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COVID-19 Information for Essential Retail Businesses

                                                                                                                                       

On 24 March 2020, the Executive Office in Northern Ireland published a list of essential businesses that are permitted to remain open to members of the public during the Coronavirus emergency. 

Essential Business List

If your business is classed as ‘essential’ you must risk assess your activities and implement effective measures to ensure that you are doing enough to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to protect your employees, members of the public and anyone else you may encounter (e.g. delivery personnel etc.).  An example coronavirus related risk assessment template has been created by HSENI  The HSE have also published information and guidance on Coronavirus 

The following information, while not exhaustive, are examples of the type of matters that you must consider as part of your risk assessment.  You must ensure that any control measures that you implement are relevant to your business activities, are suitable and sufficient and are implemented effectively on an on-going basis.

Social Distancing

Essential businesses which are remaining open must ensure a distance of two metres between all persons – this includes between employees, between customers, between employees and customers and any other visitors (e.g. delivery personnel).  Effective arrangements must be in place to ensure customers enter separated, so as to ensure spaces are not crowded and separation can be maintained.  Effective queue controls and distance markers may be required inside and outside of premises to ensure safe and effective separation is maintained.  This may require properly protected additional employees at premises entrances/exits to manage numbers of customers within their premises and clear signage informing customers of the need to maintain social distancing.  The use of frequent PA announcements will help reinforce this message.  Suitable screens may be required to protect employees/customers (e.g. at checkouts).  Management and employees must ensure the requirements of social distancing are firmly adhered to.

Further  information on social distancing  

 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Where suitable PPE is required for employees to carry out their work activities safely, employers must provide this free of charge and ensure there is enough available.  Examples, may include: gloves, face masks, aprons etc General information on PPE 

Hygiene & Cleaning

Businesses must ensure that there are suitable facilities for employees to wash their hands with soap and hot and cold running water and ensure that they do this regularly for at least 20 seconds each time. 

Information on effective handwashing 

Ensure to catch all coughs and sneezes with tissues, binning them immediately after, the provision of tissues to employees and the display of posters to promote the message of CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT, will help achieve good respiratory hygiene (see links to posters below).

While not a substitute for effective hand washing, hand sanitiser should also be provided for employees and, the provision of hand sanitisers and towels/tissues at work areas should also be considered.  You should also consider providing hand sanitisers for customer use when entering and leaving your premises and ensure that these are managed effectively. 

Equipment and surfaces that are touched regularly, should be frequently cleaned and disinfected, taking care not to spread any potential contamination.  Advice on Cleaning  

Vulnerable Employees

Employees from vulnerable groups should follow the government’s advice  

Management Arrangements

It is important to keep all employees updated on actions being taken to reduce risks of exposure in the workplace.  Ensure all employee contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date.  Ensure managers and supervisors know how to spot symptoms of COVID-19 and are clear on any relevant processes, such as sickness reporting and appropriate procedures if someone in the workplace is potentially infected or displaying symptoms.

Posters and Other Information

Proactive steps must be taken to remind everyone of the key public health advice, to help reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).  Some posters, leaflets and other materials are available from the links below and should be displayed in prominent positions to help inform both employees and members of the public.

https://www.publichealth.hscni.net/publications/advice-covid-19-coronavirus  https://campaignresources.phe.gov.uk/resources/campaigns/101/resources/5016

Arrangements for Suspected COVID-19 Infection

If someone becomes unwell in the workplace with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they should be sent home, advised to stay at home and follow the public health advice 

Compliance

It is absolutely essential that everyone follows the ongoing advice and rules set down by government to deal with and prevent the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19).  Further information and guidance is available from the links below:

Advice for Employers and Businesses                                

Daily Updated Guidance

 

Business Support Information: 

Updates And Support 

SME Toolkit

NI Business Info

Please Note: The above are not an exhaustive list of example precautions and guidance and it is your responsibility to do all this is required in your particular circumstances, to ensure your efforts are effective.

During this difficult time, we will continue to support and provide assistance to all essential businesses.  Should you wish to discuss any matter with a member of the Health & Safety and Consumer Protection Team, please do not hesitate to contact us on 028 71 253253 or by email at [email protected]

Further information and guidance is available on Coronavirus (Covid-19) and on general health and safety

The Council’s Business Team can also be contacted for further support at: [email protected]