Salisbury Business Improvement District

Why some of the shops aren’t open yet

19th June 2020

Whilst lots of shops in Salisbury city centre have reopened this week, there are still some shops that remain temporarily closed.

From Monday 15th June, government permitted non-essential retailers to reopen following the coronavirus lockdown.

The organisation who represents businesses in the city centre, Salisbury BID, explains some of the reasons why not all the shops have opened yet.

  • The flexible furlough scheme doesn’t come into effect until 1st July and therefore some shops cannot afford to bring back staff until the part time furlough is available.
  • Shops must implement COVID Secure guidance before opening; safety measures which some businesses may not be able to comply with due to their shop space, staffing and costs.
  • Whilst a proportion of the community are shielding or don’t want to come out yet, there are fears that there are not enough customers for shops to be able to reopen and be viable.
  • Some shop owners have had to make the difficult decision to stay closed for now in order to protect the future of their business. Overheads are at their lowest when the shop remains closed.

Susi Mason, Salisbury BID Director and owner of Casa Fina, said: “Retail is a challenge at any time, and even more so now with the added safety measures to contend with, plus the uncertainty in footfall. In such uncertain times, there are many commercial and personal reasons as to why some shops remain closed for the time being.

“I’ve been speaking to lots of fellow independent retailers in the city and everyone is doing whatever they can to adapt to the new ways.

“One shop owner has two shops and can’t be in both places at once, but he also can’t afford to bring back a staff member until the part time furlough becomes available. That’s why his shop remains closed.

“I understand another small shop owner and her two members of staff are classed as ‘vulnerable’ and are currently shielding, and therefore she can’t reopen her shop yet.

“These are real people, having to make really difficult business decisions, during this really challenging time. We hope the Salisbury community can understand, sympathise and continue to come into our lovely city to support the shops that are open for business – there are plenty of us open!”

Rachel Tribbeck, Salisbury BID Director and partner of H R Tribbeck & Son, said: “Whilst shops were closed down over night, reopening is a completely different challenge.

“Many people expected all shops to reopen with their usual trading hours straight away, but we need our community to understand why this isn’t possible and why many are operating on reduced hours. We’ve had to start small and allow ourselves room to grow; it would be a disaster to open as usual and then have to scale back.

“It would have been helpful for the government to introduce the flexible furlough scheme at the same time shops could reopen, however this isn’t the case. We hope to see more shops opening once the flexible furlough scheme comes into effect from 1st July.”

“Our city and businesses will only be able to recover if the Salisbury community makes the effort to shop locally. This is a steep learning curve for us all and we appreciate people’s understanding, patience and support.”

To help people to shop in Salisbury more easily, Salisbury BID has put together a list of open shops.

If you’re shopping for something in particular, the BID is encouraging people to check opening hours of specific shops in advance to avoid any disappointment. To those people coming into the city just to browse, please expect to see some shops closed and please understand why.

Before reopening, shops must implement the government’s COVID Secure guidance. These safety measures are to ensure the risk of spreading coronavirus is minimised, protecting both staff and customers. From signage to hand sanitiser, there are significant costs involved for businesses to implement the guidance.

Food and drink businesses are still only permitted to operate as takeaways, and are waiting for further instructions from government as to when they can open for dining in.