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Gloucestershire Business News

June 15 not the end of the fight for Gloucestershire's high streets

Reopening in the doors will not be the end of the problems facing retailers as they look to bounce back from the coronavirus lockdown.

That is the message from the British Retail Consortium who said restrictions had cost non-food shops £1.8billion a week in lost sales ahead of the proposed June 15 reopening.

Chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "With sales expected to remain weak, even as shops begin to reopen, many retailers will still be in a fight for survival."

She told Sky News: "There is absolutely widespread recognition across the industry that there is no way that it's going to be like a tap turned back on and suddenly it will be completely business as usual.

"I think what we have seen in other markets is that on the immediate days after restrictions are lifted then there is an uptick of some pent-up demand.

"But the real big question is what that looks like on an ongoing basis."

She continued: "I think demand will remain subdued both because of the physical restrictions in terms of how many people can actually enter a shop at any particular point and because I think we all, as members of the public, will want to be confident and careful in the way that we shop."

Shoppers will find a very different high street when they return next month with government guidelines adding to safety measures which have been familiar at supermarkets and other shops which have remained open.

Closed changing rooms, restrictions on touching merchandise and one-way systems are among the measures being introduced with plastic screens and face masks helping to protect staff.

Goods returned to the shelves will be quarantined for up to 72 hours before being returned while virtual queuing via an app or traffic lights in shop doorways among potential measures.

The latest government guidelines include:

  • Limits on numbers in shops.
  • One-way systems and limited entrances controlling the flow of customers.
  • Hand sanitiser or hand washing facilities at entrances.
  • Shopping alone encourages
  • Changing rooms, toilets and cafes closed.
  • Close-contact services such as make-up demonstrations or fittings suspended.
  • Shoppers discouraged from handling products which should be regularly replenished with fresh items.
  • Protective covers on large items such as beds or sofas which may be tested.
  • Quarantining or cleaning items which have been handled.
  • Cleaning of rental equipment or test drive vehicles at each handover.
  • Perspex screens and masks to protect staff.
  • Additional car and cycle parking to discourage use of public transport.
  • Staggered opening hours.

The full list of businesses covered by the guidance and able to open from June 15 is:

  • Food retailers
  • Chemists
  • Hardware or homeware stores
  • Fashion shops
  • Charity shops
  • Betting shops
  • Tailors and dress fitters
  • Car dealerships (from June 1)
  • Auction houses and antique stores
  • Retail art galleries
  • Photography studios
  • Retails spaces in leisure premises such as theatres, museums or tourism sites
  • Mobile phone stores
  • Indoor and, from June 1, outdoor markets
  • Craft fairs
  • Banks, post offices other money businesses (many of which are already open)

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