DATE: 18th January 2021
TO: All Mandate Members, Mid Western Division
FROM: Karen Wall, Divisional Organiser. Caroline Clifford, Industrial Officer.
RE: Boots Essential Service
Please see below copy of correspondence sent from Rachel Nolan, HR Operations Manager, Boots to Jonathan Hogan, National Coordinator, Mandate.
Mandate Trade Union
9 Cavendish Row
18th January 2021
Re. Boots Essential Service
Dear Mr Hogan,
I am writing in reply to your letters of 8th and 12th January.
Boots Ireland is an “Essential Retail Outlet” and its stores are permitted to remain open during the current ‘lockdown’. As an essential retailer, Boots stores across the Republic of Ireland remain open to ensure that communities have access to a pharmacy and customers can purchase the products they need. Our pharmacists are dispensing prescriptions and medicines to those who need them, continuing to deliver pharmacy services such as flu vaccinations, and are available to give healthcare advice to anyone visiting us. Our pharmacists continue to be the first port of call for people with medical and healthcare questions and concerns.
Boots are prioritising the sale of essential items in our stores, however if a customer wishes to purchase additional products from another area of the store, they are able to do so. Customers can also purchase online via http://www.boots.ie, which we continue to communicate through our marketing channels.
Boots is keeping all items available in its stores to avoid creating unnecessary constraints in aisles to ensure the safe circulation of customers so that social distancing can be maintained. Our colleagues are instructed to assist customers and help them quickly identify the items that they require, minimising their time in the store. Boots is not obliged to restrict access by customers to areas of its stores under regulation 12(2)(b). While Boots sells a mixture of items, its stores in their entirety are Essential Retail Outlets and there is no restriction under the Regulations on which items it can sell.
At Boots Ireland the health and safety of our colleagues, patients, customers and the communities in which we operate is of utmost importance. We have made it our priority to ensure that the Return to Work Safely Protocol and current public health infection prevention and control measures relating to COVID-19 are in place in Boots stores including that PPE is available and worn by our colleagues to ensure their safety as well as our customer’s safety. We continue to update our guidance to stores in line with changes to the Government’s recommendations to ensure the safest working and shopping environment for colleagues and customers. Clear guidance is available for stores with regard to social distancing, number of customers and patients in store at any one time, cleaning, use of testers and the supply and use of PPE. All HSE and HSA requirements are in place and a number of satisfactory visits by the HSA and PSI have taken place. With reference to your letter of January 12th there is no sales targets associated with a No7 product.
With regard to post-Christmas sale, Boots Ireland has made changes to post-Christmas sale activity. All sale focused advertising has been amended which will divert customers to sale offers available on our website, boots.ie. Measures have been put in place to increase our online capacity and cater for an expected increase in demand. The placement of in-store and window sale signage has now been deferred until further notice when additional guidance is provided by the Government. Original signage has been revised from its normal format.
In addition, new signage is now in stores which informs customers that wearing a mask is mandatory.
All our colleagues at Boots Ireland are working diligently to provide a service to customers and patients and to maintain health and safety. All colleagues are playing their part, regardless of their role, in delivering a safe and effective customer service in order to comply with regulations, keep us all safe and maintain our business through these hugely challenging times.
We continue to encourage colleagues to raise any concerns with store and Area managers and engage locally, as Boots with Mandate work towards a common goal in these ever-changing challenging times during this global pandemic. We continue to remind colleagues also of all our personal accountability to follow recommended public health advice outside of the workplace in order to join the national effort to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and the pressure on our health service.
HR Operations Manager.