We are here to help support our businesses to plan for re-opening and adapting to operating in a COVID-Safe environment. On this page you will find links to Government and HSE guidance about how to reopen safely and links to resources that we have pulled together to help you buy equipment that you might need to operate safely.
Retail Re-opening guidance
The Government announced on Monday 25th May that all non-essential retail will be able to open from 15th June. They have produced revised guidance for retailers. You must read these before you re-open your premises. The guidance covers 8 key areas which can be used as a guide for your risk assessment. In addition, the Government require before re-opening, all businesses must be able to confirm that they have carried out the Government’s “5 Steps to Safer Working Together”.
- Carrying out a COVID-19 risk assessment – you will need to look at the risks of COVID-19 in your workplace and in your work practices and put in place actions that are reasonably practicable. It is not possible to eliminate the risk of COVID-19, it is possible to manage and reduce the risk. You must share this risk assessment with your employees. If you are a business with less than 5 employees you do not need to produce a written risk assessment.
- You have put in place cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures that are in line with Government guidance.
- You have taken reasonable steps to help people work from home.
- You have taken reasonable steps to maintain 2m social distancing.
- Where people cannot be 2m apart you have put in place other measures to manage the risk.
In addition to these points, the Government has produced sector-specific guidance, please read this to help you draw up your risk assessment and put in place measures to
Government guidance on working safely during Covid-19: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19
Every business needs to do a COVID-19 risk assessment as part of their preparation to re-open. If you are a small business with less than 5 employees this does not need to be a written document. Here are 3 things to consider when doing your risk assessment;
- Read the Government guidance first – see link above
- Consult with your staff team as you do it
- Keep reviewing the risk assessment as you learn what works and as Government guidance changes.
You will find lots of helpful information about how to do a risk assessment on the Health and Safety Executive Website. This link will take you to their page about risk assessment in general, rather than COVID specific, it also gives a template for use and case studies. Whilst these aren’t COVID specific, they are useful to get you thinking about risk and how to mitigate risks.
All non-essential retail to open on 15th June. To re-open, businesses need to undertake a COVID-19 Risk Assessment.
This next link takes you to a helpful document written by HSE about working safely during the Coronavirus pandemic. It provides questions for you to consider as you do your risk assessment and get your business ready to reopen.
Here is a template risk assessment that you can use as the basis for your own risk assessment. It does not replace the need for you to do one of you own, rather it provides a helpful starting point (staring at a blank piece of paper can be daunting!) This risk assessment has been taken from the HSE for Northern Ireland.
Free Webinars for Levy Payers
We will be running free webinars on how to do a risk assessment as well as Q&A session for levy payers, please contact us to find out more and book a place. Email: Info@discoverkingslynn.com
Issues to think about when re-opening your premises after a long period of time
In addition to the COVID issues that you need to consider, you will also need to think about actions you need to take to reopen your premises safely if they have been closed for a period of time.
Under health and safety law, employers, business owners and landlords must manage the risks of exposure to Legionella bacteria. Owners and operators of water systems have a duty to keep them safe to protect the health and safety of employees and visitors. This risk is present at all times but especially where buildings are closed, subject to low use or reopening. You can find advice on the website of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health here;
The Fire Department has prepared a very short document raising some questions to think about as you return to work. For example, whether you need to update your fire risk assessment as you have made changes to the layout of your premises, or you might be using different / additional doors for entrance and exit.
You can find the document here;
Points to Consider:
We have pulled together some points for you to think about and which you can download and work through as you choose. They need to sit alongside Government Guidance and might form part of your risk assessment as measures taken to reduce risks in your business.
Implementing Social Distancing– Outside Your Premises
- Assess the size of your premises and the layout to help you judge the number of customers who can reasonably follow 2m social distancing.
- If you are able, try to limit the number of entry and exit points into and out of your premises and if possible, consider having separate entrance and exits.
- Where possible, use a colleague to meet customers at the entrance, get them to explain the social distancing requirements and control the number of customers entering. Some retailers like Wilko, greet customers at the entrance and hand them a (cleaned) shopping basket, limiting the number of baskets to the numbers of customers they can have in store. This is a really easy way to keep on top of customer numbers.
- Use signage outside your premises to explain the social distancing measures in place that customers should follow. We might need to use barriers to manage queues in some parts of the town centre.
- Where necessary, place markings outside your premises to assist correct queue spacings.
- Speak to nearby premises to work together to manage possible shared queuing areas.
- Encourage customers to shop alone wherever possible.
- Schedule deliveries to avoid crowding in delivery areas.
Inside Your Premises
Social distancing and good hygiene within your premises will be key to keeping you, your team and customers safe. Here are some points to consider;
- Provision of cleaning stations at front or entrance to your premises, including hand sanitiser, or disinfectant wipes or spray to clean trolleys and baskets.
- Regularly clean touch points like door handles, keypads, stair/escalator hand rails.
- Depending on the size and nature of your premises, use floor markings and signs to help compliance with the social distancing advice of 2 metres.
- Review the layout of your store, office, reception area to ensure aisles/walkways are as clear as possible to accommodate 2m social distancing, consider one-way systems using floor markings and signage to highlight system and direction.
- Where available, use public tannoy systems to remind staff and customers to follow social distancing advice.
- Consider putting up plastic / Perspex barriers at till points and reception areas and remember to clean these regularly.
- Where till points are close together, consider closing every other till point. Assess whether this is also necessary for self-scan tills which will need to be cleaned regularly.
- Leave non-essential doors (but not fire doors) open to minimise the number of people who touch them.
- To limit congestion, consider restocking/replenishing only outside of store opening hours.
- Encourage cashless purchases.
- If you normally provide 1:1 assistance and advice to customers on products, think about whether this is still practical within the confines of social distancing? How might you adapt? Make sure staff and customers are aware of such changes to your service.
- Consider whether it is safe to keep customer toilets open or if these should be available on request. If open ensure regular cleaning especially of touch points.
- Baby changing facilities should be available but consider frequency of cleaning.
Supporting Staff to Implement Social Distancing Measures:
- Ensure all staff are aware of the social distancing measures that are in place and that they understand how to follow them. Remind staff that social distancing applies in all areas, including non-customer facing areas.
- Display signs and notices reminding staff to wash hands, use of tissues, sneezing and coughing etc.
- Consider how to manage rest areas to apply the social distancing of 2m, for example, introduce a staggered or extended break rota to avoid crowding, space out chairs and tables.
- Staff who go outside your premises for a break should maintain physical distancing from any colleagues or public while doing so.
- If possible, increase the number of hand washing stations available and provide hand sanitiser at entry/exit points.
- Frequently clean and disinfect surfaces that are touched regularly.