Top tips for re-opening your business – keeping customers and employees safe
From 15 June non-essential retail businesses can start to reopen. Every business will have different challenges depending on the type of retail they are involved in, their location and range of customers. Businesses will need to maintain the social distancing, use hand sanitisers and increase cleansing to keep people safe. Here are some other tips.
Notification of Social distancing measures outside your business premise or in your town
Warwickshire County Council as the designated highway authority would like your assistance in ensuring the area outside your business is safe for pedestrians and is not damaged by any social distancing measures.
Please use the social distance marking outside business application form (DOC, 71 KB) to notify us of the measures you have installed to manage social distancing outside your premise or in your town centre.
COVID-19 Social Distancing & Queue Guidance for Warwickshire Places
Warwickshire County Council as the designated highway authority would like to offer this helpful guidance document which gives advice on how to manage queuing and social distance measures (PDF, 366 KB) outside your business premise.
What can I do before I re-open?
- Undertake a Risk Assessment of your business - You must make sure that the risk assessment for your business addresses the risks of COVID-19, using this guidance to inform your decisions and control measures. The above link provides a helpful guidance to the risk assessment and what you should consider.
- The layout of your premises – Spend time looking at the how your premises is laid out, so you can have a smooth flow of people, maintaining social distancing. Installing visible markers 2m apart can help, particularly in areas such as entrances and exists and at pay points.
- Speak to suppliers – It is important to plan how and when goods and supplies arrive at your premises to make sure it has minimum disruption to your suppliers and with your customers.
- Talking to your customers – Your website and social media is a good way to let your customers know what they can expect when they visit your business. Early communication can help you and your customers understand the changes to your retail premises, how many people will be allowed in the shop at a time, contactless payment whenever possible and cleansing and hand sanitisers.
- Communicating with your neighbours – It may be that your neighbouring businesses are planning to reopen at the same time. Talk to them about how they intend to operate.
What can you do to support your customers and staff?
- Your staff – Talk to your staff about the changes that you have made, serving and helping customers, payments and managing stock. This includes those customers who may be queuing. If possible organise your staff so they work in set teams. This will help minimise the risk of spread between staff. Importantly, your staff may have their own concerns about returning to work. Spending time checking on their wellbeing and signposting them to support is key to helping your business run smoothly. Access advice on mental wellbeing.
- Your customers – Welcoming your customers and explaining the changes to your premises when they enter will make their customer experience more enjoyable. Reducing the range of stock on display and encouraging customers to ask about products, rather than not touching products can be a valuable way of reducing the spread of the virus and will help keep them and your staff safe.
- Contactless payments – Encourage your customers to use contactless payments whenever possible.
- Increased cleanliness and hygiene - Frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched within the workplace, using your usual cleaning products. No additional PPE is required other than what you would normally use for cleaning. Hand sanitisers on entry and exit and encouraging customers and staff to use them can help reduce the risk of spread.
- Keeping safe - Ensure hand washing facilities or hand sanitisers are made available to staff to use between customer collections and frequently throughout the day. More information from GOV.UK on keeping safe.
- Returns Policy – keep returns away from display for 72 hours as the virus presence on materials and surfaces is likely to be significantly reduced after 72 hours.
- Personal Protective Equipment - When managing the risk of COVID-19, additional PPE beyond what you usually wear is not beneficial. This is because COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.
How can I best support my local area?
- Queue control - It is vital that you take steps to minimise and control queueing. Managing outside queues will help to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals or other businesses, for example by introducing queuing systems, using barriers and having staff direct customers. Speak to your local council about visible markers which illustrate 2m distance. They can provide helpful advice and guidance for your promises and the wider public space.
- Door control - If possible use different entry and exit points to your premises. Where this is not possible, ensuring there is door control can prevent customers from stepping forward to enter and other customers are exiting and help maintain social distancing.
- Talk to your neighbours - Liaise with your local authority and neighbouring businesses to help identify the best way to manage queues so they have minimal impact to take into account the impact of your processes, including queues, on public spaces such as high streets and public car parks
- Use of hand sanitisers - Encouraging customers to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the premises to reduce the risk of transmission by touching products while browsing. Working with your local authority or landlord.
- Signage - Be clear with customers where to queue, and place 2m markings with instructions/visual aids explaining the collection process
Travel guidance for employees
To support businesses with employees returning to work from the Monday 15 June, the Department for Transport has developed resources for employers
The above sets out some steps employers can take to help provide a safe return to work for employees on the transport network, including encouraging active travel, and travel outside peak hours.
New support for high streets
The High Streets Task Force has announced new training, expert advice and online resources for high streets in England today.
The High Streets Task Force will provide access to cutting-edge tools, training, information and advice for high streets across England as part of the government’s efforts to get shops back in business safely from 15 June
This support is open to local councils and all organisations involved with high streets and will include free access to online training programmes, webinars, data and intelligence on topics including recovery planning and coordination, public space and place marketing.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Update
As the Chancellor announced previously, from 1 July, employers can bring back to work employees that have previously been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant for their normal hours not worked. When claiming the grant for furloughed hours employers will need to report and claim for a minimum period of a week.
More helpful advice