On May 25 the Government updated its Guidance on Working safely during coronavirus, including the section on shops and branches.

This introduction has now been updated to reflect that Guidance. 

On 23 March the Government, stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives. All non-essential premises are now closed. Online retail and click and collect remain open for all stores and postal and delivery services continue to run as normal. 

Since then, the UK government published its Covid-19 recovery plan on 11 May. This referred to a phased approach to re-opening non essential retail beginning from 1st June.  The latest announcement indicates that non essential retail stores are expected to open from June 15 if coronavirus remains controlled. 

Accompanying the original  recovery plan was a suite of guidance for different business settings with specific guides for shops and branches, vehicles and factories, plants and warehouses. These have now been updated in the latest Guidance with shops.  

To a large extent the updated guidance is consistent with the BRC Guidance published below. The updated Guidance imposes a requirement for all stores to undertake a covid-19 risk assessment. A couple of developments are the Guidance proposes that fitting rooms should generally be closed except for essential workers trying on PPE; returned goods and goods tried on should be set aside separately for 72 hoursprotective coverings for large items which should be changed after each use; and customers should be encouraged not to touch goods when browsing; PPE should not be required where it is not usually; face masks are not necessarily effective in most settings.  

The safety and wellbeing of every retailers’ staff and customers is a top priority. Retailers welcome continued government support and clarification to assist managing their workforces.   

To assist our members and interested parties the BRC has worked with its members and external stakeholders to produce recommendations which will assist retailers to facilitate the introduction of social distancing.  These recommendations cover two areas:


Fundamental to provision of online retail and those with stores still open are the colleagues working in warehouse, distribution areas and logistics and supply chains.


As we start to prepare for the re-opening of stores it is clear that some virus control restrictions will continue to be necessary to limit transmission. BRC has worked with USDAW to agree practical recommendations for businesses to consider.  

The documents below outline measures to facilitate implementation of Government advice in retail premises to ensure the safety of our staff and customers.  Over and above these specific measures there should be open dialogue with colleagues to reassure them and discuss any concerns about the safety of their role.    

This guidance has been prepared by the BRC based on input from across the membership. It will be regularly updated, so if you have any proposed enhancements or further input, please email Elizabeth.Andoh-Kesson@brc.org.uk. 
Over the course of the last few weeks we have arranged regular conference calls with our members to gather frequently asked questions so our FAQs document supplements the guidance above.