The British Independent Retailers Association has written an open letter to retail businesses urging them to revisit safety protocols – and saying independents must ‘lead the way and set an example’.
The letter from CEO Andrew Goodacre says the sector is in a ‘fragile state’ and calls on all retailers – whether they are open, or preparing to reopen – to ramp up safety practices in a bid to stop any further lockdowns and reduce high street casualties.
“We need the public and the Government to know that shopping is safe,” Andrews said. “While the focus on safety may have slipped in some larger chain stores, independent retailers must lead the way and set an example.”
He wrote in the letter: “It is essential we all take action to prevent further lockdowns and retail casualties. We must keep retailing safe in the eyes of the public and the Government.”
HANDS, FACE, SPACE
And he recommended:
* Hands – “As retailers we must return our focus to supplying sufficient hand sanitisation stations for customers. Where possible, staff or signs should encourage customers to use hand sanitiser, sanitise trolleys and baskets, and avoid touching items they do not intend to buy.”
* Face – “Please encourage all customers to wear a face covering unless they are medically exempt. We recommend asking customers to comply and consider offering a complimentary mask if they do not have their own. Be aware that there is currently no law requiring the medically-exempt to provide proof, and so it is best practice to accept those who claim exemption.”
* Space – “The two-metre rule still applies, even when wearing a face covering; one does not replace the other. Revisit your risk assessment – situations change, regulations change, restrictions change. Now is the time to revisit your risk assessment and ensure it covers back office operations, as well as front-of-house staff who mix with customers. Communicate your plan with all staff.”
In the letter, Andrew says it is important to work together – whether this means working with neighbouring retail stores to promote safety messages or seeking advice from trade associations or government organisations.
“It’s time we all play our part in beating covid-19 and making 2021 the year we recovered from this pandemic.”