10 Jul 2020
After weeks of lockdown, shops are finally open again – just in time for the school holidays. And we know for a fact that most gohenry kids and teens are excited about spending some of the pocket money they’ve saved since the coronavirus turned our lives upside down.
How do we know?
Well, we mapped a 35% increase in saving in the six weeks following the start of lockdown – with a 54% rise in the number of kids saving for summer and a 74% rise in the number of kids saving for shopping. gohenry kids also received a record number of giftlinks: they’ve been sent more than £2.8 million in giftlinks payments since the start of lockdown – so they certainly have money to spend.💰
Of course, the world has changed since we went into lockdown – and many of us are confused or anxious about how to shop safely. So, whether you’re planning a family shopping trip or preparing your teen to head out to the shops with friends, here’s our 10-step guide to going shopping during the Covid-19 pandemic.
If you, or anyone in your family (or support bubble), are showing even mild coronavirus symptoms, you should stay at home. This also applies if one of you has been contacted by the test and trace programme. The main symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature, a new continuous cough and a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste. It’s best to play it safe: if you’re feeling a bit under the weather, then head to your sofa, not the shops.
In England, the government says it’s now safe to meet in groups of up to six people when you’re outside, as long as you follow social distancing guidelines. This means big group outings still aren’t allowed, so encourage your teen to shop with just one or two friends.
Government advice says that you should still try to avoid public transport. This means shopping locally, so you can walk or cycle to the shops rather than using trains, trams and buses. If you do need to use public transport, it’s best to avoid peak times. It’s also fine to drive, but you shouldn’t give a lift to anyone who’s not part of your household or support bubble.
The latest social distancing guidelines recommend that you should stay 2m away from people not in your household, where possible. This is much easier to do if you avoid heading to the shops at the busiest times, such as Saturday afternoons. This means you’ll have less contact with other people, which makes it easier to shop safely.
When it’s not possible to stay 2m apart, the 1m-plus rule means that you can now be 1m away from people who aren’t in your household, as long as there are other measures in place to prevent the transmission of Covid-19. Recommended measures include installing plastic screens in shops and restaurants, making hand sanitiser available and wearing face coverings. You must now wear a face covering on public transport, and it’s also recommended to wear them in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible, such as supermarkets and shops. Reusable cloth masks are widely available, or you can make your own.
Shops are limiting the number of customers who are allowed to enter at one time, so there’s a good chance you’ll have to queue to visit some of your favourite stores. Most shops have placed markers outside to show you where to queue, and others have a one-way system to make it easier to shop safely. There may also be extra security staff to make sure everyone is following the guidelines. Pay attention to markings on the floor as you may need to exit the store through a different door.
Since the start of lockdown, many shops have asked customers to pay by card instead of cash. Contactless payments are recommended, as this means you can pay without any physical contact. In April, the contactless limit for in-store spending was raised from £30 to £45 per transaction, for this very reason.
Even if your child is used to going contactless, remind them that they might still be asked to enter their PIN, especially if they’ve used their card a few times in one day. If you’re worried they’ll overspend, it’s easy to set spending limits via your gohenry app.
You’ll notice hand sanitiser dispensers at the entrance to most shops and, in some cases, you won’t be allowed to enter until you’ve used them. It’s also a good idea to carry your own hand sanitiser so that you can clean your hands whenever you leave a shop. This is an effective way to protect yourself from coronavirus when you’re touching surfaces that many other people will have touched.
Few shops have opened their fitting rooms for now, as it’s hard to do this while maintaining social distancing. Those that have will be quarantining any clothes and shoes that are tried on, before they are sanitised / steamed and returned to the shop floor. So don’t assume that you’ll be able to try before you buy: you may have to try clothes on at home, and return them for a refund if they don’t fit.
Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water is one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect yourself from coronavirus. Remember to do this before you leave the house and as soon as you get back home. Avoid touching your face (or face covering, if you’re wearing one), and, if you stop for a snack, remember to wash or sanitise your hands before you eat.