Australia’s key retail industry groups have united to release a retail recovery protocol for COVID-19 to assure the community, including retail employees and customers, that retailers and shopping centres will follow stringent public health guidelines as some stores prepare to reopen.
The Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA); the National Retail Association (NRA); the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA); the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA); and the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) have jointly developed the protocol, providing a consistent, practical and public health-led guide for shopping centres and retailers.
Based on the “limits on public gatherings” announced by the national cabinet in late March, the protocol outlines 10 key actions that retailers and shopping centres could take.
Among these are that alcohol-based hand sanitiser will be available at all key locations, such as entrances, building entrances, customer service desks and food courts.
Furthermore, stores are expected to undergo frequent cleaning and disinfecting of regularly used objects and hard surfaces, and to facilitate social distancing by enforcing a limit of no more than one person per 4 square metres.
Daily check-ins with staff on their wellbeing are also part of the plan, as retailers look to ensure their staff and contractors are properly trained and have access to relevant information and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Shopping Centre Council CEO Angus Nardi said the protocol is about providing necessary assurance to the community.
“As more people return to shopping centres, we want to assure the community our industry is working hand in hand to ensure that strict public health guidelines are followed and that we provide a safe, healthy and secure environment,” Mr Nardi noted.
The SCCA, NRA, SDA, PGA and ARA have also called on Australians to treat retail workers with respect while they continue to serve and ensure the community can access essential and other retail goods and services.
“As retail workers continue to be on the frontline serving the community, it is critical that they have a safe working environment and that public health protocols are in place to protect them and their customers,” said national secretary of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association Gerard Dwyer.