The Government has announced that – if all continues to go to plan with the nation’s battle against Covid-19 – jewellery retailers in England will be able to lift their shutters and welcome back staff and customers on June 15.
For the last couple of weeks the industry has been preparing for a potential June opening, and now business owners know they have two weeks to get their stores ready if they want to open at the first possible date.
Many may be wondering where to start though.
With so much advice out there, it can be confusing, but first thing’s first is to check the Government’s guidelines for non-essential retailers.
While these cover all areas of non-essential retail, and some of the advice may not directly apply to jewellers, it will be these guidelines that the Government “spot check” against, and will expect businesses to be following.
While above we have published a checklist for jewellers to adhere to, picking out the parts of the Government guidelines that apply most to the trade, here’s a bitesize break down for business owners to follow:
Assess your business
First thing’s first, all jewellery retail store owners must assess their business.
This assessment must include:
- A risk assessment, which for business owners with over 50 employers the findings must be published online, but the Government advices every retail store publishes their results on their website and provides clarity for customers as to the steps being taken to keep them safe
- A store assessment. Jewellers must ensure the store allows staff and customers to stay 2m apart, wherever possible. Within this assessment, jewellers need to consider the actual space itself, how many people can be in the store at a given time while adhering to social distancing measures, and what changes need to be made to allow a visit to store to be as contact free as possible
- A staff assessment. While considering how many people can be in the showroom at a given time, jewellers will also need to assess how many staff members will be needed on each shift and whether there are any roles in the company that can be continued at home. Furthermore, business owners may want to consider a staggered starting time for staff, and also talk to each team member and check if they fall into the vulnerable categories and may need to stay furloughed if possible.
- Health and safety assessment – this is a big one. The end goal? To make sure staff and customers feel confident shopping in your store. This means making sure the showroom is cleaning even more than normal – including regular cleaning of touchpoints before and after use – and introducing stations within the store where people can use hand sanitisers or even wash their hands.
Though not in the Government guidelines, jewellers will also want to carry out a safety assessment to check that changes made will not compromise the safety of staff and customers.
For instance, experts have warned stores with high value goods may be a target if it is widely known that businesses are running on skeleton staff.
Furthermore, some customers may want to wear a facemask in store, which again might provide an opportunity for someone to feel they can commit a crime without their facial features being identified.
Jewellers must remain vigilant and stress the importance of this to staff as well.
Communication is Key
Last but not least, jewellers will also need to clearly communicate all changes in the workplace to employees.
This should not just be done once, but on a regular basis. It may take a while for staff members to adjust to the new policy, and they may have questions about their own safety at this time. Invest time in making sure all new policies and procedures are understood, but also take the time to listen to any concerns or feedback from the team.
Jewellers should also consider placing signs in store to encourage staff and customers to wash their hands regularly and staff 2m apart.
For inspiration on how jewellery retail businesses are preparing for store reopenings, read our ‘Life after Lockdown’ articles below: