It’s safe to say that COVID-19 has changed the way we now live, work and even shop. Social distancing measures have been in place for over a month, with most people (apart from our wonderful NHS staff and key workers) now only leaving their homes for exercise or essential food shopping. Even then, a 2-metre social distancing rule must be observed at all times.
Supermarkets, smaller food shops and even takeaways, have adapted remarkably well to the unfolding situation. Indeed, it was a baptism of fire for food retailers and their employees, as panic buying and stockpiling increased retail footfall tenfold during the first few weeks of the pandemic.
With the public increasingly adapting to the ‘new norm’ in every aspect of their lives, most people have returned to doing a weekly ‘big’ shop with strict social distancing measures now in place. Supermarkets quickly implemented a controlled queuing system, limited the number of shoppers allowed in store and restricted the number of certain items one person can buy. Most supermarkets have also employed the use of directional barriers, added signage and floor markers to help people maintain the correct social distance whilst shopping. With a limited store capacity and enforced social distancing measures both inside and outside the shop, customers are required to queue up outside (2 metres apart from each other), until someone leaves, and only then they can enter.
Although the British are inherently good at queuing, it is important we establish clear controls and enforce strict measures to stop the spread of the virus. For some, these measures could be a matter of life and death. While some retailers are contracting staff to monitor queues, control the flow of people and caution those who defy the rules, these tasked should be carried out by SIA-accredited security officers. Retail managers employing staff to monitor outdoor queues and prevent disorder or theft need to make sure that this is lawful. Anyone performing this, or any other tasks that manage social distancing, should be properly qualified and hold a full SIA licence.
What is an SIA Licence?
All security staff require a full SIA licence to undertake licensable security activities. SIA, or the Security Industry Authority, is an independent regulatory body for private security companies, reporting directly to the Home Office under the Private Security Industry Act 2001.
This organisation ensures the compulsory licensing of those performing services in the private security industry, and independently assesses these security providers through their voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme. An SIA licence is an assurance of quality and professionalism where security officers must undertake a structured training programme to receive this qualification and are consequently trained to handle any security situation that may arise.