THE Scottish Government has called for retailers to return to two-metre physical distancing in stores as part of a raft of new coronavirus restrictions.
Regulations are being drafted which will remove the exemption for retail businesses from the two-metre distancing rule from 00:01 on Saturday 10 October. The restrictions are currently set to last for 16 days, although the Scottish Government said they will be kept under review. Environmental health officers are expected to work with retailers to ensure compliance.
In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “From this weekend and across Scotland, we are asking shops to return to two metre physical distancing and reintroduce the mitigations they put in place earlier in the pandemic – for example, one-way systems in supermarkets.”
Guidance for retailers can be found on the Scottish Government’s website.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, was critical of the move.
He said: “Retailers have worked incredibly hard and responsibly to keep customers and staff safe throughout the pandemic, investing tens of millions of pounds on safety measures including plexiglass screens, social distancing and hygiene. They will strive to implement these latest changes too, albeit they are being asked to do so once again at absurdly short notice. Many will be baffled as to the justification for these new two metre restrictions on stores in the absence of any evidence which shows shops are a source of infection.
“For many of our members with a hospitality offering the further temporary restrictions on trading hours will be hard to bear. Those operating cafes, coffee shops, and food-to-go restaurants have adopted every measure asked of them by government, despite the enormous impact on their business models. These additional restrictions may make it impractical for some to trade at all for this period, and the government must urgently provide details of the proposed support for these viable businesses.”