Provided that they meet the government’s new COVID-19 secure guidelines, we are expecting non-essential retail businesses
to be able to reopen from 15th June. This is exciting news for Hatton Garden jewellers and retailers
who are raring to get back to business; and we want to ensure that you feel ready and able to reopen safely when the time comes.
This is why we’ve collated the necessary steps businesses need to take in order to become COVID-19 secure according to the latest government advice
, which will best prepare you to welcome back your workers and customers on 15th June.
This includes carrying out a specific compulsory risk assessment
and demonstrating that subsequent measures are being taken to keep workers and shoppers safe. It’s also important to note that businesses could also be subject to spot checks and investigations following any concerns raised by the public.
To read the full government document and access further resources designed to support businesses, please refer to the links at the end of this article.
COVID-19 Risk Assessments
Before they can reopen, all employers must complete a COVID-19 risk assessment in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and be confident that they are able to manage these risks.
Guidance on risk assessments is available here
from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Concerns about risks can be raised with Trade Unions or the HSE on 0300 003 1647 or via this contact form
Which employees should go into work?
Nobody is obliged to work in an unsafe environment.
Only those who cannot do their job at home should return to workplaces. This applies to most general retail staff. Having said that, retailers should plan to have the minimum number of people needed on site at any time
in order to operate safely and effectively.
Clinically extremely vulnerable people
should work from home if there is any helpful work they can do from home, or be furloughed if eligible.
Clinically vulnerable people
should also be offered the safest on-site roles (i.e. enabling them to keep 2 metres from others). Otherwise they are entitled to suspension on full pay via the furlough scheme.
Those who have symptoms of COVID-19
or live in a household with someone who has symptoms should self-isolate and should not come into work.
To ensure equality in the workplace, consider employees who have protected characteristics which make them especially vulnerable to coronavirus. Reasonable adjustments should be made for such workers.
For employees unable to work for any of the above reasons, monitor their welfare and keep in contact with them. For advice on maintaining strong contact with employees whilst working remotely, check out this article.
What social distancing measures are needed at work?
Maintain 2 metre social distancing wherever possible, including in the following instances:
If such activities are essential for the retail business to operate, reduce transmission risk by:
- Whilst entering and departing from work (pg. 12)
- Whilst travelling through the workplace and between sites (pg.12)
- Whilst in workplaces, at workstations and in meetings (pg. 13-14)
- Whilst in common areas and canteens (pg.14)
- Consider stopping activities where 2 metre social distancing is not possible.
- Detailed steps on how to mitigate risks to social distancing can be found on the page numbers noted above in the full document.
- Further increasing the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning
- Keeping the time involved in the activity as short as possible
- Splitting workers into fixed teams or shift groups, so that unavoidable contact happens between a limited number of people
How to manage customers to minimise contact
- Define and limit the maximum number customers which can visit your shop whilst maintaining 2 metre social distancing.
- Encourage customers to take responsibility for ensuring their children follow social distancing.
- Suspend or reduce services with customers which do not allow for social distancing.
- Use markings to designate positions from which colleagues can provide assistance.
- Provide and encourage use of facilities for customers to wash or sanitise their hands.
- Limit handling of merchandise, such as trying on jewellery.
- Encourage customers to shop alone.
- Introduce one-way flow systems and queue management to limit congestion.
- Queue outside where possible, using barriers and staff to direct customers.
- Provide additional parking and alternative facilities to discourage use of public transport.
- Ensure all measures make reasonable adjustments for disabled customers.
- Work with local authorities to account for any impact of these measures on public spaces.
- Work with local authorities and neighbouring businesses to stagger opening hours.
Cleaning precautions needed in workplaces
Clean work areas and equipment in between uses.
Frequently clean objects and surfaces touched regularly, including jewellery and displays.
For items which have been returned or brought in for repair
, store them in a separate container or room for 72 hours, or clean them before displaying them.
Communicating new guidance to employees and customers
Keep employees and customers informed
about all the above measures.
Prior to returning to workplaces, make training materials
available to workers to explain new ways of working.
Continue to regularly communicate
with workers following their return to ensure that procedures consistently adhered to, as well as to agree any changes in working arrangements.
Ongoing engagement with workers should monitor the impact of new ways of working. Please refer to specific government advice to address the importance of managing mental health with regard to this impact.
Additionally, make the latest guidance available to customers by communicating clear and simple information on social distancing and hygiene procedures.
This can be aided by signage and visual aids,
though ensure you offer both written and verbal options to consider the needs of customers who may be disabled or impaired, or for whom English is not their first language. All customers should understand what they need to do in order to maintain safety.
The full government document on working safely during COVID-19 in shops, published on 25th May, can be accessed here.
Further government resources include:
Camden Council are also offering support for businesses
, more details on which can be found here
If you would like support in preparing to reopen your business, the London Growth Hub
are offering free 1-2-1 advice sessions
. You can book an appointment and access other resources online here