// The BRC calls on the government to reconsider any plans for phasing the reopening of retail stores
// It says retailers should decide when they’re ready to reopen post-lockdown
// It also argues that safety & a risk-based approach should be the key basis for making decisions on reopening, not store sizes
The BRC has called on the UK Government to reconsider any plans for phasing the reopening of retail stores for when lockdown restrictions begin to ease.
The Times today published a letter by the BRC which argues that safety and a risk-based approach should be the key basis for making decisions on reopening rather than size of stores.
This call comes ahead of the expected publication and government announcement of plans to ease lockdown restrictions in the coming days.
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According to a recent article in The Times, small shops would be the first to reopen in early June, with large shopping centres following in the second phase.
The BRC’s letter sets out concerns that a phased reopening based on the size of retail stores could have negative consequences for public safety.
Instead, it urged the government to focus on shopping, not shops – and that this must include “joining the dots” between the reopening of schools, public transport, shops and retail locations.
“I read with alarm that in the first phase of lifting lockdown restrictions the government is to prioritise small shops for reopening,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson wrote.
“This approach provides the least economic benefit and poses the greatest risk to health. It is the worst of both worlds.
“Safety should be the only basis for making decisions on reopening; size of shop should not come into it.”
She added: “Favouring one part of the retail industry over another will cause confusion for the public and may undermine public safety.”
The BRC has already been working to support the safe reopening of retail and has produced a range of guides, including guidance on social distancing in non-food retail stores, developed with workers’ union Usdaw.