While the coronavirus may have boosted online revenue, many retailers are concerned that some of these sales will not return to their physical high street stores, according to Retail Gazette.

In the seven weeks since the lockdown measures were imposed, the daily death rates have now peaked and started to decline, but the fight against the pandemic is far from over. Governments across the world now have to negotiate a difficult balancing act between allowing the economy to reopen and ensuring the virus stays under control.

In Germany, where restrictions have been lifted, there are signs that the infection rate, known as the ‘R’ rate has shot up, despite keeping social distancing measures in place.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma is set to put forward plans for an eventual ‘workplace by workplace’ approach to getting back to normal, but not until the Government’s ‘five tests’ have been passed. The details are not due to be released until 8 May, but there have been initial reports on what life after the lockdown could look like with gradual lifting of restrictions.

We take a look at some of the changes that could affect the retail sector.

The shops that provided non-essential services that were forced to close are expected to be some of the first ones to be allowed to re-open after the lockdown, provided that social distancing rules are maintained for staff and customers. This includes garden centres, book shops, car showrooms and fashion outlets.

Lobby group the British Retail Consortium has given guidelines on ensuring the safe reopening of non-essential firms, with suggestions including limiting entry and exit points, using floor markings to outline social distancing and keeping changing rooms closed.

Some stores, such as B&Q, Homebase and Wickes, have already reopened, though others don’t have the funds to with several high street chains already collapsing as a result of COVID-19, including Laura Ashley, Oasis and Warehouse.

Shops are expected to follow the example set by supermarkets by initiating a queueing system, installing perspex screens, and having contactless-only payments at checkouts. Some stores, such as Debenhams, have placed orders for personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff, acrylic screens and signage to enforce distancing.

Others, such as B&Q, will stock hand sanitiser at trolley stations.

Retailers Association boss Andrew Goodacre said: “Retailers will need some notice to allow them to plan for re-opening and creating systems that allow for these measures to be in place.

“On top of these practical issues, we have to accept that footfall and sales will remain below normal levels, and this will make it hard for some of the retailers to remain open during the transition period.”

If you want to adapt your shop for the coming changes with automatic sliding and swing doors, get in touch today.