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BRC: Customers must play their part for safe reopening of economy

LaToya Harding
·3-min read
A pedestrian wearing a face covering due to Covid-19, walks past closed shops on a quiet Oxford Street in central London on March 24, 2021. - Britain's annual inflation rate unexpectedly fell in February as coronavirus curbs sparked heavy discounting for clothing and footwear, official data showed Wednesday, soothing market concerns over inflationary pressures. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Thousands of ‘non-essential’ retailers will be welcoming back customers across England and Wales on Monday, including indoor leisure facilities such as gyms, hairdressers, pubs and restaurants and zoos and theme parks. Photo: Justin Tallis/AFP via Getty Images

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and its members have said that customers must play their part for a safe reopening of the UK economy as shops are set to reopen for the first time in months on Monday.

Thousands of ‘non-essential’ retailers will be welcoming back customers across England and Wales, including indoor leisure facilities such as gyms, hairdressers, pubs and restaurants and zoos and theme parks.

Outside, six people or two households can meet and weddings and funerals can have up to 15 and 30 people, respectively. Children will be able to attend any indoor children's activity and care home visitors will increase to two per resident.

Businesses have spent hundreds of millions of pounds on measures designed to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, the BRC said, including safety glass, queue management systems, social distancing signage, better ventilation, and more frequent cleaning.

It said that members of the public have a key role in creating a safe and enjoyable retail environment for other shoppers as well as shop workers.

The BRC outlined seven crucial steps people should follow including being respectful to shop staff and fellow customers, wearing a face covering in store unless medically exempt and maintaining social distancing.

Other steps included queuing in a considerate manner, following instructions inside and outside shops, following all hygiene measures including regular hand cleaning and shopping alone where possible.

READ MORE: Retailers hope for reopening spending boom after £30bn hit from lockdowns

“The three lockdowns have cost non-food stores approximately £30bn ($41bn) in lost sales – and it is vital that they are able to make their contribution to the UK’s economic recovery,” Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said.

“While we expect an initial surge in spending when shops first open, the real test will be how this holds up. Many of us will be looking forward to returning to our favourite shop in the coming weeks, and we all have a duty to keep each other safe.”

Monday is the start of step two of the prime minister’s four-step plan to begin "cautiously but irreversibly" easing restrictions as the UK vaccine rollout gathers pace.

So far, 31.8 million people in the UK have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the latest government figures.

Step three of the PM’s plan is meant to see international travel open up by 17 May at the earliest.

However, on Thursday night the Global Travel Taskforce (GTTF) did not confirm whether foreign holidays will be permitted from 17 May, but instead suggested that it could still resume "in an accessible and affordable way."

It proposed a traffic light system, which categorises countries based on risk as well as COVID tests, even for people arriving from low-risk green destinations.

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