Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): retail sector guidance

Guidance for the retail sector, including procedures for staff and customer safety and an operations checklist.

4 page DOCX

228.3 kB

4 page DOCX

228.3 kB

Coronavirus (COVID-19): retail sector guidance
Assessing risk and workforce support

4 page DOCX

228.3 kB

Assessing risk and workforce support

As a minimum we expect:

  • working from home to continue, where possible. It is recognised that this is not going to be possible for many retail employees but where it is possible (for example in the case of back office / management functions) this should be undertaken.
  • health factors to be considered in any phasing of who returns to work, with employees living in vulnerable households only expected to return when new safer working environment measures have been fully tested and a return to onsite work is consistent with medical advice.
  • new retailing arrangements should be tested and modified in agreement between employers and employees, including by phasing where possible. 
  • Employers should be aware of other regulatory compliance measures and any impacts. 
  • employers to also take account of travel to work considerations.
  • employers to take account of childcare arrangements, in the case of nurseries and schools not being fully operational.
  • employers to take account of vaccination appointment

Assessing risk

You should make sure that the risk assessment for your business addresses the risks of COVID-19, using the general guidance of safer workplaces to inform your decisions and control measures. The outcome of the risk assessment is to identify and implement sensible measures to control the risks in your workplace.

Information about supporting those who should come to work, and those who should not. 

Continue home working

Organisations should make every reasonable effort to make working from home the default position as it has been throughout the pandemic. Where a worker can perform their work from home, they should continue to do so.

Full home working guidance provides more information on this.

Employee health and wellbeing

Organisations should aim to create an inclusive environment. With the aim that every worker feels that they are returning to a supportive, caring and safe environment. More information can be found within the general guidance for safer workplaces.


The vaccine represents an important step in our progress towards a safer return to workplaces. Evidence to date shows it will reduce both mortality and morbidity, however we do not know the extent to which the vaccine reduces transmission of the virus from an infected person to others. That is why it is important for businesses and employees to act responsibly, follow FACTS and continue to align their approach with published guidance.

Further information and guidance available at Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination.


We are providing information, advice and tools to help you make choices about your day to day activities and interactions including work.

Specific guidance for those on the shielding list can be found at support for shielding on This includes information on:

  • working in current restrictions
  • financial assistance
  • Chief Medical Officer letters

People who need to self-isolate

Anyone required to self-isolate, for example due to contact with someone who has had a positive test for coronavirus (COVID-19), is displaying symptoms, is awaiting test results or as a result of quarantine rules on arrival from overseas will need to do so for 10 days following updated clinical advice. More information on workers who need to self-isolate can be found within the general guidance for safer workplaces.

Working patterns

Employers may develop plans to change shift patterns and opportunities for flexible working patterns to both protect the workforce and optimise productive capacity. While this might help fulfil orders it would require proper consultation with trade unions or employees if it involved a change in employee terms and conditions. 


The interpretation and use of any guidance should be considered in line with normal protective security operations and practices. Organisations should consult with and involve their security departments in the interpretation and implementation of the guidance. In particular, security should be considered in any revised risk assessment.

Further detailed guidance can be found on the Centre for the Protection of National Industry - staying secure during COVID-19 and the UKG National Counter Terrorism Security Office webpages. 



First published: 1 Apr 2021 Last updated: 22 Apr 2021 -