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COVID-19

This page contains resources for retailers with regard to COVID-19 (Coronavirus). 

Additional resources are available at the bottom of the page.

If you have any questions or concerns about what to do in your business, contact Layal Wijsmuller (layal.wijsmuller@acs.org.uk)

Below is information for retailers on the current restrictions in England, Wales and Scotland.


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England

England is currently in Step 4 in the reopening road map.

This means the government has removed the legal requirement for: people to wear face coverings, limiting the number of people that can meet indoors and end the one metre plus rule on social distancing. The government are leaving it up to people to make their own informed decisions about how to manage the virus.

Government Guidance

The Government guidance, Working Safely During Covid-19outlines six priority areas for shops to take action on: 

  1. Complete a health and safety risk assessment for the store
  2. Provide adequate ventilation
  3. Clean surfaces more often
  4. Turn away customers or colleagues that display Covid-19 symptoms
  5. Enable people to check in using a Test and Trace QR code
  6. Communicate your procedures to colleagues and customers

The full guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-covid-19/shops-branches-and-close-contact-services

What does it mean for me?

There is no legal requirement for retailers to implement Covid restrictions in stores for their customers.

What do I do now?

  • Check signage and customer communications. Do you want to have any policies on face coverings or distancing in store? You may want to do this to reassure customers and colleagues, or you may want to take away all the signage to avoid it becoming a flashpoint as customers pull other customers up on their behaviour. Whatever you decide, consult with colleagues and make sure they are briefed on the business’s decision.

Signage to make a decision on whether to continue:

  • Face coverings
  • Face coverings related to those with disabilities
  • Limits on number of people in store
  • Social distancing posters and markers on the floor
  • Queueing systems

Rules on Testing and Isolating

Rules on self-isolating relating to colleagues that have a positive Covid test or are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 remain.

From the 16th August onwards the Government will exempt people who have been fully vaccinated two weeks prior or under 18 from the requirement to self-isolate if they are a close contact of a positive case. Anyone that tests positive for Covid-19 will still be required to self-isolate regardless of vaccination status.

The Government expects the Test, Trace and Isolate system will remain necessary through the autumn and winter. Symptomatic testing will continue to be available and asymptomatic testing will be focused on those who are not fully vaccinated, those in education and those in higher-risk settings such as the NHS, social care and prisons

Advice for Retailers on Testing and Isolating

ACS  has set out practical steps for retailers to avoid major disruption to their businesses as a result of notifications to isolate from the Covid-19 app.

  • If you receive a notification from the NHS Covid-19 app to isolate, get a lateral flow test straight away
  • Make sure other colleagues in the business also take a lateral flow test as soon as possible and continue to test regularly
  • For those who test negative, carry on as normal
  • For those who test positive, isolate until Covid-19 can be confirmed with a PCR test

This advice is conditional on no symptoms being shown. Anyone showing symptoms is advised to isolate immediately and get a PCR Test. Additionally, if anyone is contacted by the NHS Test & Trace service (not the app) then they must comply with the requirement to isolate.


Regular testing is crucial to stopping the spread of the virus. Individuals can order a lateral flow test kit here: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests 


Clarity on sick pay for colleagues

The guidance on statutory sick pay remains unchanged and is expected to stay this way until September. Employees are entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) for up to 28 weeks of work absence if earning an average of £120 per week or more. SSP is paid at £96.35 per week on a pro-rata basis. Employees claiming SSP due to coronavirus are eligible from day one of absence.

SSP and Self-Isolation

SSP is payable to people who are staying at home on government advice, not just those who test positive for covid-19. Employers are advised to use their discretion around the need for medical evidence for a period of absence where an employee is advised to stay at home due to suspected Covid-19

SSP Funding

The Government has introduced a rebate scheme to allow retailers with up to 250 employees to reclaim up to 14 days of statutory sick pay paid for sickness absence due to Covid-19. More information on how to claim is available here.

 


Wales

From 7th August Wales is in Alert level 0. This means that most legal restrictions have been removed such as physical distancing and limits on social gatherings indoors. However it is still the law that face coverings are required to worn in indoor settings and businesses will have to carry out Covid-19 risk assessments. The Welsh government have also published guidance for businesses relating to how they can best protect their customers and colleagues including recommendations to improve ventilation and hygiene.

The Welsh Government has extended the property moratorium banning the eviction of commercial tenants materially impacted by Covid-19 until 30th September. Landlords in Wales will also not be able to use Commercial Rents Arrears Recovery (CRAR) to recover unpaid rent on commercial leases under the same timeframe, or issue statutory demands or winding up petitions.

A UK Government Code of Practice is available to support discussions between landlords and tenants. Retailers in England cannot be evicted until 25th March 2022 or subject to other legal tactics above until 30th September.

From 7th August, in line with level 0 changes, close contacts of positive Covid-19 cases no longer have to self-isolate if they are double vaccinated. Everyone is encouraged to get a PCR test if they are identified as a close contact and if test positive or display symptoms you must still self-isolate.


Scotland

All of mainland Scotland moved beyond Alert level 0 on 9th August. This means that most legal restrictions are removed in the country including physical distancing measures and limits on social gatherings. Face coverings are still required to be worn indoors by law and businesses and hospitality venues will still need to obtain contact information of customers for the Test and Protect service.

From 9th August, in line with level 0 changes, close contacts of positive covid-19 cases no longer have to self-isolate if they are double vaccinated and obtain a negative PCR result.


Additional Resources

Government Support for Workers    Government Support for Businesses


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