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Be kind, be patient and please wear a face covering when inside your local shop.

That’s the call going out to customers across the UK and Ireland to protect independent retailers and their staff as coronavirus restrictions tighten.

To remind shoppers of government requirements to wear a face covering and to maintain social distancing while inside shops, the Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) has created two new posters for its members to display within their stores.

The first poster appeals to shoppers to respect those working in shops by being “patient, kind and to wear a mask”, while the second explains why both shop staff and customers should cover up their faces while shopping.

This latest poster campaign is an extension of the NFRN’s highly successful Shop Local, Shop Little poster initiative launched earlier this year to remind customers that local stores could provide all their needs and to encourage them to shop sensibly.

Shop Local, Shop Little advertisements were seen by millions of people across the UK and Ireland as national newspapers and magazines backed the NFRN’s campaign.

Launching the Be Kind campaign, National President Stuart Reddish said: “Covid-19 has been challenging for everyone. Independent retailers have gone out of their way to support their communities by ensuring a safe environment. In the main, customers have adhered to the guidelines but some members have experienced hostility and frustration and, sadly, in some instances have even been subject to abuse and threats.

“We hope that by seeing these posters, customers will treat independent retailers and their staff with greater understanding and respect, which means protecting everyone’s health and safety – customers and those working in the shops – by covering their faces and maintaining social distancing at all times.”

Last month, the NFRN was a co-signatory to a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking him to provide effective legal protection for shop workers amid rising levels of abuse and violence.  The NFRN was also among a number of organisations calling on the Chair of the Home Affairs Committee Yvette Cooper to launch an inquiry into retail violence.

Mr Reddish added: “I get calls from hundreds of retailers who are crime victims. The impact of retail crime can be devastating and long-lasting – not just in terms of physical injuries but on anxiety and stress too. Retailers need the Government to act and tackle retail crime once and for all so everyone working in shops have confidence in their workplace and that should a crime incident occur they will receive the response and protection from the government, police and justice system that they deserve. “

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