Wholesalers have updated their safety guidelines to prepare for increased footfall under eased lockdown measures.

This month, prime minister Boris Johnson said some schools would be allowed to open in June, followed in July by pubs and restaurants.

Since lockdown began, Parfetts has taken measures such as hiring professional security guards to enforce social distancing.

To help maintain these measures ahead of the lockdown relaxation, Parfetts retail director Guy Swindell said the company had added new shifts, which had reduced the number of staff on site at any one time, while still supporting stock replenishment. “Communications have increased to help retailers when visiting Parfetts and in their own stores,” he added.

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Bestway Wholesale has begun deep-cleaning its depots while increasing deliveries of products such as hand sanitisers to retailers.

United Wholesale Scotland has conducted similar deep cleans in its warehouses and two of its Day-Today symbol group stores, using equipment designed for hospitals.

A Booker spokesperson said the wholesaler had “implemented some changes” in its cash and carries, such as reducing the number of tills in operation to maintain social distancing and limiting the number of customers in depots.

Tom Gittins, managing director of wholesale buying group Confex, added: “The majority of our wholesale members, who supply retailers, restaurants and schools, have been reopening.

United Wholesale deep cleans depots and stores

“We’ve got suppliers who can provide their staff in warehouses with additional personal protective equipment and we’re giving advice on how to complete the government’s coronavirus risk assessment checklist.”

The Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) has also been advising the Scottish government on guidance for the phased reopening of retail stores.

SWA chief executive Colin Smith said the guidance is due to be published soon and told betterRetailing: “As phased lifting starts, lessons can be taken from our sector and applied to other distribution industries and retail sectors.”

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The Federation of Wholesale Distributors has no updated guidance on the ease of lockdown restrictions, but sent out the latest updates from the government to help support its members.

The increased measures come as retailers reported other customers not following social distancing at Booker, Dhamecha and Bestway cash and carries.

Despite the increased measures, Ralph Patel, of the Look-In in Banstead, Surrey, said he was concerned social distancing would be harder to enforce with increased footfall.

“I still see customers not following social distancing guidelines,” he added.

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