Minister for Small Business, Consumers & Labour Markets Paul Scully has written an open letter ‘to everyone working in the retail sector’, with special thanks for those, such as pet shops, that have remained open throughout the coronavirus lockdown.
In the letter, published as the High Street reopened yesterday, he wrote: “Whether you have been working throughout this period or you are returning to work today, we support you and look forward to our incredible retail sector’s successful return to business.”
He welcomed back thousands of shop-owners and retail workers and said he knew how difficult it must have been to close and the particular challenges the UK’s retail sector has faced over the past few months.
Many pet shops have, of course, remained open as essential retailers, and the Minister wrote: “I would like to echo the comments made by the Business Secretary in his letter of April 8 thanking retail workers who have continued to work in our shops, online and supply chains throughout this challenging period.
“Your tremendous efforts have not only ensured the public have had continued and safe access to the goods they need over the last three months, you have also supported your communities to adhere to social distancing guidelines effectively and have helped to control the virus.”
He writes that: “In this new normal, we are all getting used to shopping with social distancing and you have a vital role to play in ensuring it is adhered to in stores across the country. As we start to reopen closed sectors of the economy, we all need to continue to adapt.”
He also thanked both national and independent retailers for their help in helping formulate the Covid-secure Safer Working Guidance for people who work in or run shops – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/shops-and-branches – to give ‘you and your customers the information and confidence to return safely’.
“The guidance has benefited enormously from the experience of retailers who have remained open throughout the lockdown and rapidly adapted to introduce social distancing early on.”
And the Minster concluded: “Finally, I would like to thank the retail sector for rising to the challenges of Covid-19. I have been astonished by the resilience you have shown throughout this crisis, it has been an incredible effort by all of you.”