The Co-op has announced new measures to enforce social distancing in its stores in a bid to protect customers and staff from the spread of coronavirus.
The retail giant has introduced a range of measures across its 2,600 stores, including floor markers which will define a one-metre distance throughout the store and two-metre spacing for customer queues.
The Co-op is also aiming to limit the number of customers in stores at any one time as well as reducing the number of tills open, to allow greater distance between shoppers.
Chris Whitfield, the Co-op’s chief operating officer, said: “The safety and wellbeing of our colleagues is our priority and we fully support the need for social distancing.
“We have introduced a number of measures in store, which will be reviewed on a daily basis, and we thank our customers for their understanding and support.
“We are immensely proud of our frontline colleagues and the work they are doing at this unprecedented time to serve our customers, members and local communities but we urge our customers to follow the Government advice to only shop for essential items and to be considerate of others when they are shopping.”
The company added that to encourage the message to stay at home, Co-op stores will have reduced opening hours which will give staff time to re-stock and is encouraging contactless shopping where possible to reduce the handling of cash and speed up checkout.
Additional hand sanitiser, antibacterial wipes and soap have been provided to all stores.
Halfords said it was “fundamentally changing” the way its stores operate, announcing that customers will not go inside.
Services and collections will be provided from the front of stores, all within the social distancing rules, while workers in the most vulnerable groups have been asked to stay at home.
A statement said: “Our aim is to keep the key workers and businesses that are important to the Covid-19 response moving.”
Graham Stapleton, chief executive of Halfords Group, said: “I am really proud of our colleagues and how they are supporting us in our commitment to playing our part in keeping the UK and Ireland moving.
“However, we will only continue to play our role if we can ensure the health and safety of our colleagues and customers, and compliance with government policy. That’s why we are reshaping how our stores serve local communities across Britain.”
Elsewhere, B&Q said it is now only operating online with all stores closed for the near future.
Online marketplace eBay has announced measures to support small businesses trading through the site.
It said it is launching a 30-day payment holiday for all 300,000 UK businesses registered on the site and new firms registering with the site will not have to pay fees to list or sell until May 31.
It said it is also “cracking down on sellers listing items at unreasonably inflated prices”.
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