GOVERNMENT ministers have confirmed that hardware shops and equipment, plant and tool hire retail businesses are exempt from closure during the COVID-19 crisis.
While many non-essential retailers have been forced to close - including the likes of hairdressers and beauty salons - notable exceptions have been made for retail businesses that provide essential services such as car garages, supermarkets and veterinary surgeries.
Hardware stores and equipment businesses, along with plant and tool hire services, have now been officially named among the essential retailers allowed to continue trading during the coronavirus pandemic.
Previously, guidance was unclear regarding closure of these businesses, many of which are critical to keeping the country operational and supporting vital services like the NHS.
Graham Arundell, CEO at Hire Association Europe, commented on LinkedIn: “There is still a great need to provide equipment for maintenance and support of NHS and critical infrastructure. However, some members working to maintain support of the national Covid-19 effort were getting unwarranted criticism in the media for continuation of operations.
“Consequently we took this up with government, who recognised the vital part of the hire sector, and the designated premises list was altered to include equipment, plant and tool hire.”
He went on to stay that remaining open would be a choice for each business rather than a decision to be made by a trade body on the industry’s behalf.
"Those businesses that continue to trade will prioritise the safety and wellbeing of their staff and customers by following guidance from Public Health England in relation to safeguarding and social distancing," Mr Arundell added.
The updated official guidance regarding closure of certain businesses and venues can be found HERE.