Government releases further guidance for retailers

06 Nov 2020

Further guidance has been provided by the Government on the terms of trade for retailers during the current lockdown in England.

Along with listing the types of businesses which are deemed ’essential’, and those that must close, there is also guidance on mixed retail spaces. The document states that where it is possible, and there are distinct parts to a business, only the area selling ’essential’ goods should be operational.

It says:

  • A business selling a significant amount of essential retail may also continue to sell goods typically sold at non-essential retail. For example, a supermarket that sells food is not required to close off or cordon off aisles selling homeware.
  • Where a business selling essential retail has another, separate business embedded within it that is required to close, the embedded business must close. For example, an electronics business operating a concession within a supermarket must close, as would a bookshop business inside a garden centre.
  • Where a business has sufficiently distinct parts, and one section provides essential retail and one section provides non-essential retail, the non-essential sections should close to limit interactions between customers and the opportunity for the disease to spread. Sufficiently distinct sections might involve operating in separate buildings, across separate floors, a door between sections, using separate cashiers, or another clear demarcation between sections. For example a food shop may stay open, but a homeware section on a separate floor or separate building should close.

Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s CEO, said: "We have been pushing for clarity and we are pleased to see some clearer guidance on the types of essential shop and the products available.

"However we already have concerns that large stores are flouting the rules and would question the percentage of essential items sold through the likes of B&M and The Original Factory Shop.

"We are also aware that Carpetright is open whereas we have advised all our members selling flooring to close."

He added: "We have had lots of questions and complaints form members about the actions of other retailers and the unfairness of the regulations. I have raised all these issues with the Business Minister and BEIS since Monday and these guidelines seem to reflect some of the concerns we raised on your behalf.

"I want members to know that we listen and can make a difference!"

Bira will be continuing to liaise with the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for the best deal for members.

Read the full Government document here

Additional Guidance and Resources

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