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Industry seeks clarity on stores reopening

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Revo have called for clear guidance on the government’s store reopening plans. 

Prime minister Boris Johnson announced last night that shops could start to reopen from 1 June, but only if government is satisfied that Covid-19 has been subdued to the necessary level. 

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “We share the view of the prime minister that safety is what counts when determining when shops can reopen. Already retailers around the country are working on plans for reopening safely and with all necessary social-distancing measures in place.

“The BRC and Usdaw have supported this process with our own social-distancing guidance, learning from the experiences of thousands of supermarkets and other essential retailers. It is vital that the reopening of stores is based on who can do so safely, as opposed to trying to draw lines in terms of different sizes or types of shop.”

However, she added: “Further clarity is needed in coming days and we look forward to more details from the government. We need a plan for shopping as well as shops – this means a plan that allows safe navigation both to and through our retail centres – and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the government to support this process.”

Separately, following a call with the prime minister, industry property body Revo stressed the need for ”real urgency” in developing his new road map. 

Chief executive Vivienne King said: “We recognise the reasons for the government’s caution in easing lockdown restrictions. Deferring the reopening of shops until 1 June at the earliest, provides time for retailers, property owners and local authorities to co-ordinate how retail places can be reopened safely.

“Revo has published a detailed framework for reopening retail to support members’ preparations, and we are now keen to see the government’s own guidelines at the earliest date. We will continue to engage with and inform the government’s roadmap for reopening by sharing our members’ experiences.

“Retailers deemed non-essential have endured two months with almost no turnover from trading, which in turn has placed huge financial pressure on property owners and their lenders. With June quarter rent day fast approaching, there is a real urgency for all constituents to work together to determine how shops can reopen and trade safely without prejudicing public health.”

Johnson is due to present a 50-page document outlining the easing of lockdown to parliament today. 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • As we understand it, the following will apply to clothing stores if the 'R' rate does not increase.

    • By June 8th - "Small retail outlets that can control staff and customer numbers and maintain social distancing may reopen."

    • By June 29th - "Phase in the opening of all other non-essential retail outlets, restricting customer numbers and applying social distancing (limited to retail outlets with street level entrance and exit i.e not in shopping centres)"

    • By August 10th - "Enclosed Shopping Centres may re-open"

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