Latest news from Bira

10 Feb 2021

Bira helps member to remain open - despite being told to shut

Bira has helped one of its members to remain open - after they were told to close for allegedly breaching lockdown restrictions.

WC Baker, a hardware store in Fleet, Hampshire, was visited by an official from Hart District Council and told they would not be allowed to continue trading due to the national lockdown regulations.

The member contacted Bira for advice; as an 'essential' retailer supplying building materials and tools to the trade, they believed they were allowed to remain open.

Bira confirmed this was correct, but contacted the Government's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for clarification.

The BEIS responded saying: "I am writing to reassure you that you can open. Whilst the rules were changed and the word 'hardware' omitted rom the official list, you are covered under the description of a business supplying tools etc for repair and DIY (the same as builders merchants). The reason hardware was omitted on this occasion was simply to deter non hardware shops that sell a few bits of DIY (paint) from opening. As a hardware business, especially one that supplies trade customers, you can open.'

It added: 'We are no longer using the expression “Hardware” (or homeware from the first lockdown) to describe premises that may remain open (that is in response to a degree of exploitation).  The term hardware has essentially been replaced in the Regulations by building merchants and suppliers of products and tools used in building work and repairs. That is not intended to impinge on the ‘old fashioned’ independent hardware store that supplies tools etc and DIY stores.'

The message was sent to Hart District Council which confirmed WC Baker could remain open. The official said the information would also be shared with other councils to ensure fairness across the country.

Who can stay open in England lockdown? Find out here

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