Reopening shops during COVID-19: safety guidance to adapt your commercial premises and reduce the risk of Coronavirus transmission together with a ready-to-use project
Non-essential retailing, especially the fashion sector, has been hit hard by Covid-19 and, as physical shops are gradually reopening during Step two of the “plan for reopening society”, shops’ owners will need to follow government’s guidelines on social distancing and hygiene in addition to completing a coronavirus risk assessment.
So, if you own a shop or if you are a technician appointed to adapt a commercial premise according to new safety measures and guidelines for infection control, read this short guide through to help achieving a safe and healthy return to work.
Specifically, in this post we’ ll provide you:
- a video showing how to operate with Edificius to adapt workplaces
- presentation slides
- a 3D project that has been created with Edificius and that is ready-to-use as a reference model
- various COVID-19-related 3D objects ready for download.
In order to open the 3D project file, you will need to first download Edificius free trial version and follow the steps indicated below.
This render is an example from our case study created with Edificius that shows how a clothes store has been adapted to ensure safety and healthy precautions for customers and staff.
In the first part of this post you’ll find some useful guidelines specifically for employers, while the second part will address technicians that have been appointed to transform a workplace to be compliant with safety measures.
The employer’s obligations
These non-binding guidelines aim to help employers and workers to stay safe and healthy in a working environment that has changed significantly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please also refer to your national or local legislation in response to COVID-19 outbreak.
Safety guidelines for retailers reopening shops
Following the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019) pandemic, most of the Member States of the European Union (EU) have put in place a number of measures, including those affecting workplaces, to fight the spread of the disease. Some safety measure to minimise the exposure to COVID-19 at work include:
- prepare adequate information on prevention measures
- especially in shopping centers, body temperature should be detected, preventing access in case of temperature> 37.5 ° C
- provide access rules, based on the characteristics of an individual businesses, in order to avoid gatherings and ensure customers maintain at least 2-meter distancing
- ensure a wide availability and accessibility to hand hygiene systems with hydro-alcoholic solutions, encouraging frequent use by customers and operators
- for clothing stores: disposable gloves must be made available to customers to be able to choose items independently
- customers must always wear a mask, as well as workers especially during customer interaction
- handwashing facilities and cleaning materials should be made readily available for staff
- ensure daily cleaning and disinfection of common areas
- opt for frequent air exchange indoor and totally exclude the air recirculation function for air conditioning systems
- the cashier counter should be equipped with sneeze guards (eg panels); alternatively, staff must wear a mask and have hand sanitizing gel available. In any case, encourage electronic payment methods.
Shops reopening plans: the guide for technical experts
Download the project file produced with Edificius to use as a reference model to adapt a workplace and protect workers and customers.
Consider to first download and install the free trial version of Edificius to be able to open the BIM model.
How to adapt a commercial premise
This section of the article is dedicated to technicians appointed for mitigating the risk of contagion from COVID-19 in a commercial premise. If you belong this category, we recommend you to implement the safe work practices and control measures below in different store areas:
- entrance: doors equipped with an automatic opening and closing system should be provided to guarantee interpersonal distancing, avoiding queues and gatherings while they prevent the spread of the virus
- points for hand hygiene: place several dispensers for hand sanitization, in particular at the entrance and, in the case of a clothing store, customers must be provided disposable gloves to try and shop for items independently
- area for measuring body temperature: if the shop has sufficient space, an area dedicated to measuring temperature must be provided, possibly near the entrance
- space for the isolation of potentially infected people: if possible, provide a space dedicated to the isolation of subjects who show symptoms attributable to the infection by COVID-19
- internal pathways: provide a mandatory pathway for customers to guide them in the shop, from the exhibition area, to the dressing rooms, to the cash desk, so as to avoid gatherings and ensure safety distancing is maintained
- checkout area: equip the cashier counter with sneeze guards in plexiglass with special openings for passing money or credit cards through
- air exchange systems: make sure that adequate air exchange is guaranteed in all environments through natural and / or mechanical ventilation, excluding the air recirculation function for air conditioning systems
- toilets: replace air hand dryers that can cause droplet dispersion with paper towel dispenser.
Case study: plan for readapting a clothes store
Let’s now take a closer look at a practical case study that you can use as an example for your project.
The surveyed stage
The clothing store is located in a central urban area and has 3 glass storefronts on the main façade.
The large showroom area guarantees a comfortable moving of customers and staff. The dressing rooms are located in a more reserved area, which also includes the toilets, the staff changing room and a technical systems compartment. At the end of the exhibition and sales area, there is a stockroom.
The air conditioning ducts, together with track lighting, create a visible aerial path of the installation system components.
How the shop will change after the lockdown
Here’s how we’ve rearranged spaced.
To avoid handles touching, we’ve replaced double doors with an automated sliding door.
At the entrance we’ve placed a standing dispenser holder for hand sanitizing gel, a thermal scanner, gloves and a waste bin too.
Various signages have been hanged in different areas of the store to support physical distancing and hygiene.
Showroom and sales area
A 10 cm wide strip has been fixed on the floor to identify a one-way flow for customers and so to avoid queues and gatherings.
Additional hand sanitizer dispensers with disposable gloves have been placed in this area too.
Check out counter
On the cash desk, plexiglass sneeze guards have been mounted with openings for passing money or credit cards through.
Fitting rooms and restrooms
Fitting rooms should be carefully considered and only used where necessary, given the challenges in operating them safely. They should be cleaned very frequently, typically between each use.
We’ve opted for paper towel dispenser in the restrooms to replace the air hand dryers, so as to reduce the contagion and possible spread of the virus.
Shops reopening plan: video to adapt your premises
This video shows the main steps to make the necessary changes to adapt the clothes store environment with measures in response to the COVID-19 contagion risk, using Edificius, the architectural BIM design software.