Non-essential retail reopens from today across England and Wales after the longest lockdown period the countries have yet seen.

While jewellers and other retailers will be excited to get back to doing business, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned that staff abuse by customers may continue much the same as it has in the other opening periods over the last year.

The BRC last week commented on a “surge in violence” against shopworkers due to coronavirus restrictions.


Shop rules such as wearing masks and socially distancing have been left to staff to enforce over the last year, and this has reportedly caused an increase in cases of abuse of store employees.

Now the BRC has come up with seven steps customers should follow to make life as easy as possible for the shops they visit.

They include: being respectful to staff and customers; wearing a face mask unless exempt; maintaining social distancing; queueing considerately; following instructions laid out by the shops inside and out; following all hygiene measures; and shopping alone when possible.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Retailers are excited about welcoming back their customers.

“They have spent hundreds of millions on making their premises Covid-secure; weeks preparing shops for reopening; and countless hours training staff on the latest safety measures.

“The three lockdowns have cost non-food stores approximately £30 billion in lost sales – and it vital that they are able to make their contribution to the UK’s economic recovery.

“While we expect an initial surge in spending when shops first open, the real test will be how this holds up.

“Many of us will be looking forward to returning to our favourite shop in the coming weeks, and we all have a duty to keep each other safe.

“Everyone should be considerate and respectful to their fellow shoppers and hard-working shop staff. This way we can all enjoy shopping and support our local communities.”

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