Coronavirus: stores should reopen for security reasons – Retail Chief


Tesco supermarket cashier wearing protective mask and gloves helps buyer behind plastic screen

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PA Media

Decisions about reopening stores after the lockout should be based on security, not size or type of business, the British Retail Consortium said.

CEO Helen Dickinson told the BBC that she expects a “gradual lifting” of the restrictions with the reopening of schools and transportation from the start.

Dickinson said it would be more difficult for retail staff to return to work while schools remain closed.

Boris Johnson will speak to the nation about the restrictions later Sunday.

The Prime Minister should not say when the restrictions on coronaviruses – first announced on March 23 – could change.

But a senior government source told the BBC that garden centers in England will be allowed to reopen from Wednesday provided they respect social distance.

Johnson is expected to confirm this on Sunday, when he is also expected to unveil a new Covid-19 warning system in England to track the virus.

At the same time, Ms. Dickinson believes the government’s directions will reflect her organization’s own advice on practical steps that can be taken to promote the safety of staff and clients.

These measures would include staggered hours, management of the number of people in stores and the use of plastic screens at payment points.

She said it is up to retailers to make sure they can operate safely, otherwise “they shouldn’t open,” adding that supermarkets have “shown us the way” in the past two months.

The security measures, she added, “would give us confidence as buyers, members of the public, that we could go out to shop.”

She said a gradual lifting of restrictions in different industries, with schools and transportation being tackled from the start, would help retail staff with children.

Workers may also experience problems getting to work. Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps said on Saturday that even if public transportation were to return to full service, social distancing measures would leave only one in 10 passengers effective capacity in many parts of the network.

He urged people to return to work to walk or cycle, and announced that pop-up bike lanes, wider sidewalks, safer junctions and lanes for bikes and buses will be created in England in a few weeks as part of an emergency fund of 250 million pounds sterling.

Dickinson also urged the government to ensure that “the cliffs of support do not fall as soon as the restrictions are lifted.”

She called for “some form of gradual reduction” in the government’s job retention program, which is expected to continue until the end of June.


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