Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): retail sector guidance

Guidance for the retail sector, including close contact services such as hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons, which covers procedures for staff and customer safety and an operations checklist.

Deliveries and distribution

As a minimum we expect companies to:

  • provide early clarity to their supply chain about honouring of orders in the system, linked to new production capacity and consumer demand/contracts
  • treat all visitors including suppliers and delivery drivers, as if they were employees, ensuring they are offered the same protections and are expected to follow the same rules 

Early supplier engagement

COVID-19 is an international crisis impacting most countries. The global nature of the virus means it may continue to impact on demand for some goods and on normal supply chain relationships. Engagement with suppliers is recommended to understand how well placed suppliers will be to provide inputs at the level required to meet a company's expected demand including logistical issues associated with the current functioning of international supply networks.  

Minimising pressures on supply chains is paramount to ensure that suppliers at risk are better able to cope with the current crisis and ensure service continuity and delivery during and after the outbreak. Companies are encouraged to work with suppliers to understand their specific pressures and identify potential solutions on a case-by-case basis.

Operational guide for retailers in managing deliveries and supply (COVID-19)

  • have in place pick-up and drop-off collection points, procedures, signage and markings. For example asking customers who are picking up online orders to open the boot of their car, so if required workers can load the goods to avoid unnecessary contact between employees and customers.
  • order larger quantities of goods to reduce the number of deliveries
  • where possible and safe have single-employees unload vehicles or keep employees in consistent pairs or groups
  • enable delivery drivers to access welfare facilities when required, consistent with other guidance
  • encourage drivers to stay in their vehicles where this does not compromise their safety and existing safe working practice
  • create one-way flow of traffic in stockrooms
  • ensure face coverings are worn by all staff in indoor communal and delivery/distribution areas

Last updated: 30 October 2020



First published: 9 Dec 2020 Last updated: 19 Jan 2021 -