The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) is calling for the UK government to make a clear exit plan out of lockdown for the sector, with Andrew Goodacre CEO of the group stating that “retail continues to be and always has been a safe place”.
The plea comes one week ahead of PM Boris Johnson’s announcement on 22 February, where he is expected to outline his ‘road map’ to recovery from national lockdown conditions.
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.
According to Goodacre, independent retailers are “ready to open as soon as permitted”.
He said: “Independent retailers do not need much notice to reopen. 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.”
“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.”