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Coronavirus: DIY stores are gradually reopening

© Belga

Many do-it-yourself (DIY) stores reopened on Saturday morning in light of the measures regarding the new coronavirus (Covid-19), but others are waiting until Monday, the Christian trade union for employees (CNE) noted.

“Major DIY distributors (such as Brico, Hubo, Gamma) plan to open by Monday at the latest as long as all safety measures are in place,” said Delphine Latawiec, head of the Commercial Sector at the CNE.

On Wednesday, the National Security Council authorised DIY and garden centres to reopen, with the same social-distancing conditions as food-marketing stores.

Generally, the DIY sector seemed better prepared than major food distribution chains were at the start of the crisis, which took them a bit by surprise, Latawiec said. “DIY stores went all out to be able to open as quickly as possible, since the Easter break ends on Sunday. From a marketing perspective, there was still a day or two left to do good business,” she said, adding that especially in Brussels and the Bruges region, many stores reopened.

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Reports from businesses where the union has representations show that all went well on Saturday morning, she added.

Latawiec recalled that the cooperation of three stakeholders was needed to make sure the reopening went well. Employers needed to install the ad hoc safety material, employees needed to apply safety instructions and use protective material, and customers needed to assume their responsibilities.

“If the customer flouts the instructions, all is lost,” she said, expressing the hope that scenes like the “uncontrollable” situation a month ago in certain stores would not repeat themselves.

The union recalled further that if safety rules are broken, whether by employers or by customers, law enforcement would be called in and, if necessary, the establishment in question would be closed.

The Brussels Times

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