Coronavirus: Retail can operate click and collect services during circuit-breaker

News article

Retail businesses will be able to run a click and collect service in a controlled way that helps to ensure the safety of customers and staff

The information on this page relates to the restrictions on non-essential retail between 27 November 2020 and 10 December 2020. For the current information see Coronavirus: Business closures and restrictions in Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Executive has agreed that controlled ‘click and collect’ services for retail can operate during the two-week circuit-breaker beginning on Friday 27 November up to and including 10 December 2020.

To ensure click and collect facilities can operate on an appointment-only basis with maximum mitigations in place it is recommended that users should apply the following principles:

  • Retailers and customers are encouraged to use on-line ordering and delivery as the first choice for customers. This is preferable as it will limit population mobility and social interactions and contacts.
  • Those retailers who do not have an online facility should consider the potential of phoned-in or text ordering.
  • Collections are required to be by appointment only and should be scheduled to ensure no customer-customer contact and no queuing.
  • Retailers are encouraged to allocate time slots which will allow them to manage a reasonable number of people per hour and customers are encouraged to attend within that timeslot.
  • If collection is from a store in a shopping centre the collection point should be close to the entrance with a one-way system.
  • Customers are not permitted to enter stores - the collection should be from the entrance door.
  • Collections should be by a designated customer to collect only - there should be no household groups.
  • Customers and retailers should encourage where possible pre-payment methods and contactless proof of purchase on collection.
  • Customers and retailers are reminded of the continuing necessity to use face coverings and the use of screens to protect customers and staff.
  • Travel to and from the store should if possible be by car, foot, or bicycle.  If by car, members of one household should travel together (and only one person to collect, see above).
  • Customers and retailers should continue to provide and use hand sanitisers for customers and staff, preferably by way of hands-free dispensing methods.
  • Retailers are encouraged to design their click & collect system to avoid/ minimise shared contact surfaces, to continue to frequently clean any shared surfaces that are unavoidable and maximise the use of hands-free technology to deliver their invaluable services.

There are some practical steps businesses can take to keep it as safe as possible.   These mitigations are based on the high-level general principles of infection prevention within the context of COVID-19.  See Coronavirus: Working safely in different business settings.

The use of the appointment system aims to reinforce the positive impact of Test, Trace and Protect

Eligible businesses will still be able to access financial support schemes during this period.


First published: 25 November 2020