Personal hygiene, hand washing and protecting staff

It is essential that staff are able to wash their hands frequently.

Hand washing facilities

  • Ensure the area where the hand washing facilities are sited is clean and hygienic. The facilities must be disinfected at the start and end of the day.
  • The hand drying must be a single use disposable towel e.g. paper towel or blue paper roll. This should be placed in a dispenser which is fitted to the wall. A reusable cloth towel is NOT acceptable.
  • Liquid soap must be available at the wash hand basin. Make sure you have a plentiful supply (antibacterial soap is recommended).

Effective hand washing

Ensure that staff wash their hands properly (using the correct technique and for, at least, 20 seconds – see the link to a video at “Additional Information” on the webpage). This must be done before starting work, after coughing or sneezing or blowing their nose, before and after restocking shelves, after a break or touching their phone and before leaving the shop.

Note: You and your staff must wash your hands properly after blowing their nose or coughing into their hand BEFORE they touch any other surfaces. Hand sanitiser is no substitute.

Healthy hands

You should provide hand moisturiser and / or barrier cream to reduce the risk of dermatitis.


You and your staff should wear a clean uniform which they ideally change into when they arrive at work and take off before leaving work or be provided with an apron. Bear in mind that the virus may survive on clothing for up to 3 days.

Hand hygiene for customers

Provide hand sanitiser for customers to use before entering the shop. We recommend that customers sanitise their hands again as they leave the shop and you should provide sanitiser at the counter for their use.

A poster is referenced on the webpage for your use which says “For the safety of everyone, please use this hand sanitiser before entering. Do not enter if you are ill”

The basket handle and the trolley handle must be sanitised each time before they are used by the next customer. The sanitiser and disposable paper must be provided and we would suggest that a member of staff is allocated this role to ensure that the customers’ hands are not contaminated by a previous customer via the handle. The same member of staff will be responsible for limiting the number of people in the shop.

Contamination of food and packaging

Ready to eat foods such as bakery products must be protected if they are not packaged. You must protect the foods. You should provide a sneeze screen and gloves for staff who handle the product.

Paying at the till

It is difficult to maintain social distancing between the customer and the till operator when paying.

The most effective way of keeping staff and customers safe is to install a sneeze screen barrier. It needs to be wide enough and high enough to be effective. It is suggested that you put a barrier at the counter with a gap to pass through money. The screen will need to be about 1m x 1m. (You can purchase free-standing screens on line for around £60 with free postage and can be delivered within days).

An alternative may be to create an exclusion zone around the till area with a customer notice “Please stand behind the line while being served”. You could place boxes in that area to discourage customers from straying into that area. However, the counter will need to be cleared and long enough for customers to load their shopping and put it into bags 2m away from the operator. At no time should customers be directly in front of the operator if there is no barrier.

In order to maintain the 2m distancing while customers are putting their goods onto the counter, you will need to create a sufficiently large area near the till. I suggest you have an open container on the counter that can slide along the counter to the till for scanning (like the ones used in airports at baggage checks). A large tray may be useful until you can provide something better. The shopping can then be transferred to another container and pushed along the counter for the customer to load their bags. The containers must be disinfected at the beginning and end of the day and whenever they appear dirty.

Taking money and giving change

Most people can make contactless payments. Put the enclosed poster at the till which says “Please use contactless payment if you are able to do so. Contactless payment is available for purchases up to £45” 

(a) At the till the operator should wear a glove to take money (assume the money is contaminated).

(b) Put the money into a quarantine box and leave it there untouched for 3 days (the virus can survive for 3 days on money), or disinfect the money.

(c) Remove the glove and give change from the till using your hand.

(d) Place the money in a dish and push it towards the customer. Disinfect the dish at the beginning and end of each day.

(e) Remove the glove when not at the till (“easy glove” is good for this

You should wear different gloves in the shop.

Provide separate gloves for each worker (a coloured sticker on the easy glove can be used).

Provide a plastic washable cover for the keys on the till to enable thorough cleaning. Disinfect the cover at the beginning and end of the day. (covers cost £20-30)