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Supermarkets in Wales will have to limit the number of shoppers in store, First Minister says

15 Jan 2021 3 minute read
Mark Drakeford the First Minister of Wales. Picture by the Welsh Government

Supermarkets in Wales will have to limit the number of shoppers in store, the First Minister announced today.

Shops would also have to give regular announcements reminding shoppers to socially distance, due to the new more highly transmissible variant.

These risk assessments will be the starting point for implementing the reasonable measures that are required to be taken to minimise exposure to the coronavirus on premises open to the public and in workplaces, Mark Drakeford said.

Businesses in Wales will have to carry out a specific coronavirus risk assessment under new Welsh Government legislation. This involves considering issues such as:

  • Whether ventilation is adequate;
  • Hygiene;
  • Ensuring physical distancing is taking place;
  • Use of PPE and face coverings.
  • It will also include considering how employers maximise the number of people who can work from home.

First Minister, Mark Drakeford said: “Risk assessments must be reviewed and updated regularly, whenever circumstances change and I want to make clear in law this includes whenever the coronavirus Alert levels change in Wales.

“Recording the risk assessment will only be required by those who employ five or more people. 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.”


‘Regular and reliable’

The Welsh Government is making “really good progress” towards hitting its targets for Covid vaccinations, he said.

He said that the number of mass vaccinations centres was now 45 – exceeding the initial target of 35 by the end of January.

So far, more than 126,000 people have had their first dose of the Covid vaccine.

“We are making really good progress towards our first milestone of offering all front-line health and care staff; everyone living and working in care homes and everyone over 70 a vaccine by mid-February,” he said.

“We expect supplies of the vaccine to increase further in the next week, allowing us to increase the pace of vaccination.

“We need a regular and reliable supply to keep our vaccination effort moving ahead.”


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