Association issues updated StoreSafe and SiteSafe guidance as members share their plans

13 Jul 2021

high street glasgow 

After the Prime Minister last night confirmed that England would be officially moving to step four of the Roadmap on 19th July, the Association has updated its StoreSafe and SiteSafe guidance documents.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday evening, the Prime Minister emphasised caution and personal responsibility as cases continue to rise, but with a weakened link between hospitalisations and deaths.

Download StoreSafe Guidance Version Seven

Download SiteSafe Guidance Version Three

Addressing the nation, the Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP said,

“Cases will continue to rise as set out from the start of the Roadmap, but the vaccination programme has substantially weakened the link between infection and serious illness or death.

“Hospitalisations and deaths will continue to rise over the coming weeks and months, but both are far lower than the previous wave. The current data does not suggest that unsustainable pressure will be put on the NHS but all data will be kept under constant review.”

 

Updated Storesafe and SiteSafe guidance

In response the National Association of Jewellers has updated its StoreSafe guidance to version seven  and its SiteSafe guidance to version three .

 In addition, the StoreSafe guidance now includes two posters for members to display. One which requests face coverings to be worn, and one which does not.

 Ben Massey, Director of Marketing said,

 “The feedback from members is that over the coming weeks and months, members will gradually move from step three restrictions to step four in consultation with their staff teams.

 “The shop sensitively posters have been produced for members to give customers peace of mind that members are providing a responsible shopping environment. As face coverings will not be mandatory from the 19th July, one version includes face coverings, and one does not.”

Poster type With bleed for professional printing Without bleed for ‘in house’ printing
NAJ Member poster with face coverings Download Download
NAJ Member poster without face coverings Download  Download

  

UK jewellery industry negotiates the easing of lockdown rules… with caution

 When, on 5th July, the Prime Minister announced the easing of lockdown rules, to take effect from 19th July, there was a general sense of quiet celebration across the country. But at the same time, it left some questions unanswered, particularly for business owners.

Shevaun Haviland, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said businesses were still lacking the "full picture they desperately need to plan for unlocking". Without clear guidance for businesses around the new proposals, there could be real uncertainty on how they should operate going forward and what they should be doing to keep staff and their customers safe.

"This could lead to a fractured, patchwork approach with very different positions being taken by many businesses, across many locations. That, in turn, could severely undermine the public's trust in reopening.

A straw poll among retail and manufacturing members of the National Association of Jewellers reveals a cautious approach to the guidance. There is a reluctance to immediately abandon safety measures that, while restrictive, have proved effective and workable for the past 18 months.

 

“Our focus from the beginning of the pandemic has been on the safety of our people and our customers,” explains Anna Blackburn, managing director of Beaverbrooks the Jeweller. “Following the Government’s announcement regarding the relaxation of Covid measures we’ll be retaining the measures we currently have in place. We’ll retain the barriers into our stores to enable us to control the flow of customers into store. We’ll continue to ask customers to use sanitiser and we’ll continue to use screens at selling stations and face visors will be worn by colleagues. Our preference will be for customers to wear masks, but we won’t enforce this. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and listen to feedback from our colleagues and customers; any relaxation of safety measures will be gradual."

 

Sophie Guess of L Guess Jewellers, Sussex, says: “As a business owner I was  disappointed to hear about the rule changes! We’ve decided, with the full support of our team, that we’ll be keeping all our in-store screens in place. We invested in good quality, smart looking screens that are in keeping with the luxury feel of our stores; to remove them at this point we feel would be a big mistake. We’ve worked so hard to build consumer confidence over the last 18 months with screens and sanitising procedures and we’re frequently complimented on how safe people feel when they are shopping with us.

“We will continue to wear face coverings and keep our customers at a safe distance from each other for exactly this reason too. We feel a lot of people will still be anxious about coming out and we want to reassure our customers that we are still, as we always have been, putting the safety of our team and customers first. 

“I think the self-isolation rule is of great concern to many businesses over the coming weeks, especially with the sudden relaxation/abolishment of most of the restrictions. If their doors have to close for 10 days if a member of staff tests positive, this for some can be devastating after an already difficult 18 months. Our team are all keen to carry out rapid flow testing twice a week on themselves to ensure we are all looking out for each other best we can, so we hopefully won't have to close our doors any time soon! We feel we can't do any more than we already are.”

 

Sara Sweet of Sonkai Jewellers in Norwich, agrees: “Once the restrictions are eased we’re going to continue as we are for a little while longer. The main thing is that we’re going to request that our customers remain masked. If a customer does not have a mask, we have a stash of disposable ones here. Our screens and cleaning processes will remain in place. As we’re such a small and specialist business, the layout of the shop and in-store numbers haven't proved to be an issue and we've helped with this by trying to encourage people to book appointments in advance, rather than just showing up. This will stay in place, too. 

If we had to self-isolate, we'd need to shut the shop for the period and send our two designers home. Fortunately, they can take their laptops home to continue with a lot of their work. Thankfully, it isn't something we've had to deal with yet and I'm hoping we'll get through until August without any issues! As the majority of our income is from the workshop, having the store closed means a delay to our cash-flow as customers collect their work later than expected, rather than missing out on income from retail sales.”  

 

727 Covid guidance captured 

 Image: NAJ StoreSafe posters and latest guidance issued. 


Gary Wroe, managing director of Hockley Mint jewellery manufacturer in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter explains that the company will maintain the measures it has in place for the foreseeable future. “We have bubbles in various areas and when staff leave the area they are expected to wear face coverings when entering another bubble or area. Screens are also used between benches and this will continue until we are comfortable and satisfied that our staff feel protected enough within the workplace.”

 

Safety measures will also remain in place at Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery, which has stores with workshops in Hertfordshire, Cambridge and London. “We’ll be easing measures gradually as the safety and wellbeing of our team and customers is vital of course,” says Harriet Kelsall. “We’re having lots of conversations with our team and customers to work out what feels safe and right for all of us. We’re working on a plan to slowly and gradually ease the measures so that we don’t get stuck in a fear cycle, but only in a way that feels safe and right to everybody. We’ll regularly review this plan keep it agile and fully in line with any guidance, as well as the needs of our team and customer.

“We still don’t have all of our staff able to work in our shops because our Cambridge and London spaces are physically quite small and we’ll need to get them back to work as furlough winds down. We’re keen for our workshop and operational teams to get back physically into work a little more, at a point when it feels safe for everybody, but gradually. We miss being together as a team. Getting the balance and timing right between all of these things will be the answer for us. 

 

Ari Aminoff of Hatton Garden-based pearl jewellery business Matt Aminoff says: “Being in a manufacturing industry it’s essential that workers are physically in the office to handle goods and orders, and it’s therefore necessary that we make every effort to create a safe and clean environment where everyone is happy to work and it’s safe to do so.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic we’ve made every effort to distance our members of staff and to create a safe working environment where everyone feels comfortable. At first we staggered working hours the best we could so there would be a maximum of three people in the office at any one time. We kept sanitising stations around the office and installed plastic screens wherever possible.

“Now that business has picked up again and we require more members of staff to be in the office, we’ve asked employees to only come in if they feel comfortable, and to wear a mask if they feel they should. We continue to sanitise surfaces regularly and require anyone who enters the office to wash their hands immediately.”

 

 

 

Source: The NAJ