All non-essential retailers in England will be able to reopen from 15 June as part of ongoing plans to further ease the countrywide lockdown. However, you will only be able to open from this date if you have completed the required risk assessment, the Government has warned.
Everyone needs to assess and manage the risks of COVID-19. As an employer, you also have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety. This means you need to think about the risks they face and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them, recognising you cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.
Retailers must therefore conduct a risk assessment and you must be confident that you are managing the risks. Before opening, you must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation. You can also use this Government guidance to inform your decisions and control measures.
If you have fewer than five workers, or are self-employed, you don’t have to write anything down as part of your risk assessment. Your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to. There are interactive tools available to support you from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has also been consulted as part of the Government’s efforts to put the guidance together. This includes:
- Placing a poster in their windows to demonstrate awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures
- Storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out on the shop floor
- Placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas
- Frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys and coffee machines.
If you require assistance with your risk assessments, you can download Bira Legal’s checklist here.
The Government is also running free webinars for retailers to help them become COVID-secure. You can find out more and register for tickets here.
For further information about the Government measures to protect individuals and businesses, visit our COVID-19: Support for UK businesses hub.