The international DIY retailers' umbrella association Edra/Ghin is appealing to governments worldwideto declare DIY stores to be indispensable retail outlets. In a press release, it states: "We passionately believe that home improvement stores should also be classified as essential retail. Our members' stores sell essential items such as electric, heating and plumbing equipment that customers require access to. Moreover, many home improvement stores also sell products that are currently in high demand (bleach, cleaning products/disinfectants, face masks etc...). Finally, as governments are increasingly appealing to the global population to stay at home, it is even more important that these homes are functional and present a safe and secure living environment."
Edra/Ghin nonetheless unequivocally supports the numerous lock-downs that are taking place almost all over the world, affecting around 20 per cent of the global population at this moment. The closing of public amenities and the increasing policies of social distancing are slowing the pace of Covid-19. Edra/Ghin also believes it is right to temporarily close all stores with the exception of foodstores, pharmacists, banks and other services deemed essential.
EuroCommerce, the Brussels-based umbrella organisation of the European retail industry, appealed in its press release on 18 March to EU governments to consider keeping DIY stores open, albeit with some restrictions. Some governments have implemented restrictive measures to tackle Covid-19 and yet recognised the DIY sector as an essential retailer that should remain open.
Speaking today, 25 March 2020, Edra/Ghin general secretary John W. Herbert stated: "Our absolute top priority is to protect the health and safety of both our customers and our employees and we are sure that if we install relevant restriction measures, for example reducing the number of customers in stores at any one time and ensuring social distancing is well observed, this will help to protect customers and employees' personal safety and give the customers the opportunity to maintain their homes."
Finally, Edra/Ghin asks the European Commission to suspend implementing new EU rules that are not directly related to the pandemic. Many companies are already feeling pressure from all sides, the association states. Adding new obligations, as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, may hinder their capacity to tackle this evolving crisis.
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