Charity St John’s Hospice has 11 shops in the North West of England, which it is hoping to start reopening at the end of the month.
The stores create vital funds for the St John’s Hospice in Lancaster, and it will be a boon for the charity and the communities its shops serve, when it safely reopens doors.
Sophie Lea, Head of Retail, talks us through the measures that will be put in place to keep customers and their 29 employees safe:
“The first phase of our planned opening involves our online sales, resuming on 22 June. Three of our 11 shops will then reopen on 30 June.
We are doing this to urgently raise vital funds for the hospice, with the aim of making up lost sales due to the closure of the shops and café, and the cancellation of fundraising events due to coronavirus. We want to maintain our presence on the High Street which allows us to provide what is a vital service for our community.
We have completed risk assessments for all our working premises and initiated steps to provide safe socially distanced spaces in them all.
Where this has not been possible, we will keep the premises closed until the current restrictions are reviewed."
Other measures will include:
- Clear signage for both staff and customers indicating the safe distance measures in shops, including a one-way system marked out using floor stickers, and regular signs throughout
- Additional assistance from staff to customers to navigate the measures if needed, including those with visual impairments or disabilities
- Perspex screens at all tills and contactless payment where possible.
- Staff training on safer working measures including additional cleaning, and handwashing techniques.
Sophie added: “Driver teams who are responsible for collecting and delivering furniture are not able to maintain social distancing when travelling and lifting furniture, so to keep them safe they will have additional PPE such as face coverings and gloves, and we will keep these teams working together.
We will also be asking drivers to keep vehicles ventilated and are working on additional risk assessments for situations where they may have to enter a customer’s home.
Drivers will be able to return to the warehouse or shops for regular hand washing and breaks and there will be hand sanitiser available in all vehicles.
We have used both the government’s guidance and the Charity Retail Association’s guidance as well as seeking advice from colleagues within the sector to create our plan.”
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.