Jewellery retailers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have all been able to open their doors, but business as they once knew it has changed.
Stores are currently trading with skeleton staff as they manage the flow of traffic to accommodate to social distancing measures, and comprehensive health and safety protocols have been put in place, with jewellers now trading with masks, screens and a strict cleaning regime.
Here, we find out what challenges independent jewellers have encountered since reopening…
Jo Stroud, owner, Fabulous Jewellers
The biggest challenge has been that people are shopping in groups – whole families are out together – which causes us a problem as a small retailer. We are only allowing 4 people in at a time, and some family groups over the weekend were larger than this, so the team has had to be quite assertive about restricting the numbers.
Ashley Pugh, managing director, W.Bruford
We have been offering PPE to all customers coming through the door, sanitising of hands is non-negotiable, gloves and face masks are complimentary if required. We haven’t had any issues with people not complying and everybody has been happy to be served behind screens. Because of the very personal nature it has been a bit challenging but so far both staff and customers have responded very well with a common sense approach by all.
Harriet France, director, Jeremy France
Needing one person dedicated to the flow of the front door is a challenge we are not used to and we are surprised at how long it can take to clean and wipe down after each customer.
Harriet Kelsall, owner, Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery
So far it’s been going really well and everything we have put in place to operate safely allows us to run our day successfully. The biggest challenge is cleaning everything constantly during the day but that’s what we have to do to keep our customers safe and to keep our work environment safe for our team so it’s ok.
Anja Potze, owner, Anja Potze Fine Jewellery
Managing the cleaning between appointments and sticking to strict timelines has been challenging. We often have customers in for hours at a time so it is difficult for us sticking to an appointment system but we are managing it well so far!
John Henn, managing director, T A Henn
There are varying degrees of paranoia regarding PPE. We have it all, screens, UV baths, masks, gloves and more wipes than I can count. Some people want it all, most don’t. We will keep offering it until the last request is made. Fortunately the shop floor is big enough to accommodate at least three lots of clients at a time. At the moment we haven’t had to deploy any queuing tactics.