Supermarkets in Wales face tougher coronavirus rules

Supermarkets in Wales will be legally required to provide hand sanitiser to shoppers and limit the number of people in stores or face FINES while all businesses will have to carry out a Covid risk assessment to make sure workplaces are safe

  • Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced tougher rules for supermarkets
  • All open retailers will be legally required to provide shoppers with hand sanitiser
  • They will also be required to make sure they limit number of people allowed in
  • Meanwhile, all businesses will have to put in place a Covid risk assessment 

Supermarkets in Wales will now face a legal requirement to provide shoppers with hand sanitiser and to limit the number of people in store at any one time – or risk fines. 

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford today announced tougher rules for retailers in a bid to prevent the spread of the new mutant strain of coronavirus.

Mr Drakeford said existing regulations will be strengthened to force retailers to provide sanitiser for hands and to clean trolleys while they will also be required to regularly remind shoppers to stick to social distancing. 

Meanwhile, the new package of measures also includes a requirement for all businesses which employ five or more people to put in place a Covid risk assessment.

The documents will have to take into account things like whether a workplace has adequate ventilation, the use of PPE and social distancing and whether employees can work from home.         

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford today announced stricter rules for supermarkets in Wales

Mr Drakeford said the risk assessments must be reviewed and updated regularly by law even when Wales moves down from its current Alert Level 4.

He said: ‘We are working closely with employers, trade unions, local authorities and the Health and Safety Executive to consider the detail on how to keep work settings safe.

‘Ministers have also met this week with key retailers to discuss their vital role during the pandemic. They set out the actions they are taking from providing sanitisers for hands and trolleys on entry, limiting the numbers in store at any one time; and making regular announcements reminding people to keep their distance from others.

‘We will strengthen regulations to ensure retailers take these steps so that their premises are as safe as possible for shoppers and their employees alike. Many are already operating high standards and we need to raise the bar for those who could and should improve.

‘However we all have a personal responsibility to help make shops as safe as possible. 

‘We all need to shop alone if we can, observe the 2m rule, practise good hand hygiene and wear a face covering unless exempt. Any abuse directed at store employees who remind people of their responsibilities will not be tolerated.’

Mr Drakeford said it is the ‘responsibility of owners and managers’ to make sure stricter rules are observed in Welsh supermarkets.

It is understood that environmental health staff will be tasked with ensuring firms comply, with stores which fail to meet the new standards facing fines.   

Mr Drakeford told a press conference in Cardiff: ‘Regular announcements over Tannoys, markings on floors, notices that are up, all of those things are things that the managers can make sure are in place.

‘To be completely clear, it is entirely unacceptable that retail staff who have done so much to help us all during this pandemic – going into work every day to make sure that there’s food we can put on the table – it is entirely unacceptable that those people should face abuse in the workplace.

‘We’ve worked closely with the trade unions in reaching the conclusions that I’ve outlined. None of this is designed to put those people at any greater risk.’

Passengers planning to travel into Wales from abroad will also have to prove that they have tested negative for coronavirus before their departure, Health Minister Vaughan Gething has said.

The requirement, which comes into effect from 4am on January 18, is designed to protect against importing new strains of Covid-19 which are circulating internationally. 

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