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Indies urged to lead on Covid safety measures to protect ‘fragile’ retail sector

Independent retailers are being urged to lead the way in Covid safe shopping to protect a “fragile” UK retail sector. 

In an open letter to retail businesses, the CEO of the trade group BIRA 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.

Andrew Goodacre, said: “We need the public and the Government to know that shopping is safe.

“While the focus on safety may have slipped in some larger chain stores, independent retailers must lead the way, and set an example.”

“While the focus on safety may have slipped in some larger chain stores, independent retailers must lead the way, and set an example”

Goodacre adds that “while the focus on safety may have slipped in some larger chain stores, independent retailers must lead the way, and set an example”. 

The letter includes BIRA’s recommended five-point plan: 

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 sanitizer, sanitize 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.

Work together- Whether this means working with neighbouring retail stores to promote these safety messages or seeking advice from trade associations such as Bira, or government organisations.

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