Bicycle Association provides guidance for bike shops remaining open

Following the confirmation that bike shops can remain open during the UK’s coronavirus closedown, the Bicycle Association of Great Britain (BAGB) has issued advice and information for those weighing up their options – and how to continue to trade while reducing the chance for the spread of the virus.

Covering topics like whether to open with the usual service or a limited offering, such as by appointment only, or accepting card payments only, the statement is well worth a read:

“So, for now, it remains up to cycle shop owners whether to remain open for business, fully or partially.

We recognise the challenges in continuing to operate your business in these conditions. Although permitted to remain open, shops must also consider the safety of staff, and decide whether the support they provide for key workers using cycling for transport, and for those using bikes for health and exercise, justifies any additional risks that may remain even with social distancing measures in place.

If bike shops close voluntarily, it is our understanding that they will (like all UK businesses, not just those ordered to close) still be eligible for Government support measures, including the 80% wages support for furloughed employees as detailed here.

Also, if you decide to stay open, it need not be with your usual full service.
Other models adopted by dealers which you may wish to consider include:
– Operate by appointment only
– Operate on a ‘collect and deliver’ basis in your local area
– Operate on a ‘drive through/takeaway’ basis – customers order goods over the phone and staff bring the goods out to their car/bicycle.
– Open for key workers only, perhaps by appointment
– Continue to operate by mail order only

If you do open, we strongly advise taking all precautions to minimise infection risk to staff and customers. We are developing further guidance but for example:
– Ensure strict cleanliness and handwashing procedures are in place, per Government guidance.
– Control customer entry either by an appointment system or by a locked door to limit customer numbers in store, so that social distancing can be maintained in a managed environment
– Try to avoid contact during payments. Ask customers to use contactless for payments up to £30. Above that consider asking them to use their own phone in-store to make a payment via your online shop, by Paypal, or by faster payments bank transfer.
– Consider restricting access to or blocking customers from all soft goods, shoes, helmets and clothing, as these are especially hard to sanitise following contact, compared to hard surface items.
– Inform customers at or before entry of your precautions and request they minimise contacts and maintain social distancing.
– Also use social media channels to inform your customers of cleaning protocols, opening hours and operating procedures
– receive and handover bikes for servicing and repair outside of the store

Bike shops are providing an important service at this time and it is critical that public support is maintained in the face of significant retail closures. If you decide to remain open, it is important that you explain to your customers the reasons for doing so – and the key messages should be around servicing and repair of bikes for transport and exercise during the lockdown period.

We are collecting examples of bike shops supporting key workers in particular. So if you have fixed bikes for NHS staff, for example, or for delivery riders, we would love to hear about it. Reports with a photo of the customer (taken with their permission) are especially valuable. If you could just send a brief note and any pictures to (peter@bicycleassociation.org.uk) that would be much appreciated.”

The BAGB also has a COVID-19 hub – CI.N has listed a number of these here.

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