Covid-19: Morrisons installs plastic screens to protect in-store cashiers

Morrisons has installed plastic protective screens at the checkout in a bid to protect cashiers from the highly infectious coronavirus currently sweeping through the nation.

While retailers are shuttering stores up and down the high street, supermarkets are deemed essential and are having to come up with innovative solutions to make staff feel safe in the workplace.

The retailer said it was installing the installing perspex screens – which are 1.5 metres wide and almost one metre tall – at all checkouts in all of its stores. The screens will inform customers of social distancing measures, while also directing them to the small windows for payments. The supermarket is still accepting cash, but encouraging customers to use card of mobile payment where possible.

“We want to do our bit to help customers and colleagues from being affected and to help everyone observe social distancing at our checkouts," said David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons. "This will help us to continue to play our full part in feeding the nation – it’s more than our job.” 

Last week, prime minister, Boris Johnson, ordered pubs, restaurants, cafes, and gyms to close . But as yet, retailers have not been ordered to shut their doors, although it is expected this guidance will come in due course, in line with events in other countries seriously affected by the virus including China, Italy, Spain, and France. In Germany, social gatherings of more than two people have been banned, and thousands of retailers have been forced to close their doors in the country.

Supermarkets have been reducing opening hours in order to allow staff to restock shelves which are stripped bare every morning by customers who are panic buying. Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, pointed out there is an extra billion pounds worth of food in peoples’ houses that wasn’t there a few weeks ago. This has made it difficult for NHS workers and vulnerable people to buy the things they need, so many supermarkets have implemented trading hours purely for these groups of people.