Shell UK general manager for retail Bernie Williamson says the company has taken a wide range of measures to keep forecourt staff and customers safe during the coronavirus crisis.

She told Forecourt Trader that keeping forecourts open was vital in order to keep key workers on the road, and to provide a community service.

She explained: “Our industry is continuing to learn at pace about how to keep its retailers’ staff and customers safe with tangible actions: from following the Government advice on handwashing and social distancing in store, to additional measures such as fitting perspex screens at the till and encouraging the use of contactless payments solutions, or ‘fill up and go’ payments processed from the customers’ cars.

“The frontline staff at Shell sites and other forecourt retailers are vital to helping keep the nations’ key workers on the road, not just because the Government asked us all to stay open but because they know they are providing a community service. Similarly, we have seen our customers are also appreciating Shell’s convenience stores and Deliveroo/Uber Eats home delivery services right now, as supermarkets struggle to keep up with demand.

Williamson said the company acknowledged that some retailers’ staff were anxious about coming to work and was listening to those concerns.

She added: “Shell has already started to respond to this by introducing perspex screens and social distancing and hygiene-related signage in our stores, on which we have already had good feedback from retailers’ staff. Moreover, we have taken a very hands-on approach to helping guide retailers through these difficult next few weeks and recently held a webcast for these staff with a Shell health doctor, which helped share Shell’s position on the issues arising from the virus and key facts in line with the government and health authorities advice.

She said that through industry bodies Shell had been able to ensure more hand sanitiser and cleaning products were available for staff on forecourts. The company has also been providing advice to retailers as the Government has updated its response to COVID-19, and to help them understand the HMRC support they are eligible for.

She added: “One thing that is certain in all of this is that we must all act as responsible retailers to keep staff and customers safe while helping our communities make it through this challenging period.”