The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has advised the government that retailers will need several weeks’ notice to plan the reopening of shops to secure personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff, to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Sky News has reported that Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, wrote to business secretary Alok Sharma on behalf of the trade association to highlight the logistical considerations the retail sector is likely to face once the lockdown is lifted.
In the letter she urged Sharma to ensure that ministers offer public support for non-food retailers’ return to trading.
Retailers are currently waiting to hear whether or not the government will amend its guidelines around PPE for shopworkers amid the outbreak, as the NHS continues to experience shortages in PPE for frontline workers.
The BRC, whose members employ 1.5m people across the UK, said retailers were ready to be “flexible and could reduce or increase opening hours to support wider needs”.
The letter from the BRC also highlighted that normal trading conditions could be indefinitely delayed as a result of the pandemic.