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Fashion retailers permitted to reopen fitting rooms from 12 April

Lauretta Roberts
01 April 2021

Fashion retailers will be permitted to reopen fitting rooms when stores across England exit lockdown on 12 April.

New guidance published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy allows for fitting rooms, which in some stores have been closed for a year, to reopen providing retailers take steps to minimise Covid-19 transmission.

Steps to be taken include a member of staff posted at the fittings rooms, no more than one customer in a fitting room at any one time (with exceptions for those customers with children or those with disabilities) and regular cleaning.

While the guidelines say that retailers should take steps to "manage clothes that have been tried on, to minimise contact between customers and staff”, they stop short of advising a "quarantine" for clothes that have been tried on. They do say that "several minutes" should be left between each use of a fitting room.

Last year when shops were open, many imposed a 48 hour quarantine on clothes that had been tried on or returned and steam cleaned them before returning them to sale. Previous Government guidelines stated that fitting rooms should be closed "wherever possible" leading to different interpretations of the rules.

News that fitting rooms can be opened will be welcomed by retailers who will be keen to encourage shoppers, who have become accustomed to buying online, back into stores. There were calls to Government made earlier this month to allow for reopening.

A Government spokesperson said: “We have set out our road map to reopen the economy and have recently published updated safer workplace guidance having worked closely with retailers, trade unions and medical experts so that businesses can reopen in a way that is as safe as possible for workers and customers.”

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