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Circuit Breaker – guidance for Retailers selling multiple product types

Under direction made under the Public Health (Protection) Regulations 2020, directions came into operation in the Isle of Man from 00:01 on 03 March 2021, which provided for all non-essential retail and wholesale premises and most community spaces such as places of worship and schools, to close.

Businesses that have not been mandated to close and are exempt from closure can be found on the Business closure page. Takeaway and delivery services may remain open and operational in line with previous guidance.

This guidance is issued under the Closure Direction – Premises of the Public Health Protection (coronavirus) Regulations 2020.

Some businesses in the Retail sector are permitted to remain open due to the essential products they sell.

Examples include:

  • Supermarkets and other food shops
  • Health shops
  • Pharmacies and chemists
  • Petrol stations
  • Bicycle shops
  • Hardware shops
  • Agricultural merchants
  • Builders merchants
  • Veterinary surgeries and pet shops
  • Corner shops and newsagents
  • Off-licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol, including those within breweries
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • All Post Offices
  • High street banks, building societies, short-term loan providers, credit unions and cash points.
  • Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off points

However, some businesses may be selling multiple types of product, including some products which are sold in other shops which are required to close. These businesses can open for the sale of essential products, but should not sell those products deemed non-essential. 

If a businesses is selling multiple product types they should follow the guidance below.

Where possible you must limit public access to or close off the areas within your store which fall outside of the following essential product and service types:

  • Food and drink
  • Products ancillary to the sale of food and drink, including disposable items used for the preparation and storage of food (such as kitchen foil, food bags and cling film) but also basic products necessary to prepare and eat food and drink such as food containers, pots and pans, crockery, cutlery and other similar items
  • Products for washing clothes and for cleaning and maintaining the home, including batteries, light bulbs and fuel
  • Any products necessary for the upkeep of animals, including pet food and other pet supplies
  • Toiletries, personal care and cosmetic products (not including make-up testing stands), including toilet rolls and sanitary products
  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Baby products including equipment, clothes and nappies
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Products for the maintenance of bicycles and cars
  • Hardware products and raw materials
  • Services for the repair and maintenance of mobile telecommunications or IT devices

In addition a retailer may sell any item ordinarily sold in small stores such as convenience stores, corner shops and off licences.

Business Guidance 

These restrictions may mean some shops will need to close some areas of their premises to customers. Some parts of large stores will display those “essential” goods that are allowed to continue to be sold while other parts may sell other “non-essential” goods.

Where it is reasonably practicable for essential and non-essential goods to be clearly separated or demarcated then those non-essential goods may not be sold.

In most cases it will be clear where certain sections of the store must be cordoned off and closed to the public. Where there are distinct parts of a store selling (for example) electrical goods, clothes, toys, games, or products for the garden, these should be closed to the public – and these products should not be sold.

Where such products do not have their own sections of the shop, businesses may wish to consider these closed off or cordoned off if reasonably practicable. However, shops will need to make these arrangements in ways which allow safe circulation of customers around the premises, and so particularly in smaller premises we recognise that it will not always be possible to close sections.

In a mixed product type area which contains a combination of essential items listed above and other non-essential items, it is not compulsory for every non-essential item to be withdrawn from display or covered.

It is the store manager’s responsibility to perform a risk assessment and use discretion in that circumstance to decide how the store will operate and is best placed to do so in knowing the layout of the store. Customers should be discouraged from browsing and come into the store with a purpose to buy essential items only.

Retailers should not under any circumstance re-organise their stores or how goods are displayed in order to make it more difficult to differentiate between essential and non-essential goods.

In summary:

Circumstance Action
Non-essential and essential can be separated Cordon off or close non-essential areas to the public. In this case non-essential items must NOT be sold.
Non-essential and essential items are mixed in a small-space and cannot be easily separated Store manager’s responsibility to use discretion.

Collection/drop-off services

All reasonable measures must be put in place to ensure that a 2 metre distance is maintained between members of staff and customers waiting to collect or drop-off.

If possible, businesses should avoid people coming into indoor sections of premises to collect goods, and that click and collect collection points are operated as safely as possible.

Businesses operating a collection/drop-off service are encouraged to:

  • Introduce a contactless collection/drop off zone where customers and staff are able to safely distance, avoid passing goods hand to hand where possible
  • Design their click and collect system to avoid/reduce shared contact surfaces
  • Stagger collection times for customers collecting or dropping off items using an appointment system. This can also assist with contact tracing if required.
  • Continue to frequently clean any shared surfaces that are unavoidable
  • Introduce handwashing or sanitization stations for customers to use at collection/drop off zones
  • Increase the use of hands-free technology to deliver the service e.g. barcode scanners
  • Introduce signage or floor markers to clearly communicate to customers how they can safely collect or drop-off their items
  • Introduce screens to protect members of staff
  • Consider accepting contactless payment only or payment in advance online or over the phone