Coronavirus: Off-licences added to listing of ‘important’ retailers

Man choosing wineImage copyright Getty Images

Off-licences have been added to the federal government’s listing of important UK retailers allowed to remain open throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

The listing was up to date on Wednesday amid rising experiences of supermarkets are promoting out some beers and wines.

The move got here as bicycle and automobile components retailer Halfords needed to defend its resolution to maintain outlets open.

Boss Graham Stapleton mentioned the chain had “an essential role to play in keeping the country moving”.

Halfords’ Autocentre garages and cellular vans stay open, with plans for “partial store coverage” throughout its 446 outlets.

Halfords drew criticism after it mentioned it might hold some shops open after being named by the federal government as an “essential provider of services”.

#BoycottHalfords was trending on social media on Tuesday.

Some Twitter customers cited considerations over an absence of safety for on-site staff whereas others, together with MSP Fulton MacGregor, questioned whether or not the enterprise must be open in any respect.

In a buying and selling replace, the agency mentioned: “We are committed to playing our part, but only if we can ensure the health and safety of our colleagues and customers.”

It additionally mentioned it had the “legal flexibility to remain open across the entire business”.

‘Vital assist’

Mr Stapleton mentioned that the chain had a component to play “in providing vital support to emergency workers, fleet operations and the general population as they travel for essential supplies”.

It will even proceed to take orders on-line by way of home supply providers and click-and-collect as soon as branches have reopened.

Image copyright PA Media

Halfords added mentioned it was providing all NHS frontline staff a free 10-point automobile verify throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes as the federal government introduced it might grant drivers a six-month emergency MOT extension underneath new regulation attributable to come into power on 30 March to make sure “frontline workers to get to work”.

Other bicycle corporations reminiscent of Brompton Bicycle, a folding bike specialist, have lent bicycles to employees at hospitals in London to assist them get to and from work.

And some folks on social media supported Halfords’ resolution to remain open throughout the pandemic.

Essential retailers

After strict new restrictions had been introduced in by authorities earlier this week, it issued an inventory of “essential retailers”, reminiscent of Halfords, which might be allowed to remain open. They embody:

  • Supermarkets and different meals outlets
  • Pharmacies
  • Off-licences and licensed outlets promoting alcohol, together with these inside breweries
  • Petrol stations
  • Newsagents
  • Bicycle outlets
  • Home and {hardware} shops
  • Launderettes and dry cleaners
  • Garages
  • Pet outlets
  • Post workplaces
  • Banks

Dusting outdated bikes off

Trade trade our bodies had beforehand mentioned that bicycle retailers and restore outlets had seen a spike in demand as folks “clean the cobwebs off” their outdated bikes in an try and keep away from public transport throughout the pandemic.

Jonathan Harrison of the Association of Cycle Traders instructed the BBC that “there had been an uplift in sales across the board, with larger retailers also reporting more ‘entry-level’ bikes going.”

However, he identified that with extra shoppers staying in because of the new authorities restrictions, “it’s difficult to know whether or not that trend will continue.”

Halfords mentioned on Wednesday that it anticipated gross sales to fall by about 25% within the new monetary 12 months, because of the impression of the coronavirus.

For its shops and garages that may shut throughout the outbreak, the agency additionally mentioned it might faucet into the assist provided by authorities to pay 80% of wage for employees who’re stored on, protecting wages of as much as £2,500 a month.