BRC issues new guidance on re-opening stores

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has issued new guidance for shops regarding procedures to maintain when businesses re-open following the lockdown.

The BRC, alongside trade union Usdaw, said that whilst it is “not clear” when non-food businesses will re-open for business, retailers “need to be ready”.

It warned it is “likely” that some virus control restrictions will continue to be necessary following the lockdown, and has therefore issued the updated guidance.

Its newly-issued advice includes limiting the number of entry and exit points into and out of the store, as well as the number of customers in store at any time. 

It suggested an employee should meet customers, explain the social distancing requirements and control the customer numbers at entry points, as well as the introduction of temporary barriers and social distancing signage. 

Businesses in shopping centres should also discuss queue management with centre management to determine the best way to avoid congestion, according to the trade associations. 

Retailers have also been urged to provide cleaning stations at the front of stores, including hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes. The BRC said employees must identify and regularly clean key touch points, such as door handles, lift buttons and keypads.

Clothing retailers should consider keeping changing rooms closed after the lockdown, and if this is not possible, an employee should be in place at all times to ensure social distancing is maintained.

Meanwhile, customer seating in shops should be either limited or removed, while services that require direct interaction, such as make up advice, nail bars or personal shopping, should be put on hold. 

In its latest guidance, the BRC suggested shift starts and break times should be staggered to avoid crowding, and that shifts are arranged to maintain the same staff working together.

The group also asked managers and staff to consider what steps will be taken by where customers are not following social distancing measures.

The BRC said: “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 social distancing measures and other requirements (e.g. non-compliance).”

It added: “Staff should be supported when trying to manage and enforce government guidance and it is important that it is made clear to customers to treat staff with respect. 

“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.”

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