UK independent retailers trade association Bira is urging the UK Government to prioritise independent retail when making lockdown exit plan.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly providing his ‘road map’ to recovery from national lockdown on 22 February.

Last month, the UK entered fresh lockdown to curb the spread of a new variant of the coronavirus in the country.

As part of this, the trade association calls for a clear plan for independent retailers, most of which have not been open for two-thirds of the last year.

Bira CEO Andrew Goodacre said: “Independent retailers do not need much notice to reopen. All of the safety protocols are in place with regards to protective screening, hand sanitising and social distancing signage, furthermore, there is still a lack of evidence that suggests small shops contribute to spread.

“We do not believe that there is a need for a tier system this time, or differentiation between essential and non-essential shops; small shops, whatever their nature, can control the number of customers at any one time.”

Furthermore, Bira urged the Government to encourage people to return to their local high street and clear all barriers that hinder shopping.

Andrew added: “We’d like to see a positive national campaign to increase consumer confidence in terms of safety. Retail continues to be – and always has been – a safe place.”

Last month, the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-ShopperTrak data revealed that the total year on year (YoY) footfall for 2020 dropped by 43.4%.