Speaking on behalf of many independent cookshops and housewares retailers, Bira (The British Independent Retailers Association) is calling for the Government to make a clear exit plan out of lockdown.
PM Boris Johnson is expected to outline his ‘road map’ to recovery from national lockdown conditions on Monday (February 22). As part of the strategy, Bira would like a clear plan for independent retailers, many of whom – as ‘non-essential’ retailers – have been closed for two thirds of the last year.
“Independent retailers do not need much notice to reopen,” states Bira 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 continued: “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: “We’d like to see a positive national campaign to increase consumer confidence in terms of safety.”
Bira would also like to see all barriers to shopping removed, including temporary road closures, unnecessary one-way systems, and the need to quarantine returned goods. “Retail continues to be – and always has been – a safe place,” emphasised Andrew.
Top: Independent cookshops have prioritised safety of staff and customers: masks and till screens at The Woodbridge Kitchen Company, pictured when open in August 2020.