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Circuit breaker would be devastating for retail - Bira

16 October 2020

Forced mass closure of shops in a ‘circuit breaker’ would be devastating for the retail sector, the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has said.

Andrew Goodacre (pictured), Bira's chief executive, is calling for retail to remain open if a countrywide 'circuit breaker' is enforced.

The Government is currently considering whether to enforce the measure - which could mean the closure of schools, hospitality, leisure and - possibly - retail venues for a limited amount of time, in an effort to curb the rise in cases of Covid-19.

Andrew said: "We are in autumn; a very important time for retail as we approach the festive period. Closing shops, even for a short while, will simply result in driving people online and into the hands of Amazon and the other large internet businesses."

"We understand the need to protect lives and that is why we need certainty and clear communications to the general public and businesses – supported by enforcement and an efficient track and trace system.

"...Shopping is safe – all the evidence tells us it is. In retail, we need to show leadership by making sure that the safety protocols are in place, clearly communicated and enforced."

He added: We do not need a circuit break. We do need authorities to work together, presenting a common plan that can be communicated.

"We need the public and businesses to do what they did so well back in March and April – taking care by washing hands, keeping space and covering the face.

"These basic disciplines have been overlooked by the public because of a lack of leadership from all political parties, both nationally and locally."

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