The Return of the High Street

After months of observing the rise and relative rate of decline of COVID-19 in the UK - pubs, bars, and non-essential retailers are steadily returning to ‘business as unusual’. With social distancing guidance remaining firmly in place, the retail and hospitality industries are faced with the challenging undertaking of operating a safe, compliant, working environment in the face of risk.

The decision to reopen has been met with diverse opinions from consumers, with many concerned that the threat of infection remains too great to risk an incomparably non-essential trip to a local cafe. Keeping a reasonable distance from other people is a predicament in environments that are frequently just a few square metres in size. On the other hand, many see it as a welcome boost to the economy and a chance to regain some normality.

We recently asked the Safetybank audience for their opinions on the return of non-essential retailers, revealing that the majority of those polled held major concerns regarding the risk of returning to the shops unless absolutely necessary; 82% of those polled responded that they either ‘won’t shop unless necessary’ or ‘won’t risk shopping at all’.

Creating a Safe High Street Experience

The retail and hospitality industries must create an environment that acknowledges potential risks, while effectively garnering support and confidence of the public. By paying close attention to government advice, which is constantly being revised to reflect changes in the UK’s situation - retailers can use this advice as a basis for operating a shop-floor environment with health and safety as the priority. Visit Safetybank’s ‘Preparing for a safe return to the workplace’ guide for an up-to-date breakdown on official advice.

It should be noted that guidance must be tailored to each company’s circumstance - marked entrances and exits, frequent cleaning of surfaces, and workforce shift management are essential, but every workplace environment has a unique set of hazards that should be assessed and addressed individually. Changing rooms, toilets, and kitchens are critical areas that should be given appropriate attention.

Using the Right Technology

Reduce the reliance on manual spreadsheets and digitally manage health and safety protocols through applications such as Safetybank. Effectively implement, manage, and report during a period when the health, safety and wellbeing of both employees and customers must be the highest priority. In other words, ensure your business is audit-ready in compliance with government guidance. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned of risk of harsher measures, including prosecution, should companies flout government guidance related to COVID-19.

Health and Safety is the Priority

Retailers have a responsibility to maintain the highest standards of health and safety as we navigate the new normal. With a combination of attention to changing regulations and the right technology, creating a COVID-safe environment needn’t be difficult.

Talk to Safetybank today for advice on supporting your return to the workplace, regardless of your business size.

For more information and to view a free guide to “A Safe Return to the Workplace”, simply click below.

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