Business secretary Alok Sharma has penned a letter to key stakeholders in the retail sector to thank them for the vital work being carried out during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The letter from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy was sent on 8 April.
“I know that these are challenging and uncertain times, in particular for retail businesses and staff across the country”, Sharma wrote. “Many shops remain closed as part of the national effort to fight coronavirus. I understand how hard that must be for those who run and work for those businesses, and I want to thank you all for following the government’s direction.”
A breakdown of the letter:
- Clarifies the government’s position that online retail can continue to operate, with postal and delivery services also continuing: “the government has always been clear that online retail can continue to operate and is encouraged, and that postal and delivery services will continue to operate. I want to pay tribute to all of you who continue to work tirelessly in the retail sector to ensure that the public can continue to access the goods they need in these challenging times.”
- Highlights government guidelines on operating safely in shops and distribution centres, stating, “the government has advised that wherever possible people should work from home. However, I know that for many of you, your job requires you to travel to your place of work. You can continue to do so. This is consistent with the Chief Medical Officer’s advice”
- Thanks the sector for helping people get through the crisis
- Mentions some of the support available for businesses at this time: “the government is also supporting businesses and their employees with a package of measures during this period of disruption. The gov.uk/business-support website has all the information needed for people to find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus on their business”
- Highlights ongoing government engagement with industry and union leaders
The letter added: “Thank you again to everyone operating in the UK retail sector. You are making a hugely valuable and critical contribution to the resilience of our nation and I commend you for the enormous efforts you are individually undertaking to support the UK economy.”