16 Feb 2021

Prioritise independent retail in lockdown exit ‘road map’, says Bira

Bira is calling for the Government to make a clear exit plan out of lockdown for the sector.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to outline his ‘road map’ to recovery from national­­­ lockdown conditions on Monday (February 22, 2021).

As part of the strategy, Bira would like a clear plan for independent retailers, many of whom – as ‘non-essential’ retailers – have been closed for two thirds of the last year.

Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre said independent retailers are ready to open as soon as permitted.

“Independent retailers do not need much notice to reopen. All of the safety protocols are in place with regards to protective screening, hand sanitising and social distancing signage, furthermore, there is still a lack of evidence that suggests small shops contribute to spread,” he said.

“We do not believe that there is a need for a tier system this time, or differentiation between essential and non-essential shops; small shops, whatever their nature, can control the number of customers at any one time.”

He’s also calling for the Government to encourage people to return to their local high street.

“We’d like to see a positive national campaign to increase consumer confidence in terms of safety.”

Bira would also like to see all barriers to shopping removed, including temporary road closures and unnecessary one-way systems.

Additional Guidance and Resources

Andrew added: “Retail continues to be – and always has been – a safe place.”