Update 25th Nov 2020 – Government Response: The Government has confirmed that shops in England can reopen on 2nd December 2020 – see letter attached from Amanda Solloway MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, in response to our letter, details below.
GCA has written to the government asking them to add specialist card retailers to the list of essential shops allowed to open (download below). A press release has also been sent out to the media (download below). While it appears doubtful that the government will change their mind before December, it is important that we keep the pressure up to ensure that stores can open as planned in December, and hopefully avoid a similar lockdown happening again.
And Rumit Shah (from specialist card retailer Cards Galore) has also raised a petition questioning the definition of “non-essential”. If the petition reaches 100,000 signatures, it will be considered for debate in Parliament.
The GCA understands the need of government to put public health first, and we are pleased that now many of our members are able to open, however we are concerned about the inconsistencies in the retail sector about what is deemed essential.
Given that there is no evidence that non-essential retail has contributed to the spread of the pandemic, and retailers have now all invested to ensure that they create COVID-19 safe shopping environments, we hope the government will reconsider.
Communicating with loved ones is key, particularly at this time of year, and we know the part cards have played in connecting people throughout the pandemic in 2020. The British will continue to buy cards so allowing specialist card shops to open will allow shoppers to spread out and find the card they need. As reported in PG Buzz, many specialist card retailers are supporting this campaign. The message was reinforced during an interview during an interview with GCA CEO Amanda Fergusson on BBC World Business Report on the 9th November 2020 (watch from 22m 21s, link valid until 8th December 2020). Also in several newspapers, such as this Express piece, and further interviews with John Proctor owner of Scribbler on BBC News online, and Eddie Sheppard MD of Clintons on Radio 5 Live 16th November 2020 and online.
Please do sign the petition and write to your local MP’s and press, feel free to share the attachments, and let’s see if we can convince the government to spread out Christmas card shopping to ensure that people can shop safely, and find the cards they need to send the message that they want to their loved ones.
This post was updated 25th November 2020, first written 9th November 2020