A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Having an A team and a B team is still necessary in retail in this Covid impacted world

Last year, a few months into Covid, plenty of retailers that could open set their roster so that the business could function of Covid impacted their workforce. They’d have an A team and a B team, and, sometimes, a C team.

I know of some newsagents continuing with this approach today, which makes sense given how much infection continues to spread in the community. In my own businesses we have them structured to minimise interruption should an infection hit the workplace.

The arrival of Omicron in Australia and news of the ease with which it spreads is a reminder, I think, of the importance on business owners to determine settings that appropriately serve the health and safety of all who work and shop in the business – regardless of state or territory government regulations.

I am fortunate to have spent the weekend in Sydney. It was interesting seeing retail outside of my home state Victoria. In big businesses the approach to protection pot employees and shoppers was more consistent than in small business.

In small businesses while check-in was monitored as was vaccine status, there was little checking of shopper distance and in most situations, no acrylics at the counter separating shoppers from employees.

For what it’s worth, I think all retail situations in Australia right now should have acrylic panels between shoppers and employees, along with easy access to hand sanitiser, free good quality masks for all employees and rest / cleaning breaks.

We keep hearing that there is no stopping Covid spreading. A business that is a point of infection does have to close, and be cleaned. Any step we can talk to reduce the opportunity for this the better in my view.

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