John Lewis has announced that it will open its department stores on a “phased basis,” although the chain has not yet released details about which branches will open.
The chain and other non-essential shops in England can reopen on 15 June, according to government guidance, with open air markets and car showrooms allowed to open from 1 June.
However, different rules apply in the devolved governments.
How is the chain preparing to open?
The department chain has confirmed that it has been preparing to open, informed by what it has learned from the social distancing measures the Partnership has put into place in Waitrose supermarkets.
John Lewis plans to introduce a range of new safety measures, with the phased opening of shops allowing the store to test the changes they are introducing.
There will be reduced availability of customer services. For example, close-contact beauty services will not be offered, and customer catering outlets and fitting rooms will remain closed until further
Returned stock will also be separated from new or old stock for 72 hours to avoid the risk of infection.
New safety measures
The department chain plans to introduce a range of new safety measures when shops open again.
- The introduction of a ‘Customer Service Host’, assigned to welcome customers into the store and answer any questions while managing customer numbers within safe limits, manage queues at entrances and busy areas of the shop, and explain to customers the changes they’ll notice in store
- Reduced number of entrances
- Caps on the number of customers entering stores
- Prominent social distancing signage
- Protective screens at checkouts and areas of the shop where two metre social distancing cannot be achieved between customers and employees
- Control procedures for escalators and lifts - limiting the number of users
- Rigorous and frequent cleaning
- Provision of hand sanitiser for customers at all entrances
- Social distancing in back of house areas
- New contactless payment limit of £45
‘The best and safest customer and partner experience’
In a statement, the John Lewis Partnership said, “Our plan sees us open our shops on a phased basis to enable us to test the changes we are introducing and ensure the best and safest customer and partner experience.
“The safety of our customers and partners will govern everything we do and we are prepared to readjust our plan and make changes as we go to make sure we get it absolutely right and continue adhering to evolving Government guidelines.”