British Retail Consortium and Usdaw join forces to ensure shops can reopen safely

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and trade union Usdaw are joining forces to ensure non-food shops can reopen safely when the lockdown is eased by the Government.

Members of the public follow social distancing guidelines and queue in the car park of B&Q in Edinburgh

.In preparation for the reopening of a greater number of shops, the BRC said it is working with Usdaw to produce guidance on social distancing for non-food retail stores.

This draws on Government advice as well as the lessons learned by retailers in recent weeks .

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BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Retailers are closely following developments from Government on when restrictions might be eased and are starting to plan accordingly.

“The safety and wellbeing of retail colleagues and customers remains the highest priority and these guidelines aim to support everyone in the industry.

“Since the lockdown, many retailers have proved how shops can be run safely and effectively in line with the Government’s social distancing advice. This guidance is the product of retail’s incredible efforts to adapt to exceptional circumstances.

“The industry knows how to serve the public while protecting staff and customers alike.

“Continued close collaboration with Government, including public support for the steps retailers are taking and adequate notice to get supply chains up and running, will mean that retail businesses can start trading again slowly and safely, and customers can feel confident that they are safe to return to shops.”

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: “Non-food retail should only start trading again when expert public health advice agrees. However, we need to be ready and we need to make sure that the proper preparations and measures are put in place.

“Usdaw and the British Retail Consortium have been working to develop advice and guidance for the non-food retail sector on what effective safe distancing in the shops might look like.

“We would urge all high street retailers to study the joint advice and open a dialogue with Usdaw and the consortium on putting in place plans for adequate social-distancing measures in their stores.”

Essential retailers, such as pharmacies, DIY shops and supermarkets, and those trading online have been transforming their business practices to protect staff and customers. This has included implementing social- distancing measures inside and outside stores.

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