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5 ways to help keep your staff and customers socially distanced

5 ways to help keep your staff and customers socially distanced

It’s good news for the market stall holder community - many stalls that were previously shut under Government guidelines are now returning to serving their customers.

But it won’t quite be business as usual. Market traders will be required to ensure that they’re helping their staff and customers to observe social distancing, which will present some challenges.

Here, we’ve outlined 5 ways you can start the process of ensuring your stall is observing the new rules:

1. Plan your stall’s layout

  • How many customers can reasonably be expected to follow the two-metre social distancing rule at your stall? Use your total floorspace to identify this figure, and adjust your stall’s layout accordingly.
  • Putting in place barriers between staff and customers, and/or putting together a queue line will help customers to keep to the rules, while keeping staff at a safe distance from them.
  • Consider pinch points and busy areas, too - often queues will begin to bunch together at the front, for example - and ensure any changes you make give sufficient space for customers to distance within it. Visual guidelines such as barriers will be helpful here, too.

2. Limit contact between customers and products

  • Wherever possible, customers should be limited or discouraged from touching products. This can be achieved by changing how you display your products - setting them out of arm’s reach of customers, for example, or behind a barrier - or alternatively by placing them underneath protective coverings.
  • If you’re using protective coverings, you should consider changing these frequently, cleaning the used coverings before placing them back on products.
  • If neither of these are possible, consider rotating out goods which have been handled by customers and then placed back on the stall. Store any handled goods for at least 72 hours before putting them back out on display.

3. Limit hand-to-hand contact between staff and customers

  • Supply plenty of hand sanitiser for both staff and customers, and consider signage asking customers to use it. This will help to significantly limit transmission risks for both. In addition, clean any frequently used touchpoints on the stall - these might be barriers which customers are touching or leaning against, or other elements of the construction which customers come into frequent contact with.
  • If possible, consider switching over primarily or exclusively to contactless payments, to limit your staff’s close interaction with customers and with cash. The card reader can be placed at a distance which means that staff and customers can remain at a safe, two-metre distance from one another.

4. Change fitting room and customer returns policies

  • If at all possible, fitting rooms should be closed currently, as these provide a significant opportunity for transmission. At the very least, consider stopping fitting room assistance by staff, as there are inherent difficulties in delivering this while observing social distancing.
  • If some trying on of clothes is still permitted, any clothes which customers have tried on but not bought should be stored securely for 72 hours minimum before being handled and displayed again.
  • Likewise, any items returned by customers should also be stored for 72 hours before being handled and displayed again.

5. Ensure your changes are inclusive and clearly communicated

  • Finally, ensure that any changes that you do make are inclusive to all, and take into account any adjustments that you may need to make for, for example, disabled shoppers. That may mean making queue lines sufficiently wide, or ensuring that contactless payment points are at a height reachable by all.
  • Clear communication of the changes are also key - we’ve mentioned signage at your stall regarding your changes, which is a great way of letting customers know how you’re keeping them and yourselves safe, but also ensure that you’re communicating with the council and/or market management about how you’re observing social distancing. They may be able to provide additional support and guidance.

Don't forget to talk to us for help with your market traders insurance. Call us on 0207 618 2929 Mon-Fri 9:00am-5:30pm

Written by : Maddy Harris

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