While the timeline for when jewellery stores will be able to open again still remains unclear, one thing’s pretty certain – social distancing measures will need to be put in place in every retail establishment in order to prevent a second wave of the virus.
Essential retail stores that have been able to remain open provide some insight into what the future looks like for UK jewellers, with the likes of supermarkets and pharmacy’s limiting the number of people who can be in store at any given time and putting markers on the ground to ensure everyone stays two metres apart.
Stating that all busiensses need to be prepared ahead of time, the British Retail Consortium has published guidance on how non-essential retail stores can learn from companies still operating and protect staff and customers when lockdown is lifted.
While jewellers will look different from grocery stores, with many operating froma smaller unit, much of the guidance provided by the BRC can be implemented inside jewellery retail outlets in some shape or form.
Looking to the future, the BRC recommends jewellers look to implement the following when they open again:
- Limit number of entry and exit points into and out of store. Consider having separate entrance and exit points if possible.
- Limit the number of customers in the store at any time. Assess the size of the store and its layout, this will enable you to calculate the number of customers who can reasonably follow 2m social distancing.
- Use a colleague to meet customers, explain the social distancing requirements and control the number of customers entering store at any one time. In some circumstances, that colleague may need to be SIA licensed.
- Consider whether temporary barriers should be available in case it is necessary to stop people joining a queue.
- Place clear signage outside of the store explaining the social distancing measures in place that customers should follow.
- Place markings outside the store 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. Please bear in mind however that this is not always possible.
- Schedule deliveries to avoid crowding in delivery areas.
- Consider non-contact stock deliveries.
- Businesses in shopping centres should discuss queue management with centre management to determine the best way to avoid congestion.
- Consider whether additional security staff may be required to support staff.
Hygiene and Cleaning
- Provision of cleaning stations at front of store including hand sanitiser, if available, and disinfectant wipes or spray and tissue for trolley/basket handles.
- Identify and regularly clean key touch points
- Consider what steps will be taken by managers and staff where customers are not following social distancing measures.
Shop floor and till areas:
- Use floor markings inside to facilitate compliance with the social distancing advice of 2 metres, particularly in the most crowded areas and where queueing is likely.
- Place clear signage throughout the store reminding customers of the social distancing measures and asking them to follow these rules.
- Review the layout of the store to ensure aisles/walkways are as clear as possible to accommodate 2m social distancing, including the removal of promotional fixtures if necessary.
- Consider one-way systems using floor markings and signage to highlight system and direction.
- Erect physical barriers at till points using flexiplastic to provide a barrier for those working on the tills. These should be included in store cleaning programmes.
- If necessary, use staff to manage the flow of customers to checkouts.
- Where till points are close together, consider closing every other till point. Assess whether this is also necessary for self-scan tills.
- Leave non-essential doors open to minimise the number of people who touch them. This does not apply to fire doors.
- Customer order collection points should be set up to ensure the 2m separation either by floor markings or by limiting the number of customers that can wait at a time.
- Remove promotions and features where customers are likely to congregate, such as product demonstrations.
- To limit congestion, consider restocking/replenishing only outside of store opening hours. If replenishment must be done in opening hours, assess how this can be done without compromising employee or customer safety.
- Encourage cashless purchases.