‘Freedom Day’ has arrived and those who wanted the UK to ‘just get on with it’ after several periods of lockdown and re-opening have been able to rejoice. Not everyone, however, has been looking forward to it, with some elderly members of the population and citizens with health issues feeling frightened to visit shops and other premises. Businesses can help to reassure those concerned about COVID-19 by taking various steps to protect them. Besides the obvious measure of cleaning more often and offering hand sanitiser, here are some ways to protect your customers:
Support the COVID-19 pass
The UK Government is encouraging the use of the NHS COVID-19 Pass, which proves the holder is fully vaccinated or has tested negative for Coronavirus or developed natural immunity. The Government isn’t advising the use of the pass in essential settings such as supermarkets, but it is giving the green light for other businesses to ask for COVID-19 passes, if they see fit, to keep customers and employees safe. It’s especially asking for events venues and settings where large crowds of people gather to do this. In fact, full vaccination is soon to become a requirement to enter such places.
Take a COVID risk assessment
It’s important to keep workplaces safe so that employees, especially customer-facing ones, don’t transmit COVID-19 to others in their workplace or to anyone visiting the premises. Taking a COVID-19 risk assessment is an excellent way to identify what you need to do so you can keep yourself as an employer and everyone who enters your premises, whether customers or employees, safe.
Turn away anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms
This is straightforward: anyone who displays COVID-19 symptoms, whether they’re a customer or a member of staff, should stay away from the premises and self-isolate. After more than a year of pandemic, you’re likely to be familiar with the symptoms, but just in case you’re not, the main ones are: a high temperature, a persistent cough or a loss of sense of smell or of taste. It’s possible to have all three at once, too.
Ask staff to take regular tests
Regular testing can help you identify any cases of COVID-19 in the workplace and ask the relevant employee(s) to self-isolate. Tests are free on the NHS for anyone who has symptoms. Anyone who doesn’t have symptoms can take a free test at home or at a test site. Employers can also hire and pay approved test providers to administer tests and operate workplace test sites.
Poor ventilation in rooms enables the amount of COVID-19 in the air to build up, so good ventilation is essential in indoor spaces. This means allowing old air to escape and fresh air to flow into a space. Open windows, doors and vents are natural ways to improve ventilation. The Government also advises fans and ducts. You can even combine methods, if necessary. How do you know if a space is well ventilated? A CO² monitor can help you detect badly ventilated areas so you can take action.
The lifting of restrictions means it’s not a legal requirement to collect everyone’s contact details anymore for track-and-trace as they enter premises. You can, however, choose to continue doing this by placing an NHS QR code poster up at your venue so that visitors can check in. Not everyone may be using the app, however, so you should also set up a system to record the details of anyone who does check in without it.
It pays to be responsible and take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID, even if the Government has lifted several of the restrictions. Making clear, visible efforts to keep your customers safe will provide them with reassurance. If you’re a retail business that happens to deliver its products, you may still wish to continue observing original safety guidelines such as social distancing and wearing a face mask, the latter being required in any case in crowded spaces or close contact with others.