// The Entertainer to introduce quiet hour during first week of reopening
// All stores will be turning off store music and dimming the lights for the first hour of trading each day
// 64% of autistic people and their carers avoid the shops all together due to noise
The Entertainer has revealed its stores in England will be reopening from Monday with extended Quiet Hours.
The quiet hour initiative aims to create a calmer shopping environment for autistic people, as well as shoppers who may find the return to the high street a stressful experience.
The Entertainer said the quiet hour will be taking place throughout the first week of opening in over 150 stores across England and Wales.
All stores will be turning off store music and dimming the lights for the first hour of trading each day and store teams have access to training to help them support customers should they become overwhelmed in store.
“Shopping and returning into busy areas can be challenging for those who find the hustle and bustle, lighting and noise uncomfortable,” The Entertainer founder and executive chairman Gary Grant said.
“So, in our ongoing commitment to making our stores accessible to all, our Quiet Hours will be returning throughout the first week of reopening.
“For the first hour of opening each day we will switch off the music, dim the lights wherever possible and aim to make our stores feel calmer.
“This is to show our continued support for our autistic customers and their families and for those who find the retail environment more challenging, particularly in a time of so much change.”
Research from the National Autistic Society found that 64 per cent of autistic people and their carers avoid the shops all together and that 28 per cent have been asked to leave a public space for reasons associated to their autism.
National Autistic Society Head of Campaigns Tom Purser said: “We are very pleased to hear that the Entertainer is continuing to provide quiet hours for its customers. It’s incredibly committed to meeting the needs of its shoppers and leads the way for other retailers.
“Autistic people represent a huge part of our society – around 1 in 100 people in the UK. They and their families want to have the opportunity to go to the shops, just like anyone else. But many find the crowds, noise and unpredictability of our high streets completely overwhelming and end up avoiding them altogether.
“The smallest changes can help open up the high street for autistic people. Things like staff finding out a bit more about autism and making simple adjustments like turning down music or dimming the lights.
“As coronavirus restrictions ease, it’s more important than ever for retailers to consider autistic people and make sure they aren’t left stranded.”