The latest easing of lockdown restrictions against the coronavirus has seen the majority of shops re-open in England, including those previously classed as non-essential. Shops must continue to keep customers the required two metres apart with the help of floor markings, and tills should have plastic screens around them to minimise contact with shoppers.
Other preventative measures include notices requesting that customers only touch items they intend to buy, disinfecting shopping baskets after use, and ensuring ready supplies of hand sanitiser for customers to use. Toilets and cafes in many shops will remain closed, as will fitting rooms in most clothes outlets, and some retailers such as booksellers are introducing quarantine procedures for items which have been picked up but not bought.
Many retail professionals are predicting a boost to local shops and businesses as customers chose not to travel to out of town retail parks, or shopping centres located in towns and cities some distance away. The Covid-19 outbreak has caused many people to re-evaluate their lifestyle habits, including the ways they work and shop. Our social consciences have focused on things like food miles, food waste, the over-use of plastics, and even the global economy itself. People are asking themselves `do I really need to travel to the big shopping centre miles away?’, now that they have made connections with their local community during the three months of lockdown. Local businesses were there for people during the worst of the lockdown, doing their best to continue trading by making home deliveries, starting click and collect services, or offering takeaway options, and people across the country now want to repay them by continuing their support.
People now realise that it is essential to have a healthy and thriving business community in their town or village to help maintain local jobs and services, and to keep money in the local economy. Successful local businesses lead to a sense of community well-being, attracting other entrepreneurs and giving residents a greater say in local decision-making. Competition and product diversity are increased, and environmental sustainability is improved as people travel less and products become more locally sourced. All these factors help to enhance local character and prosperity, and increase our sense of wellbeing.
Retail expert Mary Portas summed up the changed outlook after the three month lockdown: “I honestly think this is the window of opportunity for local High Streets…people are saying…I don’t want to travel far, my community’s important, I want to connect locally and I want to support those businesses that were there when we needed them. Now is their time.”
Bretherton Law have been serving people and businesses in Hertfordshire for over 50 years. If you are buying or selling business premises, looking to lease a new property, or subject to a rent review our experienced Commercial Property team will give you honest, professional advice. Contact Osman Dervish on 01727 869293, or use the contact form below.