March 4, 2021

Layout, Social Distancing & Fresh Air

Hands, Face, Space.

The key rule is to maintain a 2m distance between people at all times. The social distancing guidelines are not only valid within business premises, but need to be respected by staff members while travelling to and from work and by customers while waiting or queuing outside a premises.

Where social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in particular circumstances, businesses should consider whether that activity can be redesigned to guarantee space between people using mitigating methods. If not, the activity should be avoided completely.

Businesses must calculate the maximum number of customers that can reasonably follow social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) within the store and any outdoor selling areas. Take into account total floorspace as well as likely pinch points and busy areas.

  • When it is not possible to keep a 2m-distance, there are extra measures to mitigate the risk that must be put in place, for example:
  • - Washing hands and cleaning surfaces more often
  • - Keeping the activity time as short as possible
  • - Using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
  • - Using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
  • - Provide your staff with extra PPE protection, such as visors and goggles to be used in addition to a face masks
  • - Reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams' or 'partnering’, so each person works with and encounter only a few others

Social distancing applies to all parts of a business, not just the place where people spend most of their time, but also entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and similar settings. These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing and workers should be specifically reminded. Never let your guard down: a nice and quick coffee break with a colleague could represent an even higher risk of contracting the virus.

If you do not want to keep verbally warning customers, you can disseminate the space with posters that remind them to keep the distance from other people, as well as floor marking, which indicates the direction of the visit or delimits where people can stand when queuing or waiting before the counter.

You should also space working areas as much as possible or install shields and barriers, if not viable. It is also crucial to minimise contact when handing over products or reduce access to fridges, counters and display stands, and make sure everything is well spaced out so that people do not happen to get too close to each other to reach what they need.

Fresh air and outdoor space

Adequate ventilation helps dispersing particles of virus is in the air reducing the risk from aerosol transmission. You should maximise the fresh air in your premises by increasing both natural ventilation (keeping windows doors and vents fully or partially open) and mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts to bring in fresh air from outside.

Your may have different means of providing ventilation for each area: start by making a list of areas in your workplace and how they are ventilated. Floor or design plans may help with this, but sometimes walking around and making a note of each area and how it is ventilated is the best solution. You can get take a fullassessment of ventilation here.

If you have the possibility, try to maximise the outdoor space: there, you can hold socially-distanced in-person meetings with the staff (if not run remotely), create new experiences for guests or customers, extending your business space in a safer environment.


Guidelines from the government

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Covid-19
Social distance
Safety