Category: Shopping

Prime Minister sets out timeline for retail to reopen in June

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Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres across England are set to reopen next month once they are COVID-19 secure and can show customers will be kept safe, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed today.

The Prime Minister has set out:

  • Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. As with garden centres, the risk of transmission of the virus is lower in these outdoor and more open spaces. Car showrooms often have significant outdoor space and it is generally easier to apply social distancing.
  • All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be expected to be able to reopen from 15 June if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines, giving them three weeks to prepare.

Shops like supermarkets and pharmacies have been trading responsibly throughout the pandemic. Building on this and in line with the Government’s roadmap, reopening non-essential retail is the next step towards restoring people’s livelihoods, restarting the UK’s economy, and ensuring vital public services like the NHS continue to be funded.

Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.

The government is taking action to help businesses re-open and protect their staff and customers, including:

Publishing updated COVID-secure guidelines for people who work in or run shops, branches, and stores, after consultation with businesses, union leaders, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.

Working with local authorities to continue to carry out spot checks and follow up on concerns by members of the public.

The updated guidance takes into account the best practice demonstrated by the many retailers which have been allowed to remain open and have applied social distancing measures in store. Measures that shops should consider include placing a poster in their windows to demonstrate awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures, storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out on the shop floor, placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas, and frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals, for example.

The vast majority of businesses will want to do everything possible to protect their staff and customers, but tough powers are in place to enforce action if they don’t, including fines and jail sentences of up to two years.

As per the roadmap, hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, and the hospitality sector, remain closed, because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher where long periods of person to person contact is required.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said:

The high street sits at the heart of every community in the country. Enabling these businesses to open will be a critical step on the road to rebuilding our economy, and will support millions of jobs across the UK.

The guidance we have set out today provides a vital framework to get shops open in a way that is safe for everyone. It explains how retail workers who are not currently working can go back to work as safely as possible and feel confident in their workplace. And it reassures customers that shops are properly assessing the risks and putting in place measures to protect them.

Josh Hardie, CBI Deputy Director General, said:

As our high streets slowly reawaken, this new guidance is important for businesses on the ground. Our shops are doing all they can to keep the public and their staff safe, and we’ve seen many retailers leading from the front with innovative solutions to do just that. As more and more businesses turn their attention to reopening, this guidance will help them plan to do so safely and securely.

Andrew Goodacre, CEO, British Independent Retailers Association, said:

Bira is pleased with the guidance being given to retail outlets.

It provides a broad framework for the basic measures and still allows the retailer to be flexible according to the size, layout and location of the shop.

This guidance will ensure that independent retailers provide safe environments for employees and customers.

Guidance on the Consumer and Food

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1. What you need to know about coronavirus and food

  • It is very unlikely that you can catch coronavirus (COVID-19) from food.
  • Cooking thoroughly will kill the virus.
  • COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. It is not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging.
  • Everyone should wash their hands regularly with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds, to reduce the risk of illness.
  • It is especially important to wash hands before handling food or eating.

2. Food hygiene when shopping

The risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) cross-contamination to food and food packaging is very low. Food businesses must ensure that they have the correct food hygiene and food safety processes in place and that these are being followed to protect their customers.

Staff handling food in shops are required to maintain a high degree of personal cleanliness and wear suitable, clean clothing. This includes regular hand washing to maintain good hygiene.

Food businesses are required to have a system for managing food safety in place, but this does not necessarily require staff to wear gloves when serving or handling food.

When you are buying loose foods such as fruit, vegetables, or bread in a bakery, try and only touch what you are going to buy.

2.1 Imported food products

The risk of imported food and packaging from affected countries being contaminated with coronavirus is very unlikely. This is because the law requires the exporter to follow the right controls during the packing and shipping process to ensure good hygiene is met.

2.2 Reusable cups

Customers may previously have used reusable cups or containers when shopping or buying drinks at cafes and other retailers. It is up to the individual business to decide whether they allow the use of reusable cups or containers during this period.

If reusable cups or containers are used, they should be washed thoroughly in hot, soapy water, or in a dishwasher, if suitable.

3. Social distancing when shopping

You should maintain a 2 metre distance between yourself and others, and only buy what you need. This is to avoid crowding and to create adequate spacing between other shoppers and staff.

Shops and supermarkets may take their own action to avoid crowding. This can include monitoring the number of customers within the store and limiting access to avoid congestion. They may also implement queue management systems to limit crowds gathering at entrances and to maintain the 2 metre distance.

Further information on social distancing can be found on GOV.UK.

4. Food hygiene at home

Although it is very unlikely that coronavirus is transmitted through food, cooking thoroughly will kill the virus.

If you have symptoms associated with coronavirus, or have tested positive for COVID-19, you can minimise direct hand contact with food by using tongs and utensils.

It is important that anyone handling and preparing food for others follows the Food Standard Agency’s guidance on food safety and hygiene.

You should always use a food-safe disinfectant when cleaning surfaces and follow the instructions on the pack. If there is a shortage of suitable cleaning products, you can use hot, soapy water to clean these surfaces.

4.1 Food packaging

If you have been shopping, there should be no need to sanitise the outer packaging of food. This is because food businesses are required to have a system for managing food safety in place, which should include keeping packaging clean. You should still follow good hygiene practice by washing your hands after handling any outer packaging. If you have reason to believe the packaging has been contaminated, you should follow the recommended cleaning guidance.

4.2 Loose food

It is very unlikely that you can catch coronavirus from food. You should follow good hygiene and preparation practices when handling and eating raw fruit, leafy salads and vegetables. This includes washing fresh produce to help to remove any contamination on the surface. Peeling the outer layers or skins of certain fruits and vegetables can also help to remove surface contamination. We would remind you not to wash raw chicken or other meat as this can lead to cross-contamination in your kitchen.

It is important to wash your hands with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds before and after you prepare food.

5. Food storage and reuse at home

‘Best before’ and ‘use-by’ dates should be used to make sure your food is safe and that you avoid food waste by not throwing away edible food unnecessarily. You should always follow the manufacturer’s instruction on the packaging.

  • ‘Best before’ is about quality: food is still safe to be eaten after this date but may no longer be at its best.
  • ‘Use-by’ is about safety: food should not be eaten, cooked or frozen after this date, as it could be unsafe – even if it has been stored correctly and looks and smells fine.

If your food is safe to freeze, it can be frozen right up to and including the ‘use-by’ date. Freezing acts as a ‘pause button’ and stops bacterial growth. You can freeze most food items, including raw and cooked meats, fruit and eggs.

When food defrosts, its core temperature rises. This provides the ideal conditions for bacteria to grow if left at room temperature. It is best to defrost food slowly and safely in the fridge. Food should be eaten within 24 hours once defrosted.

6. Takeaway food

Orders should not be made in person on the premises. You should order online or by telephone in advance.

If you are collecting your food in person from a takeaway or restaurant which offers a pick-up service, you should adhere to the social distancing rules set out by the food business. This may include having staggered collection times and using a queue management system to maintain the 2 metre separation.

It is safe to have takeaway food delivered if the business you order from follows the Government’s safety guidance.

Staff preparing your food should regularly wash their hands and maintain good hygiene practices in food preparation and handling areas.

Government advice on social distancing applies to those delivering food. You should minimise the chance of coronavirus spreading by maintaining a distance of 2 metres when the food is delivered.

Sainsbury Supermarket change their approach.

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Sainsbury’s Chief Executive  Mike Coupe has announced measures to assist customers and especially those in the vulnerable group.

From Thursday 19th. the first hour of opening will be dedicated to elderly and vulnerable customers. You will need to check individual stores for opening times and further details.

from the 23rd of March  online customers those over the age of 70 or within the vulnerable group will be given priority access to delivery slots. Online customers will be contacted by Sainsbury over the next few days.

For any online customer that can travel to a Sainsbury store the ‘click and collect’ service is being expanded.  Customers will be able to order their goods on line and pick them up from a collection point in the Car Park.

In order to ensure that the more essential items can be put of the shelfs from Thursday 19th March, the cafes, meat, fish and pizza counters will be close. This action will see up warehouse and lorry capacity for products that customer really need. It will also free up time for staff to restock the shelfs.

From Wednesday 18th March, customers will be restricted to buying three of any grocery product and a maximum of two of the most popular products including toilet paper, soap and UHT milk.

 

 

 

Categories: Coronavirus Shopping