BIRA: 5-Step Guide to Covid-Secure Reopening

Author BIRA

As non-essential retailers begin to reopen in England - or plan to do so shortly - there could be some concerns around how to ensure they operate in a ‘Covid-Secure’ manner. This readable guide from the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) outlines five key steps to ensuring retailers are operating safely: reading government guidance; amending and completing risk assessments; amending and completing re-occupation checklists; protecting employees, contractors, and consumers; and communicating your Covid-Secure message.

Date added 17 August 2021
Last updated 17 August 2021

As non-essential retailers begin to reopen in England, or plan to do so shortly as lockdown restrictions begin to ease, there could be some concerns from business owners and managers around how to ensure the safety of workers, customers, and other visitors. This readable guide from the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) outlines five key steps to ensure retailers are operating in a ‘Covid-Secure’ manner, relevant to both businesses who are set to re-open, as well as those who have remained open during the pandemic or have recently re-opened. By Covid-Secure, the guide states it involves ensuring “you have taken every reasonable step to ensure the safety of your premises, your employees, your customers and the community”.

The five key ways to become 'Covid-Secure':

1. Read the government guidance

The guide stresses that, as the pandemic climate is constantly changing, retailers should remain aware of government guidance in the area, such as keeping up to date with the regularly updated Working safely in shops and branches guidance document, which is found in the High Streets Task Force repository.

2. Amend and complete a risk assessment

The guide advises retailers carry out risk assessments, in keeping with government advice in the shops and branches guide mentioned above. BIRA advises this should be undertaken by both businesses who have remained open throughout the pandemic, those who have recently reopened, and those who plan to re-open in due course. A BIRA template for helping with this is provided in the guide. It is explained that, because each workplace and workforce is different, it should be customised accordingly, and also reviewed on a weekly basis as government advice changes.

3. Amend and complete a re-occupation checklist

The guide advises that a re-occupation - or re-opening - checklist is completed to ensure the workplace is safe to re-enter, especially if it has been closed for some time. It covers issues such as fire safety, building security, and water safety. A BIRA re-occupation checklist is found in the guide to use and amend as necessary.

4. Protect your employees, contractors, and consumers

The guide offers advice as to how to keep workers, customers, and anybody else who interacts with the business safe. It advises that social distancing signage is placed around the store to help keep people safe and ensure customers feel confident enough to (re)visit. BIRA suggests that protective screens could also be placed at checkouts to protect individuals, as well as ample hand sanitiser for customers and employees to use.

5. Communicate your ‘Covid-Secure’ message

Clear communications are needed for both employees, customers and other visitors to feel confident that retailers have taken every reasonable step to ensure their safety. The guide recommends using the government’s Covid-19 Secure poster to put onto shop frontages and websites to communicate this.