'Shopping in person is a joy': How independent stores are getting back to business across England
Meet three small businesses in England who have reopened their doors to customers by following the UK Government's practical steps
From clothes stores to coffee shops, Monday 15 June saw many non-essential businesses across England reopening after the UK Government relaxed the laws on lockdown.
Here are three businesses who have implemented measures so that their staff and customers can remain safe＃
Rossiter Books, Herefordshire
Rossiter Books is a small chain of three independent bookshops which has been closed since the start of lockdown. Two of the stores 每 in Ross-on-Wye and Leominster 每 reopened on Monday 15 June.
※Being able to shop in person, especially at smaller independents, is a joy,§ owner Andy Rossiter, pictured above, says. ※I think lockdown made a lot of people realise that they don＊t want all their shopping to just land at their door, but booksellers also know they need to work hard for their audience. It＊s not simply a case of just opening your doors.§
Rossiter has been busy preparing the stores, moving fixtures and checkouts so that staff and customers can socially distance while browsing for books.
※We have installed Perspex screens at till points, bought hand sanitiser stations for the entrances to our stores and placed tape and signage throughout so we can clearly indicate the social distancing rules within our stores,§ he says.
The bookshops have reopened with less members of staff and they have limited their opening hours from their pre-lockdown seven days to just five. Rossiter has also been consulting staff and getting their input on the UK Government＊s coronavirus advice.
※Our trade body, the Booksellers Association, has been brilliant at reading and interpreting this advice to make it bookshop-specific and releasing it in digestible and accessible weekly bulletins," he says.
※Booksellers love serving customers, and we＊ve been serving our local community for a decade, so seeing those regulars again and having that relationship start to return to normal will be fantastic."
All Seasons DIY, Smethwick, West Midlands
Surinder Josan, owner of All Seasons DIY, a family-run shop, explains how he has used strict safe workplace measures to keep his shop doors open and his businesses afloat.
※All Seasons DIY is a family-run shop which was established over 40 years ago, run by myself, my wife, and my mother. My son and daughter work in the shop around their university studies as well,§ Josan, below, says.
The family decided to shut the shop when school closures were announced. But after just a week they decided to reopen the business in order to serve the local community, who relied on the store for essential food and other items.
※In order to reopen, we had to reassess how we both serve and interact with our customers,§ Josan explains. ※We adopted several new measures to comply with social distancing to keep both ourselves and our customers safe.§
These new measures they adopted included safe distance markers outside the shop, to limit the number of people in store at any one time, installing screens at the checkout areas, encouraging contactless payments, lowering the minimum card spend to ?1, and offering hand wipes to customers.
※The number of customers who have come in and complimented us for it is unbelievable. They say when they come here they feel really safe,§ Josan adds.
Blend Coffee Co, Portslade, Brighton
Blend Coffee Co is an independent coffee shop based in Portslade, East Sussex, near Brighton. The two directors behind the business, Oli Crawley and Tom Jennion, have introduced a range of measures so they could confidently reopen for staff and customers.
※Our primary concern is to keep people safe, so to make sure our coffee shop was ready to be reopened we implemented a number of safer working measures,§ says Crawley.
These new measures included a deep clean of the shop prior to reopening, implementation of a new ordering layout and adopting a new policy which stipulates that no customers are allowed inside the store.
Working alongside Crawley and Jennion are a further three members of staff.
※Only the directors returned to work to alleviate any pressure on our barista team feeling they need to work,§ says Crawley. ※This also allows an operational analysis of all our new protocols to ensure they are efficient and safe.§
The checkout system has now been moved to the front of the shop, Blend now only accepts card payments and there is a new waiting area outside the shop.
"This plan was developed after we undertook a risk assessment and analysis of the premises to ensure that customer-staff interaction could be maintained and sustained in a safe manner. We ran a test prior to reopening to ensure that our new measures would work and allow us and our customers to stay safe,§ adds Crawley.
For further information from the UK Government on how employers, employees and the self-employed can return to work safely, click here
This is Government advice for England