With the news that all non-essential shops will be allowed to re-open from Monday 15 June, a lot of people will be getting ready to hit the high street and indulge in some retail therapy. But although lockdown is being eased, the importance of following social distancing and other public health guidelines hasn’t changed. Here are some key safety measures to help keep you safe in potentially busy areas.
Wear a facemask
Facemasks are going to become mandatory in some places, such as the London public transport network, from Monday. Even if you’re not obliged to wear one, doing so can help prevent the spread of germs. Even if the mask you wear doesn’t protect you from catching the virus, it can help to protect your community.
Follow the shop’s one-way or queuing system
Every shop will need to implement some sort of system to ensure that customers can stay two metres apart. This might include queuing outside to be allowed into the store, following a one-way system while shopping, and queuing in designated zones when you reach the checkout.
There will be lots of signs and arrows, as well as staff on hand to help if you get confused. Following these systems is the best way to stick to the social distancing guidelines and avoid unnecessary contact with others.
Carry hand sanitiser
Washing your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap is the best way to clean away any germs, but it’s not always possible when you’re out of the house. Hand sanitiser can help you to stay clean, so consider carrying some with you to use after you leave a shop. This will be particularly helpful if you’re planning to visit multiple locations.
Pay by card
It’s more than likely that you’ll only be able to pay by card, so keep this in mind if you’re used to paying by cash. Even if the shop does accept cash, using card is likely to be more hygienic.
Some places have even implemented the use of thin plastic screens between customers and checkout assistants: the card reader should be able to recognise your card even through the plastic.
Avoid public transport
Public transport should still be used for essential travel only. If possible, take your own vehicle or travel by foot/bicycle. Where public transport is your only option, you may want to rethink the trip entirely and only go out if it is absolutely necessary.
Go with the flow
Ultimately, you can’t expect your shopping experience to be the same as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. Fitting rooms are likely to be closed in most shops, and you won’t be able to gather with your friends or spend a long time browsing and deliberating over purchases. Each shop will implement the rules slightly differently, so look out for signs and floor markings to help guide you. While shopping may be a new experience, it can still be enjoyable if you embrace the new system and stick to the essentials.