As the lockdown rules begin to ease, high street stores including Primark will begin to open again while continuing to follow the government's guidelines for social distancing.
While, for some, it may feel too soon to reopen non-essential shops, the move is designed to help restart the UK retail market.
But when exactly are stores like Primark opening their doors again? And what are retailers doing to ensure that both staff and consumers are safe and protected when returning to stores?
We break down everything you need to know about the future of retail shopping and the governments guidelines for retailers post-lockdown.
When will retail stores open again?
While essentials stores like pharmacies, supermarkets and hardware stores have remained open in lockdown, non-essentials stores have now been given the green light by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to reopen on June 15th, 2020.
The reopen date for non-essential retailers is set to go ahead providing a) the UK continues to successfully pass the government's five tests for easing lockdown, and b) that each store has been made Covid-secure.
The five tests are as follows:
- The NHS has capacity to provide critical and specialist treatment right across the UK.
- A sustained and consistent fall in daily deaths from coronavirus.
- The rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels across across the board.
- Operational challenges including testing and PPE are in hand with supply able to meet future demand.
- Confident that any adjustments to the current measures will not risk a second peak of infections overwhelms the NHS.
Once approved, fashion, charity, antique, mobile phone and gift shops, as well as photography studios, craft fairs and other retail ventures will be clear to start reopening.
When will Primark open again?
So when will Primark be opening it's doors nation-wide again? Well, if the government's proposed timeline goes ahead as planned, mark your calendars for June 15th, 2020.
“Nothing matters more to us than the health and wellbeing of our employees and customers," Primark wrote in a recent press release. "That is why we will only re-open our stores in the UK once we are convinced that it is safe and right to do so."
The retail chain adds it will closely follow the safety advice from the government and treat it as the minimum standard across all stores, acknowledging that this is a turbulent time for high street stores throughout the UK.
"We will continuously monitor our re-openings and our health and safety policies to ensure we are doing the best we can to help protect our people and customers, as we all continue to adapt to the new normal.”
What is Primark doing to keep customers safe?
As well as adhering to the government guidelines, the retail giant is implementing a number of safety protocols across all Primark stores throughout the UK.
"We will put in place rigorous health and safety measures including a strict social distancing protocol, providing personal protection for employees and customers and increased in-store cleaning," a Primark spokesperson confirmed.
The retailer outlined the protocols they are implementing in a press release, which are as follows:
Strict social distancing
- Limiting the number of customers allowed in store at any one time to allow for social distancing.
- Having clear signage and floor decals to guide customers though the store and limit contact with other shoppers, as well as dedicated employees and additional security staff.
- Every second till will be closed to allow more space between customers and employees.
Personal protection for employees and customers
- Hand sanitiser will be available throughout the store, at the entrance on the shop floor and back of house for both customers and employees and face masks and gloves will be made available to employees.
- Perspex screens have been installed on tills to protect both customers and employees.
Increased in-store cleaning
- The frequency and rigour of store cleaning will increase, particularly around high frequency touch points such as tills, escalators, lifts, and employee areas.
In terms of fitting rooms, the retailer is adhering to the guidelines, with a spokesperson confirming to Cosmopolitan UK, “we are closely following all safety advice from government and will treat this as the minimum standard across all our stores, this includes temporarily closing fitting rooms and how we manage returns”.
What are the Covid-secure guidelines?
One thing's for sure, when high street stores reopen it won't be shopping as we remember it. The government has issued Covid-secure guidelines which will change the way we shop to ensure stores are as safe as possible for staff and customers.
These guidelines, as outlined on the government website, 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
- Frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals, for example.
Cabinet minister Michael Gove told BBC Breakfast that our shopping habits need to adapt and change to keep consumers safe.
“When it comes to touching and testing goods, when it comes to trying on clothing, when it comes to trying make-up and so on, that all of us exercise restraint in not doing that and recognising that as these stores reopen, it is a new normal," Gove said.
The information in this story is accurate as of the publication date. While we are attempting to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so it's possible that some information and recommendations may have changed since publishing. For any concerns and latest advice, visit the World Health Organisation. If you're in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Follow Nathalie on Instagram.
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.
You Might Also Like