With the recent guidance from the Government that garden centres can reopen after weeks of lock-down, making sure social distancing measures are properly implemented will be a priority for many businesses around the UK.
Here are the top 4 tips to implementing effective Covid-secure measures in Garden Centres:
#1 – Identify the High-Risk Areas in your garden centres
Many garden centres will be looking to re-open in the immediate future, and there will be a lot of changes needing to be implemented in a very short amount of time. Be realistic and accept that you are not going to be 100% safe before you re-open; your responsibility is to follow Government guidelines and take all reasonable precautions to keep staff and clients.
A key part in this is identifying the higher-risk areas within your facilities and taking steps to mitigate the risk. These will differ from store to store, but will include points where every customer will pass through, such as tills and checkouts, entrances and exits, etc.
Depending on the layout of the Garden Centre and how customers flow around the facilities, there may be bottlenecks where people are grouped tighter together; these are clearly higher-risk areas.
#2 – Implement Physical Social Distancing Barriers
Once you have identified the areas within the store that you need to focus, you need to consider the options available to you to mitigate these risks. One of the more effective ways to ensure social distancing takes place is social distancing barriers.
Social distancing barriers can be used for two main purposes:
- To physically direct people-flow, for an area that you may need to implement a one-way system, you can use barriers to block off certain routes. Another popular use for social distancing screens is to join them together to form a queuing system, allowing a number to wait in line without breaching the 2m distancing guidance.
- To act as a sneeze-guard. The main application this is useful is at the tills, between the member of staff and the customer, but the screens can be used for this purpose, wherever people may be facing each other.
Some social distancing barriers are available with castors as well, allowing you to redeploy them around the stores as requirements change.
An added benefit to having physical screens in your store, is that as well as genuinely making the environment safer, they send a clear message to both staff and customers that you are taking social distancing seriously.
#3 – Disinfect for garden centres
Data is still being compiled by scientists, so it is unclear at the moment whether Covid-19 spreads more on air-bourne particles, or by being transmitted via surfaces. What is clear though, is that transmission via surfaces is a real risk. You will struggle to stop people touching surfaces, so it is important that common touchpoints are regularly wiped down with disinfectant.
Providing hand-sanitising stations at the entrance to the store and encouraging customers and staff to regularly use it will also mitigate the risk of transmission via surfaces.