Requests as shops re-open
A letter from the Scottish Retail Consortium and trade union Usdaw:
With the Scottish Government expected at the time of writing to confirm that shops in Scotland will be able to re-open on April 26, the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) and trade union Usdaw are asking Scots to play their part in creating a safe and enjoyable retail environment for customers and shop staff.
Retailers and shop workers have worked incredibly hard and responsibly to keep customers and staff safe throughout the pandemic.
Retailers in Scotland have invested tens of millions of pounds on safety measures including plexiglass screens, queue management systems, social distancing signs and floor markings, better ventilation, cleaning and hygiene. Shop workers have ensured the nation was supplied and fed throughout the past 13 difficult months.
The re-opening of non-essential shops and ability of food-to-go retailers to resume welcoming customers in-store will mark a crucial milestone for Scottish retail and the wider supply chain. Retail is Scotland’s largest private sector employer. So-called non-essential stores have been compelled to close in Scotland for 115 consecutive days.
The SRC and Usdaw encourage shoppers to:
maintain physical distancing
wear face coverings
try to avoid peak shopping times
follow instructions and be respectful to shop staff.
Across Scotland, thousands of shops which have been closed for four months are looking forward to getting back to doing what they do best – serving their customers.
Reopening is good news for our economy, for jobs and for communities.
It has never been more important to play our part in keeping our towns, cities and retail destinations vibrant.
Every purchase from a shop helps to support jobs in local retail and throughout the supply chain.
Retailers and their colleagues continue to work around the clock to maintain a safe shopping experience, so customers can have the confidence to return to their favourite stores.
If we all follow the necessary physical distancing and hygiene measures and show consideration to those around us, including shop staff who are doing a difficult job, everyone will be better off.
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish
The reopening of stores on Monday offers a lifeline for many retailers. That is good news in terms of helping to safeguard jobs, but the virus is still out there.
We expect employers to conduct full risk assessments, follow the agreed guidance and ensure that customers are fully informed of the necessary safety measures.
Shoppers need to play their part in helping to limit the spread of the virus and avoid further lockdowns by following the rules and respecting staff.
Regrettably, throughout this appalling pandemic, incidents of abuse towards shop workers doubled and Covid safety measures have become significant flashpoints. Abuse should never be part of the job and shop workers – who played a vital role in getting food and medicine into our homes during the pandemic – deserve our thanks and respect.
In January, the Scottish Parliament unanimously voted for a ground-breaking new law to protect shop workers.
Usdaw campaigned for many years to secure these legal protections and we will continue to work hard to ensure shop workers are protected and treated with the respect they deserve.
Tracey Gilbert, Usdaw deputy divisional officer for Scotland.