The government has confirmed that all non-essential retailers in England can reopen next week, providing they have taken all the necessary steps to be Covid-compliant.
Talking at the daily press conference, business secretary Alok Sharma gave jewellers the green light to trade on the high street again from June 15, but he did warn that all businesses must comply with government guidelines or face enforcement notices.
While there’s no doubt the majority of businesses have gone through the government’s guidelines with a fine toothcomb, here are five steps all jewellers should complete before Monday morning.
1) REVIEW THE BUSINESS
At the latest daily press briefing, the business secretary stressed the importance of conducting a risk assessment before reopening stores. He said all retailers have a “legal obligation” to do so. The risk assessment should take into account the government guidelines and detail how the business is complying with Covid-19 secure working practices in order to minimize risk to staff and customers. Remember, a risk assessment is not about creating huge amounts of paperwork, but rather about identifying sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace. 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. All employers, however, do have a duty to consult their workforce on health and safety.
2) TAKE ACTION
It goes without saying that businesses cannot merely read the guidelines and hope for the best, but they must take action to make sure they are Covid-19 compliant. Key actions include ensuring workers and customers stay 2m apart wherever possible, providing easy access to cleaning products (for staff to wipe down services after they have been touched), and making sure hand sanitizer is available for both staff and customer use. Extra steps, which many jewellers have already taken, would be providing employees with PPE, placing screens on tils and service desks, and creating a practical plan to clean jewellery before and after it has been tried on.
3) TRAIN YOUR STAFF
No matter how long an employee has been with the business, working in a retail environment post-lockdown will take some getting used to. Make sure you take the time to train your staff and clearly communicate any changes to the way you expect them to work. Take the time to walk them through the shop floor and the measures that have been taken to manage the risk of infection. Ensure you take questions from employees and listen to any concerns they may have. And lastly, make sure all new procedures are communicated regularly and in different formats. It is worth considering printing out easy-to-follow instructions to place in the staff room, having social distant morning meetings to check-in on staff, and putting all procedures down in writing for employees to refer to when needed.
4) COMMUNICATE WITH CUSTOMERS
Before opening, it would be highly beneficial to communicate with customers your plans for keeping them safe while they are in your retail environment. This can be done through email marketing, social media, and a post on your website. Many customers will be anxious about shopping again, so anything you can do to give them peace of mind before they even leave the house will help reassure them that they are safe in your hands. The government also recommends placing a sign in the window to let shoppers know you have followed the recommended guidelines.
5) THINK ABOUT SECURITY
Lastly, as your prepare to make your store Covid-compliant, don’t forget about security. Many jewellers will be working with skeleton staff, while at the same time people have the opportunity to wear masks and shop without their faces being seen. It is important to consider the impact the pandemic might have on crime – and ensure your staff are aware of all your security measures.
For a more extensive list of what jewellers need to do ahead of reopening, check out the ultimate checklist below: