Retail industry releases COVID-19 Retail Recovery Protocol

Australia’s key retail industry groups have united to release a Retail Recovery Protocol for COVID-19.

According to the industry groups, the Protocol will assure the community has confidence that retailers and shopping centres will continue to follow stringent public health guidelines.

This assurance comes as Australia’s governments are considering the gradual easing of current restrictions which would see more retailers reopening and increased visitation to shopping centres.

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 reopen when COVID-19 restrictions start to ease.

Key principles

The key principles guiding the development of the Protocol align with the retail industry’s approach to date. This continues to be prioritising public health and safety to protect people against infection, compliance with public health guidelines, working with governments and public health authorities, and helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Based on the limits on public gatherings announced by National Cabinet in late March, the Protocol outlines 10 key actions that retailers and shopping centre could take. This includes the following:

  • Making alcohol-based hand sanitiser available at key locations such as store entrances, building entrances, customer service desks and food courts.
  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of regularly used objects and hard surfaces (eg, 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 (eg, waste disposal).
  • Facilitating and encouraging social distancing and public gathering limits in accordance with government directions, which is currently a distance of 1.5m and a limit of no more than one person per 4sqm in stores. Actions could include signage ‘reminders’, one-way queueing, ground markings (eg, stickers or tape) for customer queues.
  • Daily check-ins with staff on their well-being, ensure staff and contractors are properly trained and have access to relevant information and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Respect expected

The SCCA, NRA, SDA, PGA and ARA have also called on Australians to treat retail workers with respect while they continue to serve and ensure the community can access essential and other retail goods and services.

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