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Five Australian retail associations have come together to release a Retail Recovery Protocol for COVID-19 to assure Aussies that it is safe to shop.

The Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA), National Retail Association (NRA), Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA) and Australian Retailers Association (ARA) have jointly developed the protocol.

The Retail Recovery Protocol's aim is to assure consumers and retail staff that retailers will continue to follow strict public health guidelines as they resume trade.

The key principles guiding the development of the guidelines align with the retail industry’s approach to date, which continues to be prioritising public health and safety to protect people against infection, compliance with public health guidelines, working with governments and public health authorities, and helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Based on the limits on public gatherings announced by National Cabinet in late March, the protocol outlines 10 key actions that retailers and shopping centres could take, including the following:

  • Making alcohol-based hand sanitiser available at key locations such as store entrances, building entrances, customer service desks and food courts.

  • Frequent cleaning and disinfecting of regularly used objects and hard surfaces (e.g. payment registers, Eftpos machines, hand-rails, bathroom door handles, shelves, shopping trolleys, counters and benches, food-court tables, staff-rooms) and other key hygiene measures (e.g. waste disposal).

  • Facilitating and encouraging social distancing and public gathering limits in accordance with Government directions, which is currently a distance of 1.5m and a limit of no more than one person per four square metres in stores. Actions could include signage ‘reminders’, one-way queueing, ground markings (e.g. stickers or tape) for customer queues.

  • Daily check-ins with staff on their well-being, ensure staff and contractors are properly trained and have access to relevant information and personal protective equipment (PPE).

SDA national secretary Gerard Dwyer said that it was important to develop the protocol to protect retail staff.

"As retail workers continue to be on the front-line 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."

ARA CEO Paul Zahra added that the protocol offers retailers one solid source of information when it comes to reopening safely.

"Retailers have made an enormous effort to protect staff and shoppers, working tirelessly to create a safe and healthy environment through the lockdown period and now as most businesses prepare to reopen and serve their customers.

"This protocol provides the clarity and consistency that retailers are looking for at this time around best-practice," he said.

The bodies also called on Australians to treat retail workers with respect during these stressful times.

Click here to read the full Retail Recovery Protocol.

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