Shopworkers union Usdaw and the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC), along with the Scottish government have partnered to launch a five-step guide to encourage “considerate shopping”, as retailers are permitted to re-open their stores from today (29 June).
The trade unions said the reopening of non-essential shops marks a “crucial time” for hundreds of retailers and thousands of jobs in Scotland, as retail is Scotland’s largest private sector employer, and according to the SRC’s Scottish Retail Sales Monitor, retail sales in Scotland fell significantly in April and May.
The five steps include: Queue considerate, maintain social distancing, follow instructions inside and outside shops, follow all necessary hygiene measures and be respectful to shop staff.
Earlier this month, Usdaw urged customers to respect staff and employers to ensure safety in stores.
The news comes as Usdaw released statistics revealing one in six shop workers have suffered abuse on every shift, during the coronavirus pandemic.
The statistics revealed 62% of the 4,928 shopworkers surveyed have experienced verbal abuse, with almost a third being threatened by a customer. Usdaw also revealed 4% of employees were assaulted, which amounts to more than 3,500 every day when averaged across all retail workers.
Stewart Forrest, Usdaw’s Scottish divisional officer said: “Unfortunately the early part of the coronavirus crisis saw a rise in instances of abuse towards shop workers, and we are absolutely clear that ‘abuse is not part of the job’.
“Along with the SRC and Scottish government we have collaborated to produce guidance for shops of all sizes and locations to provide staff and customers with a safe shopping experience.”
He added: “Customers need to play their part and be patient, observe social distancing and show respect to shop workers, whilst ensuring high streets and town centres remain vibrant and a great shopping experience for everyone”.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, added: “It has never been more important to play our part in keeping our towns and retail destinations vibrant. Every visit we make helps support jobs in retail and throughout the supply chain.
She concluded: “Retailers have been working around the clock to create a safe shopping environment, so their customers can have the confidence to return to their favourite shops.
“Our shopping experience may be changing, but if we all follow the necessary social distancing and hygiene measures and show consideration to those around us, then everyone will be better off.”