Retailers should change the way they support colleagues showing the main symptons of cornovirus, according to the Association of Convenience Stores, in response to the

government’s decision to move to the “delay” phase of responding to Covid-19.

“If colleagues show the main symptons of a cough and a temperature, regardless of where they have travelled and who they have been in contact with, they should go home and self-isolate. Other colleagues do not have to leave work immediately but should monitor any symptoms they develop and comply with NHS requests to be tested. Retailers need to be aware of these simple steps,” said James Lowman, ACS chief executive. And in terms of hygiene he said retailers should continue to work to their high standards of food hygiene, maintaining regular hand washing and applying simple good practice.

On the subject of supplies he said there was a robust and diverse supply chain for food and other products sold in convenience stores: "We are working closely with partners in the supply chain, and with them we are urging government to ease delivery and driver hours regulations to help maintain consistent supply in the event of staff absences."

He said retailers played a vital role in supporting communities: “Convenience stores are located in more communities than any other type of business, serving villages, towns, housing estates and high streets. They will continue to provide food, essential services and a community hub.”

In the meantime the ACS is engaging with government and explaining the challenges its members are facing in responding to this outbreak: "We welcome the measures on sick pay and delivery restrictions which will help our sector at this time. We are also working with government on guidance to help retailers, and alerting members to existing guidance, for example of food hygiene and water refills. We are collating all this information and relevant links on a single page on our web site, which members can visit to keep up to date with developments.”