Belgium’s decoration and paint shops have called on the government to let them reopen or risk unfair competition with the stores already allowed to open during the country’s lockdown.
The IVP-Coatings Federation, which groups together decoration and paint shops, has asked the government to clarify the ministerial decree of 17 April 2020 and to allow paint wholesalers, decoration and paint shops to reopen to private individuals, provided that the rules on “social distancing” are respected.
Under the current measures, access to garden centres and hardware stores is allowed, while wholesalers may also reopen, but only for professionals and not for private individuals. More specialized shops such as paint or wood or bathroom stores, however, still have to remain closed.
The stores allowed to reopen must follow strict social distancing conditions, with large shops required to ensure there is no more than one customer per 10-square metres and that customers remain in the shop for no longer than 30 minutes.
“We are pleased that the situation of paint wholesalers has been clarified by the latest ministerial decree, but we do not understand the logic behind the decision to limit the opening of these wholesalers to professionals and not to extend it to private individuals,” explained Hugo Myncke, chairman of IVP-Coatings.
The recent reopening of DIY stores, “which also offer a range of paints, leads to unfair competition against the many paint wholesalers, decoration shops and paint shops in our country”, IVP-Coatings points out.