International retailer Primark is bringing in extensive measures to ensure the safety of its employees and customers.
The high-street fashion retailer, which used the Government’s Job Retention Scheme to ensure retail employees received 80% of their pay, reflected on its experience of opening stores across Europe in preparing to open shops in England from 15 June with Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland following later.
CEO Paul Marchant told us about the measures Primark is implementing so workers and shoppers are kept safe.
“As we re-open our stores, nothing matters more than the safety, health and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers.
We have really missed our customers and we are delighted to be back on 15 June and able to provide them with the quality, affordable products they love from Primark.
We know that life for our customers is going to look different for a while. We want our stores to be safe and reassuring places to shop and work. While it might take a little longer to get into our stores, once inside, customers will find all their favourite Primark products. We have worked hard to make sure that clear signage and extra help will be there to guide them through the changes we have made to allow for social distancing.
We will adopt all government safety advice as a minimum in our stores and have benefited from our experience in other markets across Europe where we have already opened successfully. As we open, we will continue to look at best practice across the retail sector and amend our measures appropriately.
We are putting rigorous health and safety measures in place in all stores, including a strict social distancing protocol, providing personal protection for employees and customers and increased in-store cleaning.
Of course, this is new territory for us and our high street neighbours, which is why 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.
I would like to thank all of our colleagues and partners for the commitment, strength and resilience they have shown through these challenging times.”
The measures Primark is introducing include:
Social distancing: We have implemented a strict social distancing protocol across all our stores:
- We are following government guidelines and limiting the number of customers allowed in store at any one time to allow for the appropriate distance in between customers and employees
- Clear signage and floor stickers, as well as dedicated employees who are responsible for managing queues at tills and entrances to stores
- We have hired additional security staff to help customers follow social distancing measures while queueing to enter our store
- We have redesigned the layout of our stores to allow for more space between people by reconfiguring our queuing system at till points to allow for social distancing. Dedicated employees are on hand to manage the correct flow of the queue
- We have temporarily closed off fitting rooms, customer toilets and our cafe and beauty concessions in stores which have them. We may review this policy as the situation develops in line with government guidance
- Entry and exit points are clearly marked
- Frequent public address system announcements are made in store reminding customers to adhere to social distancing measures
Personal protection: We have increased personal protection for employees and customers:
- Hand sanitiser stations will be made available at the entrance and on the shop floor and back of house for employee and customer use
- Every second till is closed, in order to leave appropriate space between customers and between employees. Perspex screens have been installed on open tills to protect customers and employees
- Customers are asked to sanitise their hands upon entry. Dedicated employees are on hand to assist customers if needed
- All returns will be managed in line with government advice
- We have removed all testers from the health and beauty department
- We are encouraging card payments and contactless when possible to minimise cash interactions. Limits have been increased for contactless payments where possible
- Dedicated employees make sure hand hygiene stations are topped up and report any issues or concerns to the store manager
In-store cleaning: We have increased the frequency and intensity of in-store cleaning:
- We have significantly increased the frequency and rigour of our store cleaning policy across all our markets: giving particular attention to high frequency touchpoints such as tills, escalators, lifts, and employee areas in back of house
- A deep clean of each store is carried out before re-opening
- We have increased the frequency of cleaning throughout the day
- We have introduced a basket cleaning system, so each basket handle is cleaned before use
- Sanitising wipes are made available for employees to sterilise baskets and cashpoints
The government has published COVID-19 secure guidance to support businesses to reopen and for workers to feel confident, safe and empowered to return to work.
If you run a business and would like to know which of the coronavirus support schemes you are eligible for, you can use the business support finder tool. It takes just minutes to complete and will help you easily find support for your business.