In England, the Government’s intention is to allow non-essential retailers to reopen in phases from 1 June. This will be subject to change and there is no announcement on how the reopening will be phased. There is no clear indication as to a date on which re-openings might start in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The UK Government has committed to providing at least 48 hours’ notice before changes to the restrictions come into effect. A Ministerial working group has been set up to help plan the reopening of non-essential retail and the Charity Retail Association is seeking to engage with this taskforce. The intention is that the taskforce will involve representatives from the devolved administrations which should help align approaches to reopening across the UK.
Whilst, there is a lack of detail on how re-opening could be phased in the UK some possibilities based on approaches in other countries include:
- Allowing smaller shops to reopen first
- Allowing shops located on high streets to open before shops inside indoor shopping malls
- Allowing shops in certain parts of the country to reopen first
- Allowing certain categories of shops to reopen first (eg. Bookshops)
Before shops can reopen there will be a strict requirement to undertake risk assessments and to make every reasonable effort to keep people safe. The Charity Retail Association’s reopening pack provides an overview of the measures that charity retailers can adopt in order to operate safely.
The following poster will need to be displayed upon reopening to assure people that the shop is “COVID-19 Secure” and that the Government’s guidelines are being kept to.
Once, charity shops reopen, it is highly likely that consumer behaviour will change significantly. In the short term, many consumers and particularly those with underlying health conditions are likely to be cautious about venturing into shops. Recent polling suggest that only around half of people expect to feel comfortable going into shops post the lockdown. Over time the number of people who feel comfortable can be expected to increase as people become more confident in returning to previous shopping patterns.
Jonathan Mail, Head of Public Affairs, Charity Retail Association