The Usdaw retail trade union has blasted the Prime Minister’s and UK government’s plans to lift security measures in stores as ‘too too soon’ following Boris Johnson’s latest address to the nation to go from l forward with the release of Covid restrictions from July 19th.
This week, Johnson told the nation that while the country was still ‘very far from the end’ of the pandemic, it was now or never to lift controls taking advantage of the vaccine rollout and the upcoming ‘natural firewall’ being offered. by the school holidays and good weather.
The government is expected to make a final decision on plans to lift the remaining restrictions on July 12. If the decision was to go ahead with the fourth stage of easing restrictions, July 19 will see the removal of all social distancing restrictions and requirements to wear masks in public and crowded spaces.
The plan, however, was criticized by retail union Usdaw who said it was “too much, too soon” and warned that the government “should not weaken security measures in stores at the same time as it opens up other places”.
Paddy Lillis, Usdaw Corporate Secretary, said: “There’s no reason the requirements to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing in busy public spaces like stores can’t Carry on.
“Wearing a face covering in crowded public spaces like stores is not just a personal choice, it is an important measure to help protect workers who have no choice but to interact with a large number of people in the course of their work.
Lillis urged the shopping public to continue wearing face coverings, as well as sanitizing hands and maintaining social distancing “to help make stores safer and limit the spread of Covid-19.
“We also continue to call on employers to maintain appropriate safety measures and ensure they are followed consistently, in every store.”
Lillis added that key workers such as supermarket workers and delivery drivers – those who have worked throughout the pandemic – “must be valued, respected and protected”.
The British Retail Consortium reacted with measure to the Prime Minister’s press conference.
Tom Ironside, Business and Regulatory Director at BRC, said: “Traders are awaiting the government’s final decision on July 12 on easing restrictions the following week. It will take time for consumers and businesses to adapt and it is essential that government messaging is clear and consistent so that businesses and consumers easily understand what is expected of them both legally and individually.
Professor Neil Ferguson, of Imperial College London and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), which advises the government, said cases could eventually reach 150,000 to 200,000 a day, which according to him, “would cause some strain on the healthcare system”.
“It’s a slight bet, it’s a slight experiment at the moment, and I think it’s justifiable and I’m reasonably optimistic, but the policy will have to remain flexible,” he said.