Solutions for Safer Stores

Here, John Abernethie, CEO at SANIQUE looks at how retailers can ensure they are providing a safe environment for both staff and customers, and the social distancing and hygiene products available to help them do so.

COVID-19 and the restrictions put in place to contain the virus have severely impacted many parts of the economy, with retailers amongst the hardest hit. As businesses across the country prepare to reopen stores as the restrictions ease, it is important to do so safely and in a way that protects employees and customers.

The now widely publicised social distancing guidelines of remaining at least two metres away from each other is a crucial part in limiting the spread of the virus. However, in many retail environments this is difficult to maintain at all times with the risk to staff increased through brief but frequent closer contact with numerous customers. Where this is the case, additional safety measures such as protective screens can be put in place to help reduce the risk of virus transmission. Clear plastic screens at till points in particular can help protect staff and customers while still allowing friendly interaction and clear visibility across the store for staff. These are simple to install and can be easily sanitised to maintain a hygienic environment.

There are a range of different screen options available to suit the needs of different stores and counter layouts. For example, there are floor standing products that can be placed in front of a counter with a screen mounted approximately 1.2 metres off the ground. This allows items to be placed on and then retrieved from the counter, beneath the screen, while limiting the risk posed by face to face interaction. Alternatively, fixed or freestanding screens can be added to the countertop with a gap or cut-out to allow transactions to take place. Wire hung, ceiling mounted screens are also an option where countertop space is very limited.

Screens can also be used to separate customers allowing safer queuing and movement around the store. These social distancing screens provide protection at adult standing height as well as seated or child standing height. These can be used to establish parallel and snaked queue formations, create one-way movement systems or to separate entrances and exits.

It is also important when reopening a retail environment to ensure staff have the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes disposable face masks and gloves, and the ability to limit the spread of microbes with alcohol based anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitiser.

Furthermore, it is essential to sanitise all surfaces quickly and completely. Sanitising electric sprayers, which atomise disinfectant into a fine mist, offer an effective solution for cleaning a wide variety of surfaces within the store and warehouse areas. Choosing a versatile, safe and odourless disinfectant means that it can be used in a variety of different retail environments and in all areas of the store. For example, our compact and easy to handle S-3 sprayer combined with food safe QCide™ disinfectant is ideal for retail businesses. It offers a simple plug and spray operation and features a 2-in-1 spray and fog action for increased effectiveness.

Reopening stores is essential for businesses, their customers and employees but it must be done in the safest possible way. Screens and PPE can help protect both staff and customers while effective sanitisation allows key surfaces and areas to be thoroughly cleaned with minimal disruption.

To find out more about the SANIQUE range and how we can help businesses reopen safely visit www.sanique.co.uk. Ten percent from the sale of our Personal Protection Kits, that contain everything each employee needs, is being donated to NHS charities.

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