/walkways are as clear as possible to accommodate 2m physical distancing, including the removal of promotional fixtures if necessary.
  • Considering one-way systems using floor markings and signage to highlight system and direction.
  • Making regular announcements to remind staff and customers to follow physical distancing advice.
  • Erecting physical barriers at till points using flexi-plastic to provide a barrier for those working on the tills.
  • Considering using staff to manage the flow of customers to checkouts if necessary.
  • Considering closing every other till point where till points are close together. Assess whether this is also necessary for self-scan tills.
  • Leaving non-essential doors open to minimise the number of people who touch them. This does not apply to fire doors.
  • Setting customer order collection points to ensure 2m distancing either by floor markings or by limiting the number of customers that can wait at a time.
  • Limiting the number of customers in enclosed spaces such as lifts.
  • Removing promotions and features where customers are likely to congregate, such as product demonstrations.
  • Considering restocking/replenishing only outside opening hours. If replenishment must be done in opening hours, assess how this can be done without compromising employee or customer safety.
  • Encouraging cashless purchases.

Hygiene and cleaning

  • Including physical barriers at till points in cleaning programmes.
  • Regularly wiping self-checkout touch screens/keypads – If these remain in operation. Ideally do this between each use.
  • Facilitating handwashing breaks.
  • Cleaning till points between staff using usual cleaning products.

The handling of goods, merchandise and other materials

Objective: Safely managing the handling of goods, merchandise and other materials.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • Encouraging increased handwashing and introducing more handwashing facilities for workers and customers or providing hand sanitiser where this is not practical.
  • Limiting customer handling of merchandise, for example, through different display methods, new signage or rotation, or cleaning of high touch stock with your usual cleaning products.
  • Putting in place picking-up and dropping- off collection points where possible, rather than passing goods hand-to-hand.
  • Staggering collection times for customers collecting items, with a queuing system in place to ensure a distance of 2m.
  • Setting up return procedures where customers take return goods to a designated area.
  • Encouraging contactless refunds, where possible.
  • Storing items that have been returned, donated or brought in for repair in a container or separate room for 48 hours, or cleaning such items with usual cleaning products, before displaying them on the shop floor. Materials used for cleaning can be disposed of normally.
  • Providing guidance to how workers can safely assist customers with handling large item purchases.
  • Considering placing protective coverings on large items that may require customer testing or use, for example, furniture, beds or seats. Ensuring frequent cleaning of these coverings between uses, using usual cleaning products.
  • 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.

Changing rooms, customer seating and special assistance

Objective: Safely managing changing rooms, customer seating and special assistance services.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • Considering keeping changing rooms closed. If this is not possible, you should have a member of staff in place at all times to ensure physical distancing is maintained. Provide hand sanitiser in these areas.
  • Where customers require specialist advice/assistance, ensure colleagues giving the advice have a clearly designated position, ideally with a secure barrier as provided at till points.
  • Removing or limiting  customer seating in store. If seating is provided, space out appropriately.
  • If you provide in-store products for customers to trial prior to purchase e.g. TVs, headphones, computers these must be set up to enable physical distancing rules to be followed and provide hand sanitiser in these areas. Consider whether it is better for staff to demonstrate instead of customers touching the item or stop services which require direct physical interaction with customers. Beauty and nail salons are specifically required to remain closed under the Regulations.
  • Specialised make-up and skincare advice can be provided if following strict hygiene and physical distancing protocols.
  • If your business chooses choose not to assist customers with large purchases e.g. 60” TV to their car, it is advisable to highlight this prior to purchase. If your business are providing this service they should provide suitable protection and advice for this to be conducted safely.
  • Specialised fitting and measuring services can be provided if following strict hygiene and physical distancing protocols.

Customer cafes and toilets 

Objective: Make all public areas and conveniences safe.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • Considering whether it is safe to keep customer toilets open or if these should be available on request only.
  • If open, regular cleaning should include manual multi-person touch points such as door handles, flushes, taps etc.
  • Baby changing facilities should be available but increase the frequency of cleaning.
  • Cafes and restaurants are closed until further notice unless offering hot or cold food to be consumed off the premises. Seating areas should be securely closed off to ensure customers do not use them.

Staff areas

Objective: Keep workers safe in every part of the workplace.

Workplace cafes/canteens may remain open where both (1) there is no practical alternative for staff at  that  workplace to obtain food; and (2) all reasonable measures are taken to ensure that a distance of 2m is maintained between any person using the canteen. Where possible, staff should be encouraged to bring their own food.

Steps that will usually be needed:

Physical distancing

  • Permitting staff to use rest areas if they apply the same physical distancing measures.
  • Ensuring that staff that go outside the store for a break maintain physical distancing from any colleagues or public.
  • Promoting hand hygiene and physical distancing via notices placed visibly in these areas.
  • Taking all reasonable measures to ensure that a distance of 2m is maintained.
  • Introducing a staggered or extended break rota to avoid crowding.
  • Spacing out chairs and tables, for example, by removal or marking as “do not use”.
  • Removing sofas from break areas.
  • Considering providing a takeaway service to avoid crowding in the canteen.
  • Permitting food consumption or breaks to be taken outside of usual areas.
  • Restricting number of people using designated smoking areas at one time. Also consider increasing the number of designated areas or asking staff to smoke off-site.

Hygiene and cleaning

  • Placing notices promoting hand hygiene and physical distancing visibly in these areas.
  • Reminding staff to wash their hands regularly using soap and water for 20 seconds before and after eating.
  • Providing hand sanitiser at entry/exit points.
  • Canteen staff should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and before and after handling food.
  • If possible, increasing the number of hand washing stations available.
  • Cutlery trays should be avoided. Cutlery and condiments can be issued to the person when they purchase any food.
  • Frequently cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are touched regularly, using your standard cleaning products.

Delivery networks

Objective: Protecting the health of employers, contractors and customers when undertaking deliveries or off-site services.

Detailed guidance is being produced for working in and out of vehicles and working in other people’s homes – visit the Keep Wales Safe – at Work section of the Business Wales website.

Steps that will usually be needed:

Physical distancing

  • Restricting all non-essential visitors to sites/hubs/warehouses.
  • Offering non-contact deliveries, where the nature of the product allows.
  • Where delivery staff must enter customer homes e.g. delivery of large items, contact the customer on the day of the delivery to ensure that they are not self-isolating or experiencing symptoms. If they are, cancel and reschedule the delivery.
  • Asking to maintaining a 2m distance when entering customer homes.
  • Customer order collection points should be set up to ensure the 2m separation either by floor markings or by limiting the number of customers that can enter at a time.

Hygiene and cleaning

  • Hands should be washed with soap and water on arrival and departure. Hand sanitiser should be supplied in case it is not possible to wash hands.
  • Sanitiser and wipes should be provided in all delivery vehicles and at entry/exit points to sites.
  • Ensuring vehicle cabs are cleaned regularly especially between shifts and at the end of day.

Regular review and compliance checking

It is important that any of the measures put in place are regularly checked to ensure customer and colleagues’ understanding and compliance. With regards to customer compliance, retailers should review their in-store and out-of-store security measures and requirements on a regular basis. Public facing retail staff could be faced with difficult situations when trying to manage physical distancing measures and other requirements (e.g. non-compliance).

Staff should be supported when trying to implement control measures and it is important that it is made clear to customers to treat staff with respect. This can be done through increased signage and the appropriate action where necessary. Retailers and government have a duty to protect shop workers, and there must be a zero tolerance approach to verbal and physical abuse from customers, with clear measures in place to protect staff and deal with abusive customers.

Accidents, security and other incidents

Objective: To prioritise safety during incidents.

  • In an emergency, for example, an accident, provision of first aid, fire or break-in, people do not have to stay 2m apart if it would be unsafe.
  • People involved in the provision of assistance to others should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards including washing hands to.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  • Reviewing your incident and emergency procedures to ensure they reflect the physical distancing principles as far as possible.
  • Considering the security implications of any changes you intend to make to your operations and practices in response to COVID-19, as any revisions may present new or altered security risks which may need mitigations.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face coverings

PPE protects the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. It also includes respiratory protective equipment, such as face masks.

Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should continue to do so.

At the start of this document we described the steps you need to take to manage COVID-19 risk in the workplace. This includes working from home and taking all reasonable measures to maintain 2m physical distancing on your premises.

When managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not recommended. This is because COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through physical distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.

The exception is clinical settings, like a hospital, or a small handful of other roles  for which Public Health Wales advises use of PPE. For example, first responders and immigration enforcement officers. If you are in one of these groups you should refer to the advice on the NHS Wales website.

Unless you are in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that the role of PPE in providing additional protection is extremely limited. However, if your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, then you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Any PPE provided must fit properly.

More information on PPE in Wales: Coronavirus and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Face coverings

There are some circumstances when wearing a face covering may be marginally beneficial as a precautionary measure.

The evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you, but it may protect others if you are infected but have not developed symptoms.

A face covering can be very simple and may be worn in enclosed spaces where physical distancing isn’t possible (see below). A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of higher specification PPE. Similarly, face coverings are not the same as the PPE used to manage risks like dust and spray in an industrial context.

Supplies of PPE, including face masks, must continue to be reserved for those who  need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.

It is important to know that the evidence of the benefit of using a face covering to protect others is weak and the effect is likely to be small, therefore face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including minimising time spent in contact, using fixed teams and partnering for close-up work, and increasing hand and surface washing. These other measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace and we would therefore not expect to see employers relying on face coverings as risk management for the purpose of their health and safety assessments.

Wearing a face covering is optional and is not required by law, including in the workplace. A three-layer face covering is recommended for the public for short- term use where other controls, such as physical distancing, are not possible. This could include on public transport. If worn, effective face coverings should have a water repellent outer layer if possible, and are comprised of 3 layers of different fabrics, which are non- stretchy. They should fit well with no air gaps around sides and under chin. They are not a substitute for other preventative measures, such as physical distancing. Where 2m physical distancing can be maintained in Wales we do not recommend wearing a face covering. We do not recommend that they are compulsory; however, we do support the public’s right to choose whether or not to wear them.

Employers should support their workers in using face coverings safely if they choose to wear one. This means telling workers:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser, and dry thoroughly before putting a face covering on, and before and after removing it.
  • When wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands.
  • To not hang a face covering from the neck or pull down from the nose.
  • Change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it.
  • Continue to wash your hands regularly.
  • Change and wash your face covering daily.
  • If the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual waste and help keep Wales tidy.
  • Practise physical distancing wherever possible.

You can make face coverings at home and can find guidance on how to do this and use them safely.

What to do if you are concerned about workplace safety

If you are concerned about the safety in measures in your workplace or in a workplace you visit you should report it to your line manager in the first instance. Concerns can be reported to the Public Protection services of your local authority (which include environmental health and health and safety). These service areas are responsible for advice and enforcement.

Where to find out more

UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced a short guide called Working Safely during the Coronavirus Outbreak.

The guide contains information on:

  • assessing risk
  • specific advice for your industry
  • talking with your workers
  • who should go to work?
  • protecting people who are at higher risk
  • getting into and leaving work
  • work area
  • moving around
  • common areas
  • good hygiene
  • information and guidance
  • PPE (personal protective equipment)

The Health and Safety Executive has also produced useful advice for employers and their staff about how to work safely from home during the pandemic.

In-Work Support

There are a number of Welsh Government funded programmes ready to help people returning to work and facing urgent issues affecting their well-being and welfare. The In-Work Support Project provides support to employed and self-employed people with mental health conditions. The Project also has a package of support available to SMEs in North Wales delivered by Rhyl City Strategy, and delivered in South West Wales by Swansea Bay University Health Board as Wellbeing through Work.

Healthy Working Wales

The Healthy Working Wales website brings together advice on a wide range of useful topics, including self-isolation, shielding and protecting vulnerable people, medical certification, close working with others, critical workers requiring PPE and testing, and more.

The website also signposts to links through to Public Health Wales ('How are you doing?’ campaign website) and the Society of Occupational Medicine Returning to the Workplace after the COVID-19 Outbreak Toolkit.

Time to Change Wales

Time to Change Wales helps people who face difficult conversations about mental health and stigma in the workplace, with a strong focus on how to show kindness during COVID-19. In their words:

Now, more than ever, it’s important we show kindness to one other. Giving and receiving acts of kindness can help to improve mental well- being by creating positive feelings.

Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has also produced COVID-19 guidance for employers, which assist them when making difficult decisions to take account of their obligations under the Equality Act. More information can be found at Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance for Employers.

Developed in partnership with the Welsh Retail Consortium/British Retail Consortium and Usdaw.

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