With the fuel retail sector identified by the Government as one of the keys to keeping the emergency services going during the coronavirus pandemic, the PRA and its members have been working flat out to ensure they can operate safely for customers and staff.

PRA chairman Brian Madderson said: “We have been and will continue to be exceedingly pro-active with support for members.”

He explained that in a fast developing situation one of the biggest problems for dealers has been keeping up with the changes being introduced.

Madderson, and PRA commercial manager Gordon Balmer ,have been in daily contact with the Government’s Energy Resilience Team, and a daily briefing by MILS, the PRA’s legal specialists, has been posted on the members-only section of the PRA’s website (www.ukpra.co.uk).

Madderson and Balmer have also been holding daily teleconferences with some of the larger dealer groups to update them, and to enable them to share examples of best practice.

One of the most recent requirements has been to control distancing between customers and many forecourts are now placing strips on the floor at tills and around self-service coffee machines so customers can maintain the required 2m distance between them.

With the Bank of England conceding that bank notes can carry bacteria and viriuses, some forecourts have also switched to payment by card only. In a briefing note Balmer said: “if you do decide to restrict payment to card only I would like to stress the importance that this should include all fuel cards, for clarity the fuel cards that you accepted pre emergency. This is business critical as many of the blue light fleets and key businesses rely on payment by fuel card.”

Other initiatives that are being taken at some locations include:

Erecting screens at till points;

Recommending customers use gloves when handling fuel dispensers;

Cleaning fuel dispensers very often;

Staff to wear gloves;

Staff to wash hands every 15 to 30 minutes;

Serving through night hatch;

Provide free delivery service for vulnerable locals;

Free wash service on forecourt;

Moving to 24 hours as it allows staff to deep clean and re-stock convenience items.