Monthly Archives: June 2020

Non-essential retailers in Leicester forced to close again

Non-essential retailers in Leicester have been placed on lockdown again following a spike in coronavirus cases in the city. The decision comes just two weeks after non-essential retail in England was allowed to reopen. Schools in Leicester have also been put back into lockdown. The situation comes as the rest of England prepares to ease […]

‘Encouraging’ start to return of non-essential retail

The latest Bira members’ survey has revealed ‘encouraging’ trade following the reopening of non-essential shops in England. And Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre has welcomed the reopening of the hospitality industry – on July 4 in England – as it will further support members and the wider independent retail sector. The members’ survey was carried out to assess […]

Retailers in Scotland urged to promote use of face masks

Retailers in Scotland are being urged to display a poster at their entrance requesting shoppers to wear face coverings. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has made the request following a decision to reopen most non-essential retail on Monday, June 29, with further restrictions eased from July 6. The Scottish Government has provided template posters and printable […]

Scotland update: Restrictions eased from July 6

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a further easing of lockdown restrictions from July 6. She told Scottish Parliament today that outdoor hospitality such as beer gardens can reopen on Monday, July 6, while indoor pubs will be able to reopen on July 15 – with strict social distancing in place. Shopping centres will […]

Deadline for deferring VAT payments imminent

Bira members are being advised the deadline for deferring VAT payments is the end of this month (June). As part of the Government’s support for businesses during COVID-19, HMRC gave businesses the option of deferring their VAT payments if they were unable to pay on time, without incurring late payment interest or penalties. Payment of […]

Hairdressers and hospitality set to reopen on July 4

Pubs, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers and hotels will be allowed to reopen on Saturday, July 4, it has been announced today (June 23). Prime Minister Boris Johnson also told the Commons that the 2m social distancing rule is to be reduced to 1m – where it is absolutely necessary, and safe, to do so. Hospitality will […]

Bira members’ survey results helps extend government protection scheme

Bira has welcomed the decision to extend protection for businesses from aggressive debt collection. The extended measures will prevent struggling retailers from eviction until September. The protection was due to expire on June 30. The decision was made by the Government after Bira shared information supplied by you in a recent members’ survey. The survey […]

Non-essential retailers in Wales to reopen on Monday

Non-essential shops in Wales will be allowed to reopen on Monday (June 22), it has been announced. The devolved government said shops would be allowed to trade as long as social distancing measures can be put in place. Shops in Northern Ireland reopened on June 12, and on June 15 in England. In Scotland, shops […]

Shops in Scotland can reopen on June 29 – under strict conditions

Shops of all sizes in Scotland will be able to reopen from Monday, June 29 – as long as they have outdoor entrances and exits. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced plans for non-essential retail under Phase 2 in Scottish Parliament this afternoon. She said that from June 29 retail premises of all sizes can re-open, […]

Social distancing kits help members welcome back customers

Bira members have given the thumbs up to a range of social distancing kits. Online supplier,, has been helping retailers welcome their customers back safely with their equipment which includes protective screens, sanitiser stations and pavement signs. The range has received endorsement from a number of Bira members,  including Tracy at Harvey’s of Halifax. She […]

Bira fights for retailers who missed out on Covid-19 support

Bira has vowed to continue to fight for retailers who have missed out on government support. The pledge follows the findings of the Treasury Select Committee that one million people had missed out on receiving any financial support during the pandemic. The committee’s report is supported by Bira’s own research which revealed many of you […]

Government’s letter of thanks to retailers

Bira members – and the wider non-essential retail sector – have been thanked for reopening their doors this week. In an open letter to the retail sector, the Government Minister for Small Business, Consumers & Labour Markets Paul Scully thanks everyone for ‘rising to the challenges of Covid-19’. He also thanks those working in essential […]

New guidance for retailers concerned about threat of Covid-related abuse

Bira Legal has put together a guide for retailers concerned about the increased threat of violence and abuse towards them, following the outbreak of Covid-19. Ellis Whittam -Bira’s legal partner – has created the guide after  a new survey indicated that violence and abuse of shop-workers has doubled in recent months. The poll was carried […]

Task force launches new support for retailers

Bira members are urged to take advantage of some of the new support on offer from the High Street Task Force. The Government-funded group is offering a range of cutting-edge tools, training, information and advice for high streets across England as part of its efforts to reopen safely from today (June 15) and support their […]

Will you be #OpenForBusiness?

Non-essential retailers are encouraged to post pictures on social media as they reopen from Monday (June 15) using the hashtag #OpenForBusiness. The Government’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is launching the campaign next week to encourage people to visit shops that are reopening and to help retailers let people know that they […]

Non-essential retail can reopen on Monday, says Business Minister

Business Secretary Alok Sharma confirmed last night (June 9) that non-essential shops can reopen on Monday – as long as they are Covid-secure. He said retailers can open as long as they follow safety guidelines – and complete the required risk assessment – or they could face enforcement notices. He also said pubs, bars, restaurants […]

Bira Bank agrees loan repayment holidays totalling £1.662 million

Bira Bank has agreed to £1.662m worth of loan repayment holidays for Bira members since the outbreak of coronavirus.   The Bank approved over 100 repayment holidays for members across the UK, including a ladies’ fashion retailer who saw their online activity increase enough to bring furloughed staff back to work, and an outdoor gear […]

Scottish grant scheme extended

Small retail businesses in Scotland, which share properties but do not pay business rates, are now eligible to apply for grants, it has been announced. The extension to the Small Business Grant Fund will apply to firms occupying shared office spaces, business incubators or shared industrial units and who lease the space from a registered, […]

Reopening date confirmed for non-essential shops in Northern Ireland

Non-essential shops in Northern Ireland will be allowed to reopen from Friday, June 12, it has been confirmed. The Northern Ireland Economy Minister Diane Dodds confirmed that non-essential shops (except shopping centres) can re-open from Friday during a trip to Debenhams in Belfast city centre. She said it was a major step forward in the […]

Bira opposed to proposed relaxation of Sunday trading laws

Bira has expressed concern for proposed relaxation of Sunday trading laws. Under plans being suggested by the Government, England could suspend Sunday trading laws for a year in a bid to boost the economy. However, Bira – who has added its support to the Keep Sunday Special campaign – is opposed to the proposals, saying […]

Soho Road BID scoops top award

Soho Road Business Improvement District (BID) – a Bira Associate – has received a prestigious award from the Queen. The volunteers of Soho Road BID in Handsworth, Birmingham, have been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2020. It is the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK, recognising the outstanding […]

Face coverings to be mandatory on public transport in England

Bira is urging its members to stock up on face coverings after the Government made them mandatory for use on public transport from June 15 in England. Tonight, Grant Shapps, Minister for Transport, announced that from mid-June, anyone travelling on public transport will be required to wear non-medical face coverings. Last month, Bira teamed up […]

Business rates revaluation postponed in Wales

Bira has welcomed the decision by the Welsh Government to delay the revaluation of business rates.  The announcement follows a similar ruling made in England on May 6, which saw the Government scrap a bill to revaluate business rates in 2021. The decision to postpone the revaluation in England, made following pressure from Bira and […]

Bira’s guide to help retailers reopen with confidence

Bira has created a simple guide to help independent retailers open again with confidence later this month. The 5-step guide to Covid-secure reopening takes members through what they need to do to be safe and compliant ahead of reopening on June 15. It also contains valuable guidance for those already allowed to trade – steps […]

Low footfall and consumer confidence top of members’ concerns

Low footfall and a lack of consumer confidence are some of your biggest concerns ahead of reopening on June 15. We conducted an exclusive members’ survey to gauge your feelings ahead of the reopening of non-essential retail later this month. Of those respondents, almost 50% said they planned to reopen on June 15. Only 2% […]

Retail sector guidance published for Scotland

The Scottish Government has published its retail sector guidance to help prepare retail businesses to reopen. The guidance is applicable to all retailers in Scotland with immediate effect and includes the proposal that stores of all sizes will be able to open up to 800m squared of sales area from ‘Phase 2’ of their lockdown […]