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COVID-19 Retail Recovery Protocol

There was a big announcement for retail recently, following a nation-wide easing of restrictions. The retail industry is rolling out a recovery protocol for COVID-19 to ensure retailers, employees and customers are confident to return to retail outlets and shopping centres following the stringent lockdowns and public health guidelines.

The Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA), National Retail Association (NRA), Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) and Australian Retailers Association (ARA) have jointly developed the Protocol to provide a consistent, practical and public-health led guide for shopping centres and retailers that continue to trade, are reopening or are preparing to re-open when COVID-19 restrictions start to ease.

The Protocol outlines 10 key actions that retailers and shopping centre could take.

Australian Retailers Association CEO Paul Zahra said: “Retailers have made an enormous effort to protect staff and shoppers, working tirelessly to create a safe and healthy environment through the lockdown period and now as most businesses prepare to reopen and serve their customers. This protocol provides the clarity and consistency that retailers are looking for at this time around best-practice.

10 Key Actions of the COVID-19 Recovery Protocol

10 Key Actions that retailers and shopping centres are recommended to take are:

  1. Making alcohol-based hand sanitiser at key locations such as store entrances, building entrances, customer service desks and food courts.

  2. Increasing frequent cleaning and disinfecting of regularly used objects and hard surfaces, such as disinfecting wipes (e.g. payment registers, ETFPOS machines, hand-rails, bathroom door handles, shelves, shopping trolleys, counters and benches, food-court tables, staff-rooms) and other key hygiene measures (e.g. waste disposal).

  3. Facilitating and encouraging social distancing guidelines in accordance with Government or public health authority directions, which is currently a distance of 1.5m. Actions could include signage ‘reminders’, one-way queueing, and ground markings (e.g. stickers or tape) for queueing.

  4. Ensuring public gathering limits in accordance with Government direction are adhered to, which is currently no more than 1 person per 4m2 in stores (inclusive of staff), can be maintained. Actions could include regulating access points, monitoring customer counts at relevant entrances, and displaying signage.

  5. Promoting contactless transactions such as ‘tap and go’ instead of cash for payments, facilitating distancing at counters and benches, and staff wearing disposable gloves when they are handling objects and money.

  6. Monitoring and encouraging customer adherence to relevant public health guidelines by security guards and other personnel, which may also include Police visits to shopping centres.

  7. Continuing to focus on the community’s access to essential services such as supermarkets, pharmacies and health and medical facilities, especially for vulnerable people.

  8. Daily check-ins with employees on their well-being, ensuring employees and contractors are properly trained and have access to relevant information and personal protective equipment (PPE). These check-ins will include monitoring customer behaviour to ensure retail workers are being treated with respect – abusive and violent behaviour towards retail workers will not be tolerated.

  9. Fostering open and frequent communication between shopping centre management and retailers, including to alert each party to any Government or public health authority directive, to assist authorities when required, and continue to release information and guidance to employees and customers about good hygiene advice.

  10. Maintaining relevant essential safety measures such as air-handling systems, exit doors, emergency power supply, smoke alarms, sprinkler systems and fire-isolated stairs.

National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb said: “As more retail stores start to reopen, which will see a surge in customer demand, the community should have confidence their health and safety is a priority for retailers including how they purchase goods and interact with staff”.

If you are interested in purchasing bulk wholesale hand sanitiser gel, disinfectant wipes or a hygiene stand for your retail business, please get in touch.


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