shops consider keeping covid restrictions

New safety guidance to help people running or working in shops after ‘Freedom Day’ has been issued by the government.

The advice identifies the priority actions needed to protect staff and customers, and includes sections on reducing risks, ventilation, who should go to work, cleaning, PPE and face masks.

Meanwhile, the NFRN is calling for the government to include shop staff on the list of vital workers allowed to avoid self-isolating if contacted by the test and trace app.

The government announced earlier this week that workers in food production would be exempt from isolating if they had received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine, in a bid to keep the supply chain moving. But with thousands of shop staff now affected there are growing fears stores will be forced to close.

A summary of the priority actions government now recommends to make your business safer follows:

Complete a health and safety risk assessment

Store owners should complete a health and safety risk assessment which also includes the threat from Covid-19, and which considers the measures set out in the new advice from government.

Reasonable adjustments should also be considered where needed for staff and customers with disabilities. Share the assessment with all your staff and keep it updated. 

Click here to out how to do a risk assessment
Provide adequate ventilation

Make sure there is a supply of fresh air to indoor spaces where there are people present. This can be natural ventilation through opening windows, doors and vents, mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, or a combination of both.

You should identify any poorly ventilated spaces in your premises and take steps to improve fresh air flow in these areas. In some places, a CO2 monitor can help identify if the space is poorly ventilated. 

Read the advice on air conditioning and ventilation on the HSE website
Clean more often

It’s especially important to clean surfaces people touch frequently, such as door handles, card terminals and tills. You should ask your staff and customers to use hand sanitiser and to clean their hands frequently.

Turn away people with Covid-19 symptoms

Staff members or customers should self-isolate if they or someone in their household has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell. They must also self-isolate if they or a close contact has had a positive Covid-19 result, or if they have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

If you know a worker is self-isolating, it is an offence to allow them to come to work.

Enable people to check in at your shop

You’re no longer legally required to collect customer contact details, but doing so will support NHS Test and Trace to contact those who may have been exposed to Covid-19 so they can book a test.

You can enable people to check in to your store by displaying an NHS QR code poster. You do not have to ask people to check in or turn people away if they refuse. If you choose to display a QR code, you should also have a system in place to record contact details for people who want to check in but do not have the app.

Communicate and train

Keep all your workers, contractors and visitors up-to-date on how you’re using and updating safety measures.

Click here to access to the full guidance on the government's website

Find out more on our coronavirus information hub for retailers