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

Contents
Coronavirus (COVID-19): retail sector guidance
Questions and answers

4 page DOCX

228.3 kB

Questions and answers

These questions and answers are aimed at providing further clarity to sector businesses following publication of Scottish Government retail sectoral guidance. It is not separate to government guidance but designed to complement the guidance provided above and further the understanding of what businesses need to consider and do to ensure they are operating safely and within the legal requirements.

As we move through Scotland’s route map, this guidance is being regularly reviewed and updated. It remains a gradual process and while the retail sector has made significant progress to date, a high level of caution and awareness is essential in order to avoid any set-backs. Government does not want to keep restrictions in place a moment longer than is necessary, but safety must come first. Businesses are therefore requested to maintain the excellent work that has been undertaken so far and to continue working with authorities to build on that progress.

The shopping experience

 

Q: Are customers allowed to return products?
A: When considering trying on garments, or returns, shops should refer to the Safer Workplace guidance on inbound and outbound goods.

For garments that have been tried on but not purchased and or items that have been bought or returned, shops should consider sanitising them before returning them to public display. Frequent hand hygiene before and after handling incoming goods and regular decontamination of frequently touched environmental and equipment surfaces should be implemented to help reduce the risk of viral transmission. When handling goods, staff should discard any packaging as safely as possible and avoid touching of the face. Shops should also ensure they continue to follow other mitigating measures to reduce the risk of transmission which includes ventilation. Further information on ventilation can be found at the following advice cards:

Advice Card – Ventilation advice for Employers (www.gov.scot)
Advice Card – Ventilation advice for Everyone at Work (www.gov.scot)
Advice Card – Ventilation advice for Everyone (www.gov.scot)

Q: Can my business provide samples/testers for customers?

A: We would encourage retailers to consider the need for samples/testers at this current time, however if deemed necessary use disposable items where possible and follow retail checklist and guidance in order to minimise transmission risks. This includes ensuring 2m physical distancing is adhered to at all times.

Q: How have you engaged with business around this?

A: We have been engaging with retail sector representatives and business organisations to understand their concerns and will continue to do so.

Q: Will people have to queue to get into a store?

A: Possibly, yes. Closing some retail outlets in Level 4 to reduce virus transmission may mean that customers will have a smaller number of stores to choose from, resulting in increasing queues / numbers. The need for businesses to maintain 2 metre distancing also means that fewer people can be inside a shop or store at any one time. Businesses will be expected to determine how many people can safely be accommodated at any one time and implement queuing and other measures to prevent overcrowding. Customers are expected to follow any measures which retailers put in place.

Q: Will you support a campaign to get people to shop local?

A: We would encourage everyone to observe the stay local regulations and think about whether their journey to the shops is necessary and to walk or cycle to local stores, where that is possible, in line with safe travel advice

Click and collect services

 

Q: What changes are being made to the way click and collect services currently operate in Level 4 areas?

From 5 April 2021 click and collect services can be offered by all retailers in Level 4 areas. Retailers offering click and collect services must, by law:

  • Put in place a staggered appointment system with a gap between each appointment where reasonably practicable, and
  • Limit access to the premises only to the extent necessary to provide the service.

Q: Do the changes to the way click and collect operates in Level 4 areas also apply to essential retailers?

A:  Regulations on click and collect via the permitted collection service relates to businesses otherwise required to close. Whilst not applying to retail permitted to open we would still encourage an appointment system to manage customer flow.

Q: Can click and collect be offered by retailers within shopping centres?

A: Yes.

Q: Is collection from a convenience store still permitted?

A: Essential retailers can continue to provide a collection service, which would include grocers /convenience stores.   

Q: Is collection by car still permitted and does it need to be by staggered appointment?

A: Collection of items by car is still permitted. Retailers must follow regulations and guidance on how to operate a permitted collection service, which includes the use of staggered appointments.

Q: Can customers still access the retail store for click and collect purchases?

A: The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, as amended, state that access to the premises of stores required to close must only be given to the extent necessary to provide the service.  Access to other areas of the closed store is not allowed.   

Q: Do click and collect items need to be paid for beforehand?

A:  Orders should be paid for at the time they are placed to minimise the collection time and contact with customers. No additional products should be added to the order once the customer attends the business to pick up their goods and no cash should change hands to minimise contact.  If cash cannot be avoided it should be used in a way that avoids hand-to-hand contact.

Q: What happens if a retailer is unable to comply with the restrictions to click and collect?

A: If a retailer is unable to comply with the law they should cease click and collect services.

Q: Can distribution centres remain open to service online and click and collect shopping as well as deliveries?

A: Yes. 

Q: Can items still be picked from a self-service kiosks or locker?

A: Yes, but customers must still adhere to stay local restrictions in Level 3 and 4 areas..

Level 4

 

Q: Do I have to close my business if it isn’t in the list of retailers permitted to open in Level 4?

A: Yes. For retail premises which have been defined as non-essential – i.e. not on the list of essential businesses above - the legal position is that they will need to close in Level 4. Any decision to move an area into Level 4 will only be made if absolutely necessary to address very high transmission rates.

Q: If I am in the non-essential category, can I still trade online? What about click and collect?

A: Shops and retail businesses that close in Level 4 can continue to make deliveries. From 5 April 2021, all retail may provide a click and collect service to fulfil orders received online, by phone, text or post.

Q: How do I know my business falls into one of the sectors listed as able to open in Level 4?

A:  Business should carefully consider whether their predominant trade can be classed as essential retail and to take their own legal advice before deciding whether they can open in Level 4 in line with the legal restrictions.

Q: Are there any restriction to shopping hours?

A: There are no current plans to restrict shopping hours.

Q: Will appointments be required for showrooms?

A: Face-to-face design consultations within homeware showrooms should be by appointment where possible, with the size of shopping groups to be kept to a minimum. By law, customer access to an indoor motor vehicle showroom in Level 4 must be by staggered appointment with, where reasonably practicable, a gap between each appointment.

Q: What are you closing in Level 4?

A: Level 4 is broadly similar to full lockdown where the priority will be to reduce movement as far as possible to address high transmission rates and this will necessitate closing non-essential retail. Essential retail will be able to remain open in Level 4. From 5 April, all retailers will be able to continue online shopping and click and collect services.

Q: How will shutting shops reduce the spread of the virus?

A: In moving to Level 4 we would expect to see very high or rapidly increasing incidence of the spread of COVID–19 and widespread community transmission which may pose a threat to the NHS. The priority in Level 4 is to reduce movement of people so that we can reduce transmission of the virus. Shopping is an area which can attract a lot of people, many of whom travel to shops, including on public transport. By shutting non-essential shops, we limit the spaces where people are exposed to others in enclosed spaces for prolonged periods.

Q: Will people be able to buy a new or used car in Level 4?

A: Yes – car sales/leasing will be allowed, however people must adhere to the stay local restrictions and only leave their local authority area for an essential purpose. This restriction would also apply to the purchase/leasing of a new car. Indoor showrooms must put in place an appointment-only system with, where reasonably practicable, a gap between each appointment. Businesses must put in place measures to operate safely, for workers and customers, including physical distancing and other measures in concluding transactions. We would encourage as much of the paperwork to be completed online to limit customer time within the showroom. Customers are expected to adhere to these measures.

Q: How should collection be arranged for a customer who has purchased a car? ​

A: The safety of all staff and customers is vitally important, and so businesses should put in place measures to operate safe collection including face coverings and physical distancing.  Retailers operating permitted collection services must: 

  • Put in place a staggered appointment system with a gap between each appointment where reasonably practicable, and
  • Limit access to the premises only when absolutely necessary.

Q: Can car auctions continue to operate in Level 4?

A:  Car auctions can take place remotely (e.g. by phone and online) only in Level 4. Motor vehicle traders may open but may only admit customers to an indoor showroom by staggered appointment, with, where reasonably practicable, a gap between each appointment.

Q: Can a potential buyer take a car for a test drive before buying it?

A: Test drives are permitted prior to final completion of the sale. Test drives should take place with one sole occupant (the purchaser) within the vehicle and the car must be fully cleaned before and after. Motor dealers should put in place processes to ensure test drives are conducted in a restricted and responsible manner, for example through the use of appointments or by offering a test as part of the vehicle collection process.

Q: Will deliveries of large items such as furniture or white goods still be permitted in Level 4?             

A: Yes. There’s more information on this in the general guidance for safer workplaces.

Q: Is the installation of goods such as washing machines permitted in Level 4?

A: Yes – this is also covered in the general guidance for safer workplaces

Click and collect services at Level 4

 

Q: What changes are being made to the way click and collect services operate in Level 4 areas?

From 5 April 2021 click and collect services can be offered by all retailers in Level 4 areas. Retailers offering click and collect services must, by law:

  • Put in place a staggered appointment system with a gap between each appointment where reasonably practicable, and
  • Limit access to the premises only to the extent necessary to provide the service.

Q: Do the changes to the way click and collect operates in Level 4 areas also apply to essential retailers?

A:  Regulations on click and collect via the permitted collection service relates to businesses otherwise required to close. Whilst not applying to retail permitted to open we would still encourage an appointment system to manage customer flow.

Q: Can click and collect be offered by retailers within shopping centres?

A: Yes.

Q: Is collection from a convenience store still permitted?

A: Essential retailers can continue to provide a collection service, which would include grocers /convenience stores.   

Q: Is collection by car still permitted and does it need to be by staggered appointment?

A: Collection of items by car is still permitted. Retailers must follow regulations and guidance on how to operate a permitted collection service, which includes the use of staggered appointments.

Q: Can customers still access the retail store for click and collect purchases?

A: The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020, as amended, state that access to the premises of stores required to close must only be given to the extent necessary to provide the service.  Access to other areas of the closed store is not allowed.   

Q: Do click and collect items need to be paid for beforehand?

A:  Orders should be paid for at the time they are placed to minimise the collection time and contact with customers. No additional products should be added to the order once the customer attends the business to pick up their goods and no cash should change hands to minimise contact.  If cash cannot be avoided it should be used in a way that avoids hand-to-hand contact.

Q: What happens if a retailer is unable to comply with the restrictions to click and collect?

A: If a retailer is unable to comply with the law they should cease click and collect services.

Q: Can distribution centres remain open to service online and click and collect shopping as well as deliveries?

A: Yes. 

Q: Can items still be picked from a self-service kiosks or locker?

A: Yes, but customers must still adhere to local travel restrictions.

Strategic framework and levels

 

Q: Will there be clarity on customers' personal travel between local areas on different Levels and what it means for click and collect etc?

A: There is guidance on travel rules and restrictions and protection levels, including information about essential travel, on our website.

Business support

 

Q: What support will there be for businesses that have to close?

A: Information on current support is available on the Find Business Support website or on the UK Government’s Work and Financial Support pages.

 


Contact

Email: ceu@gov.scot

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