The Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Limited

BA Update following the Prime Minister's Announcement

24/03/2020
Dear BA Member,
 
Following the PM announcement last night:
  • The full guidance is here
  • This applies across the UK i.e. including the Devolved Nations.
 
Headlines are:
  • All online retail to remain open and encouraged (see page 3, paragraph 3 of the guidance document)
  • All physical retail must close with the exception of supermarkets and other food shops, health shops, pharmacies including dispensing pharmacies, petrol stations, bicycle shops, home and hardware shops, pet shops, corner shops, and newsagents
  • All retail premises that are open must:
    • Ensure safe distance of two metres between customers and staff
    • Let people enter the shops in small groups, to ensure spaces are not overcrowded
    • Queue control is required
  • Food delivery and takeaway can remain operations as can cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes, schools or prisons
 
The BA has received many requests from its members about clarification on the safety and wisdom of continuing with online sales.  Many of you have worked to set that up and have orders to honour, and trade still flowing to your online store.
 
The Prime Minister’s statement stated clearly that online should continue.  But clearly booksellers have a duty of care for their staff and our recommendation is the following:
 
  • BA members should fulfil online orders for as long as they feel comfortable doing so, and in compliance with all government guidelines
  • BA members should opt to use third party fulfilment options where at all possible – Gardners Home Delivery, the post office, couriers where possible – contact Gardners to find out more about their Home Delivery options on  01323 525666.
  • Hand delivery should be avoided to keep bookselling staff at good social distance and to prevent infection
 
Helen Dickinson, CEO of the British Retail Consortium said this morning :
 
“Retailers understand the need for government to act quickly and decisively to protect public health and combat coronavirus. The safety of customers and staff is paramount, which is why retailers have responded swiftly and positively to evolving government guidance on social distancing and other hygiene matters. Indeed, many retailers had gone further and already closed shops temporarily.
 
Others have continued to provide essential products and services to their customers, both from physical stores and online. Any retailers that remain open will be following the very latest government public health guidance to ensure they do everything they can to ensure the safety of customers & staff.”
 
The other vexed question is around the application for 80% furlough funding for laid off staff. The government information is still patchy on this and the link is here– we will endeavour to send you information and advice on this as it comes online.
 
 
Remember you can call the BA’s Business Support Helpline for advice on all employment law matters.  If you have questions on employment law, please do use the BA’s Business Support Helpline for advice – it’s free and unlimited and staffed by employment law professionals who will help you navigate the new situation – call on 08445 618133 (quote BA Scheme Number 31937).   You can also find out more specifically on the coronavirus here https://croner.co.uk/resources/business-advice/coronavirus-qa-advice-for-employers/ and their most recent Q+A on Coronavirus is here.
 
I hope you find this information helpful and we’ll be in touch as more details emerge.
 
- Booksellers Association