The UK government has announced that non-essential retail in England will be able to reopen in June.

Boris Johnson set out a timeline for high street shops, department stores and shopping centres in England to reopen from 15 June, providing retailers have taken the necessary steps to follow the government’s Covid-19 secure guidelines in line with current Health and Safety legislation.

Businesses will only be able to open from this date once they have completed a Covid-19 risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives and workers, and are confident they’re managing the risks, showing that they that can protect their staff and customers through social distancing measures.

The Health and Safety Executive has published guidance and advice on how to carry out a risk assessment, which you can view at: imagesmag.uk/risk. Retailers must keep a written record of their risk assessment unless they have fewer than five employees or are self-employed – if they have more than 50 employees, the government expects retailers to publish the risk assessment online.

Retailers can view the UK government’s updated guidance on how to manage the re-opening process at imagesmag.uk/retail, with guidance from the British Retail Consortium also available at imagesmag.uk/BRC.

Covid-19 secure measures that retailers 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 sofas; and frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, such as self-checkouts, baskets and coffee machines for example.

The government said that it will be working with local authorities to continue to carry out spot checks on retailers, and follow up on concerns by members of the public.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will shortly announce their own guidance for the re-opening of retail.

www.gov.uk