As of the 15th June, all non-essential shops will be able to reopen subject to following government guidelines. For many small business owners this will come as welcome news, but what should you be doing to make sure your shop re-opens as safely as possible?
We’ve put together some tips below to talk you through the best post lock-down practices for your business.
- Conduct a risk assessment
- Implement hand-washing and cleaning procedures
- Consider you customers and queuing
- Arrange staff rotas
- Keep your stock safe
1. Conduct a risk assessment
As an employer, it’s your duty to make sure your staff and customers are safe at all times. Conducting a risk assessment will help you to discover any potential dangers and form the basis of your re-opening action plan.
HSE Guidance is available to help you conduct your assessment, and you can also speak with your trade union for more advice. The results should be shared with your team and on your website (where applicable).
2. Implement hand-washing and cleaning procedures
Washing hands thoroughly and regularly has been one of the key preventative measures put in place to tackle coronavirus. Ensure you’re providing hand sanitiser throughout your premises, for your employees and customers if you can. Be sure to encourage everyone to follow the guidance on hand-washing and hygiene by placing posters and visuals in plain sight.
You should also ensure you’re regularly disinfecting any surfaces or objects that are being touched often, including; door handles, light switches, tills, card machines, baskets and trolleys.
3. Consider you customers and queuing
Social distancing measures are still in place, meaning your customers need to stay 2 meters apart. This might mean you have to limit the number of people in your shop at once to keep everyone safe. Placing markings on the floor and clear advice on your business’s new shopping policy will encourage your customers to follow your new procedure.
If internal space is an issue set up a queuing system outside of the building (if it’s safe to do so) and try to encourage customers to shop alone to maximise space.
4. Arrange staff rotas
Where possible, try and fix your workforce in to set teams or groups. This means that where contact is unavoidable its happening between the same people. You should also introduce a staggered break and lunchtime rota, reducing the amount of people in rest areas at the same time. If there are safe areas outside, try to encourage the use of these during break times.
5. Keep your stock safe
Try to discourage customer handling of merchandise where you can. This might mean you have to change your displays, putting up some signage or regularly rotating high-touch stock.
Ideally, any changing rooms should be closed for the time being. If that’s not possible, be sure to create procedures to manage items that have been tried on, for example by delaying their return to the shop floor for 72 hours.
You should also think about your returns procedure. You should allocate a dedicate returns point, keeping it separate from your purchase area. Any returns should either be kept in a separate room for 72 hours, or cleaned thoroughly before being displayed on the shop floor again.
Posted on June 01, 2020 | COVID-19, coronavirus, business news, business tips