ACS chief executive James Lowman

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged Welsh ministers to work in closer collaboration with retailers when they introduce new measures to tackle the spread of Covid-19. New requirements have been introduced today with no advance notice of changes that businesses need to make immediately.

From today, all retail stores in Wales are required to:

  • introduce measures for controlling entry to the premises and limiting the number of customers who are on the premises at one time;
  • provide hand sanitisation products or hand washing facilities for use of customers when they enter the premises;
  • introduce measures to sanitise any baskets, trolleys or similar containers provided for use by customers on the premises;
  • remind customers to maintain distance of 2m between each other and wear a face covering. This should be done by displaying signs and other visual aids and making announcements on a regular basis

Further measures were first proposed by First Minister Mark Drakeford last week, but little detail was provided and there was no set timeline for the introduction of the new rules. The full regulations were published this morning and come into force immediately.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Local shops in Wales have already been implementing many of the new measures that have been set out in the amended regulations to keep customers and colleagues safe throughout the pandemic. However, the new specifics around controlling entry to the premises and sanitising trolleys require additional resources and staff time which for many of the smallest stores is not something that can just be implemented straight away.

“The lack of communication from the Welsh Government means retailers are now reading regulations and trying to devise stop gap solutions rather than focusing on helping customers and colleagues, and maintaining Covid-safe sites – something they have done superbly over the past year. We need better consultation and some notice period to allow stores to prepare.”

The new regulations can be view here https://gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2021-01/the-health-protection-coronavirus-restrictions-no.-5-wales-amendment-regulations-2021.pdf