The health crisis at Covid-19, which led to the hasty closure of the shops has also prompted retailers to review their objectives and the way they sell, to reinvent themselves.
Following the announcement of the progressive and controlled lockdown exit, new questions arise: how do you prepare your shop before the reopening? What are the barrier gestures and the protocol required to restart sales in complete safety? Let’s try to see it more clearly.
This article is based on French legislation, barrier gestures are specific to each country. We give you some advice in this article but be sure to consult the national protocol in force in your country.
How do you prepare your shop for the reopening?
To prepare your shop before the reopening, you can first of all :
- Proceed with a classic cleaning, if the building has been closed for more than 5 days.
- Disinfect all surfaces otherwise
- Ventilate the shop
- Allow water to flow to drain off the volume that has stagnated in the internal pipes during the shutdown period.
- Buy hydro-alcoholic gel and FFP1 masks and/or alternative masks for non sanitary use known as “general public” (even visors for staff)
- Install a plexiglass window at the checkout to secure the cashier
- Reorganize the fitting rooms: every second cab can be used
- Prepare a dedicated space in your stockroom to accommodate quarantined products.
Now, let’s take a closer look at what you need to do in terms of security.
What are the key points of France’s lockdown exit plan?
- Wash your hands with soap and water and wipe your hands with single-use paper towels regularly and after each client (or use a hydro-alcoholic solution that you can hold nearby).
- Ventilate closed rooms every 3 hours for 15 minutes.
- Regularly disinfect objects handled and surfaces (including sanitary surfaces) with a product containing a surfactant (soap, degreaser, detergent, etc.).
Good to know: Avoid wearing gloves, they give a false sense of protection. They themselves become vectors of transmission. If you do use them, never touch your face with the gloves, be careful not to touch them with your skin, throw them away after use and wash your hands.
There are also specific instructions to be enforced in different areas:
At the cash register
- Disinfect the electronic payment terminal after each use
- Wash your hands after each client with a hydro-alcoholic gel.
In fitting rooms
If you have several fitting rooms, it is recommended to use only one in two.
If you only have one, it is best to disinfect the room after each customer and to ensure that the safety distances in the queue are respected.
- After each fitting, the garment should be steamed at 100 degrees to be disinfected. Otherwise the garment is quarantined for 3 days in a dedicated room.
- For accessories and jewellery: disinfect the products after each fitting with a disposable disinfectant wipe. You can also put a disposable paper on the customer’s skin to try on a bracelet or necklace, for example.
How do you communicate these instructions to your employees?
Before reopening your business, start explaining to your staff how it’s going to work, what the new hygiene rules are, so that everyone can come back to work safely.
- If you can, contact them one by one to explain. If you have a lot of employees, communicate all the important information by e-mail.
- Post the instructions in the staff break areas.
- Also invite them to take their temperature if they feel feverish and to self-monitor.
Establish barrier measures: customer side
- Install gel dispensers at the entrance of the store and in the store (fitting rooms, cash registers…).
- Make available single-use masks for customers who do not have them.
- Provide at least one dustbin for customers to throw away handkerchiefs, gloves, masks…
There must be a physical distance of at least 1 metre between each person. This represents 4 m2 without contact around each person to ensure a minimum distance of 1 metre around a person in all directions.
This information should be taken into account when determining how many people can enter your shop at the same time.
To calculate this, the French lockdown exit plan explains that for a store: “It is necessary to subtract from the total surface area which is occupied by the shelving and reserves (among others) to determine the residual surface area for receiving customers. »
For example: a shop with a surface area of 160 m2 can simultaneously accommodate 160/4 = 40 people or employees.
Knowing that the distance can be extended beyond 4 m2 in “dynamic” configurations such as a store where traffic flows are more difficult to control and concentration phenomena difficult to avoid.
Management of the traffic
Respecting the distance also means controlling the traffic flow of customers at the entrance and exit so that the gauge is not exceeded. You must therefore set up traffic plans to guarantee distancing, with the aim of making traffic flow more smoothly in an incentive form (and not a constraining one, as the comfort of the customer remains essential).
How do you communicate these new rules to your customers?
An important step before the reopening of your shop is of course to communicate with your customers! They need to know as much information as possible before they come and be assured (and reassured) that you are welcoming them in complete safety.
Remember to share on your website and/or social networks and/or newsletters:
- The new opening hours: are you planning full or half days? Please specify.
- The sanitary measures set up: do not hesitate to invite customers to come with masks.
- The traffic protocol established so they are not surprised when they arrive.
- The products they will find in your shop: have you reduced your range? If so, it is important that they know.
Reopening: how to make the shop work with these new rules
Manage the shop during the day
Two day-to-day priorities:
- Health safety: provide your customers with gel and masks if they do not have any when they arrive.
- Flow management: you can also propose a system of appointment scheduling to simplify circulation in the store.
Gestures to be implemented after closing
When it comes to clean-up, every day you’re gonna have to:
- Clean the area and all surfaces with a product containing a surfactant to degrease and deactivate potential traces of SARS-cov-2.
- In case of doubt, also disinfect all surfaces with single-use wipes to be thrown in a sealed plastic bag.
- Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter that retains microorganisms from the air exhausted from the vacuum cleaner.
- Then ventilate 15 minutes
- In the bathrooms, also use disinfectant wipes and clean door handles, switches, etc.
- Remember to wash the masks according to the manufacturer’s washing instructions (or discard them if they are single-use).
- Sort out quarantined clothing
What to do in case of non-reopening?
If you don’t want to (or can’t) reopen your shop, think about the several alternatives for sales: drive, videoconference sales, online shop…
Digital can be a good way to maintain some activity and make sales. Even if it does not replace physical sales, it can however be a good complement. In this delicate period, it is the opportunity or never to consider the issue!
Lockdown (exit) is a premiere for all of us: salespeople and customers. It is therefore important to comply with all these rules to ensure the maximum safety of your employees and customers and not to give the virus a chance to continue to spread. The priority remains everyone’s health.
Are you planning to reopen soon? How do you view this transition period before the crisis is finally over? Tell us about it!