Shops and Branches
This page was updated on the 19 July 2021
The Government has decided to move to step 4 of the roadmap. The pandemic is not over. Cases are increasing rapidly and a third wave is underway. Step 4 does not mark the end of the need for caution and restraint. It is important to remember the pandemic is not over. Cases are currently rising, as are hospitalisations. Cases, hospitalisations and, sadly, deaths, will rise further as society and the economy reopen. Lifting Coronavirus restrictions does not mean that the risks from COVID-19 have disappeared. Vigilance must be maintained and people will be asked to make informed decisions and act carefully and proportionately, to manage the risks to themselves and others.
For more information see HM Government COVID-19 Response Summer 2021.
Carrying out risk assessments
Businesses still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify. Many control measures that have been in place previously were there due to health and safety legislation rather than the specific coronavirus legislation. It remains very important to implement suitable control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between employees and members of the public.
When undertaking your risk assessment you must have regard to the available guidance. Following the guidance is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and you are free to take other action, so long as the same level of protection is achieved. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to guidance. Failure to implement suitable control measures may lead to formal action being taken against the duty holder(s). See www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus for more information on COVID-19 risk assessments.
It is also important to remember that your risk assessment and subsequent controls will be influenced by the prevalence of COVID-19 in the general population of Preston, the numbers of people in Preston who have received their vaccine and the demographics of your customers (Age, general health etc). When the prevalence of COVID-19 in the general population is considered high then businesses will be expected to implement stricter control measures. When the prevalence of COVID-19 is lower in the general population then fewer or less strict control measures maybe acceptable.
High COVID-19 cases in Lancashire and stricter control measures
Currently the prevalence of COVID-19 in population of Preston and Lancashire is very high and businesses will be expected to have more and stricter control measures. These include:
- Asking staff and customers to clean their hands regularly
- Cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly
- Reducing unnecessary contact in the workplace, where it is practical. This means ensuring different groups of customers remain separate and keeping employees working in bubbles etc
- Ensuring that all indoor spaces are well ventilated (ensuring windows and doors are opened) and utilising outdoor space where practical
Guidance for shops
You should read the guidance on our Employers and Employees COVID-19 Pages for general advice as well as reading our sector specific guidance. The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible, this is the HM Government Guidance.
When undertaking your risk assessment you must have regard to the available guidance.
Following the guidance is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and you are free to take other action, so long as the same level of protection is achieved.
HM Government guidance for Shops, branches, and close contact services
If you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law.
Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to guidance.
Failure to implement suitable control measure may lead to formal action being taken against the duty holder(s).
Posters that all businesses should display
Convenience Stores and Small Shops
Preston City Council has produced streamlined guidance that supplements the GOV UK guidance for Shops and Branches:
- Association of Convenience Stores has produced useful guidance for small retailers including: Social Distancing, Services and Deliveries. There is useful information, checklists and free downloadable posters.
- NFDA has produced COVID-19 Industry Guidance and Best Practice for Automotive Retail (Car Showrooms)
Frequently Asked Questions
Do customers and staff have to wear a face covering?
Face coverings are no longer required by law. However, the government expects and recommends that people continue to wear face coverings in crowded, enclosed spaces. Where worn correctly, this may reduce the risk of transmission to themselves and others. Be aware that workers may choose to wear a face covering in the workplace.
Consider encouraging, for example through signage, the use of face coverings by customers and workers, particularly in indoor areas where they may come into contact with people they do not normally meet. This is especially important in enclosed and crowded spaces. When deciding whether you will ask workers or customers to wear a face covering, you would need to consider the reasonable adjustments needed for staff and clients with disabilities. You would also need to consider carefully how this fits with other obligations to workers and customers arising from the law on employment rights, health and safety and equality legislation. Poster - Wear a Face Covering [544.05KB]
Do I have to take down personal details for Test and Trace?
No, this is not necessary in most shops.
However Betting shops was always the exception. Being able to identify and trace perons who maybe infectious remains a top priority for the government.Betting Shops are strongly encouraged to display an official NHS QR code poster. Although not legally required to do so, this will support NHS Test and Trace to contact those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 so that they can book a test. You can generate an NHS QR code poster online, to enable individuals to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app. You should also have a system in place to record contact details for those who do not have the app. Test and Trace Register Template [253.4KB]
Can a customer pay with cash?
Contactless payment is the preferred payment method however, customers can pay with cash. We would recommend staff wash their hands after handling money.
Do I need a Perspex screen at my till?
In short, yes or employees must wear a face visor (with their face covering).
The Perspex screen acts as a barrier when members of the public are talking to employees.
It is forseeable that members of the public will enter your shop without wearing a face covering therefore putting your employees at risk, even if they are wearing a face covering.