Today we have outlined our plans for in-store face coverings in our food and funeral businesses, as we continue to lead the way on safety measures during these uncertain times.
With over 400 food stores and funeral homes across 16 counties, we are asking customers to follow Government guidance and wear a face covering when visiting one of our businesses.
All colleagues will wear a face covering or visor while at work to ensure everyone plays their part in staying safe and healthy.
Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op Chief Executive, said: “Nothing is more important to us all at Central England Cooperative than the health and safety of our colleagues and customers.
“Ahead of the official start date of the 24 July for customers to wear face coverings in shops, we will be asking colleagues to do so from today (Monday 20). This is to ensure the message is as clear and consistent as possible for everyone.
“Our colleagues have all been supplied with face masks for when they are working and will be playing their part in helping our communities to stay safe. We want our colleagues to feel comfortable wearing a face covering for up to eight hours at a time, and so are also ensuring more comfortable face visors are available to those who prefer to wear one.
“Some customers are rightly exempt from this request, for health or religious reasons. We have made these exemptions very clear on our website www.centralengland.coop and all team members will be reminded of these important exemptions. Priority access for NHS team members is still in place, to allow these frontline workers to be in and out of store as quickly as possible.
“So, we now ask all of our customers to wear a face covering so we know together we’re co-operating in our efforts to be safe.”
The new measures on wearing face coverings will sit alongside a range of others already in place at Central England Co-op sites, which have been very well received by customers. These include:
On entering the shop:
• Prominent markings installed outside stores so customers queuing to enter maintain safe distances of two metres, as well as messages asking those customers who may have symptoms of Covid-19 not to enter the store.
• Permanent hand sanitiser stations at the front of all stores and a one-way system in place permanently
• Specialist cleaning products are used to regularly wipe down the countertops and chip and pin machines, ATMs, baskets and trolleys
• Clear markings installed throughout stores to communicate two-metre spacing. Customers are asked to maintain these distances while shopping and this is repeated frequently via in-store radio messaging
At point of payment:
• Special markings installed to showcase two-metre safe distances while queueing
• Team members are using every other till point or checkout to keep both customers and colleagues a safe distance apart
• Special markings installed in front of till points and checkouts of at least one metre. If a customer needs to enter this area to place down a basket or use the keypad, colleagues move backwards to maintain a safe distance
• Customers are asked to pay with card or contactless if possible
• Over 1,000 plastic screens at till points and 7,000 face visors issued to staff.