The public health advice is clear and consistent. The public should stay at home wherever possible but can access essential services, including to go to an essential retail outlet to get supplies for the essential upkeep and functioning of their homes. The overriding public health objective for essential retail outlets remains to keep footfall to the absolute minimum and to make use of home working as much as possible. Retail outlets that open should ensure that physical distancing and public health guidelines are rigorously implemented.
The Government Guidelines of 27th March provide guidance on keeping footfall to a minimum and on physical distancing measures as follows:
- ensure adequate distancing between customers and shop assistants in line with public health guidelines;
- only let people into the store in small groups and ensure spaces are not crowded;
- manage queue control inside and outside the door to maintain necessary physical distance; and,
- all Essential Retail Outlets are encouraged to provide online services where that is possible and appropriate to minimise footfall.
The NSAI has also published a guidance document for the retail sector that will be informative to members – the NSAI also operate a helpline to advise employers and operators on essential measures to implement workplace protection and improvement plans, see: https://www.nsai.ie/covid-19retailprotection/