Ahead of Boris Johnson’s much anticipated ‘road map out of lockdown’ announcement on Monday February 22, there is already intense speculation that non-essential shops, which include gift retailers, will be allowed to open their doors again at either the end of March or the beginning of April, with the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) calling for the Government to make a clear exit plan for the sector.
“Independent retailers do not need much notice to re-open,” points out Bira’s ceo Andrew Goodacre. “All of the safety protocols are in place with regards to protective screening, hand sanitising and social distancing signage. Furthermore, there is still a lack of evidence that suggests small shops contribute to spread,” he said. “We do not believe that there is a need for a tier system this time, or differentiation between essential and non-essential shops. Small shops, whatever their nature, can control the number of customers at any one time.”
Andrew is also calling for the Government to encourage people to return to their local high street, stating: “We’d like to see a positive national campaign to increase consumer confidence in terms of safety.”
In addition, the Association also wants all barriers to shopping to be removed, including temporary road closures, unnecessary one-way systems, and to quarantine returned goods. Added Andrew: “Retail continues to be – and always has been – a safe place.”
Non-essential’ retailers have been closed for two thirds of the past year.
Top: Non-essential retailers must be allowed to re-open, says Bira.