Following the announcement by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that pubs may require customers to provide evidence of vaccinations or negative Covid tests to gain entry, the Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) asks what is being done to protect customers and staff in shops.
For more than a year, thousands of independent retailers have put the health of themselves and their staff at risk by remaining open to serve customers. Shop owners have incurred the extra expense of installing screens and social distancing measures, while incidents of verbal and physical abuse have increased due to the enforcing of government rules regarding the wearing of face coverings.Last year, the NFRN launched its Be Kind, Be Patient campaign, issuing free posters to its members to encourage people to treat staff and other customers with respect while shopping in local stores.
While MPs and the media backed the campaign, no financial assistance was forthcoming from the government to support the implementation of its rules surrounding Covid-19.
NFRN National President Stuart Reddish said:
“Independent retailers have remained on the frontline of this pandemic for more than a year, with little or no support from the government and at enormous risk to their own health and that of their staff.
“I find it bewildering that the Prime Minister is now considering the introduction of vaccination passports for pub customers when we have had to soldier on with no protection through lockdowns and when Covid was at its peak. It feels like retailers have simply been taken for granted and expected to carry on as if the situation was normal, regardless of the health dangers.”