What shops will look like when they reopen on Monday

MANY non-essential retailers will welcome back shoppers on Monday, but the stores will look different to how we remember.

To protect staff and customers from coronavirus and following government guidance, retailers have announced new social distancing measures.

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Clothes, toys and betting shops are among those that can open their doors once again, the business secretary Alok Sharma said earlier this week.

It also includes shops selling shoes, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets.

It comes nearly three months after non-essential businesses were forced to close their doors to stop the spread of Covid-19.

Several retailers were also able to continue trading online during lockdown.

Below we explain what shops will look like when they reopen their doors on Monday, June 15.


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Limits on numbers in stores

As we've already seen in supermarkets, non-essential shops will also have limits on customer numbers in stores and in shopping centres in general.

People will also be encouraged to shop alone.

A few weeks ago, Aldi announced a new traffic light system at store entrances to limit the number of people inside branches.

Although most retailers won't have a traffic light system like Aldi, a vast majority will have restrictions on the number of customers in a store at any one time.

Primark and JD Sports, for example, will both ask shoppers to queue 2m apart outside of stores.

The limit depends on the size of the store.

If the store has reached its maximum, you can expect to wait in a queue outside the shop.

Cleaner stores and hand sanitiser stations for shoppers and staff

Shops will need to encourage increased handwashing and introduce more handwashing facilities for workers and customers, or hand sanitiser stations where this isn't possible.

Retailers will also need to frequently clean objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals.

Primark, for example, has confirmed it will improve cleaning processes of high frequency touch points. It adds that basket handles will be cleaned after every use.

It comes as the World Health Organisation suggests coronavirus may survive on surfaces for up to three days.

One-way systems

One-way systems will be introduced in many shops to allow customers to safely enter, exit and queue both inside and outside.

Unlike a majority of retailers, Primark shoppers will not be directed along one-way aisles.

Instead they will have the freedom to roam the store.

Primark will be able to do this safely by restricting the number of people allowed in store at any one time, it's said.

Floor markings and sneeze screens

As we've already seen in supermarkets, many non-essential shops will also introduce floor markings around tills.

This will ensure customers maintain social distancing while shopping.

Floor markers have become standard due to the pandemic.

McDonald's and Tesco stores early on installed sticky tape to mark how far apart customers should stand to mitigate the risk of spreading coronavirus.

It was used before McDonald's temporarily closed all of its UK branches.

Coral is also introducing sneeze screens between gaming machines to make sure punters keep a distance.

Customers can still sit normally and play at betting machines but the plastic screen barriers make it safer – as well as offering more privacy. 

No fitting rooms

When you go into clothes shops, you'll notice that fittings rooms will be closed.

Where fitting rooms are essential, for example to support key workers buying critical protective clothing, they should be cleaned frequently, typically between each use.

Shop workers will no longer be able to help shoppers trying on items.

Meanwhile, JD Sports shoppers will still be able to try on shoes in store, although social distancing markers have been placed around the benches.

Shoes will be sprayed with disinfectant before and after being tried on – shoe retailer Schuh has said it will do the same.

No testing products before buying

You won't be able to get your hands on the latest iPhone or test whether you like the way a sofa feels before you buy.

That's because larger items, such as beds or sofas, should have protective coverings over them, while retailers will limit the testing of other products.

Boots, for example, has said it will temporarily remove make-up testers from stores and scrap face to face consultations instead using personalised online video consultations instead.

Primark is also axing beauty testers.

Meanwhile, Currys PC World said customers who'd like to have a product demo have to ask staff to show them, instead of touching the item themselves.

Other rules could also see a rotation of stock that is frequently touched.

Returns can't go onto the shop floor for 72 hours

Lots of major retailers stopped accepting returns during lockdown, saying they wanted to wait until stores were allowed to reopen.

But once reopened, the government says shops should set up "no contact" return procedures where customers take returned goods to a designated area.

Items that have been returned, donated or bought in for repair should be stored for 72 hours before being put back out on the shop floor.

Contactless refunds should also be offered where possible.

Fewer tills

When Primark reopens for business, it'll keep every other till shut in its stores.

This is in order to maintain social distancing between customers and staff alike.

So if you experience longer queues to pay when you next visit Primark, this is likely to be because of fewer tills.

Perspex screens and PPE for staff

A majority of retailers will install perspex screens around checkouts to protect staff and shoppers.

They'll also provide PPE for staff, with some able to choose whether they want to wear the masks or not.

At the end of March, staff in Boots and Lidl started wearing protective visors in order to try and reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

At the time, Boots had ordered 20,000 protective visors for staff in each of its 2,465 UK stores.

The visors are designed to create a safety barrier between staff and customers when they are having a conversation.

They can be worn multiple times and wiped down and disinfected after each time they are worn.

Keen to shop? We explain how to keep yourself safe – and whether you need to wear a mask.

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