James Lowman outlines the work the ACS is doing to support local stores during the coronavirus pandemic.


We are living in a time of uncertainty with the ongoing Covid-19 situation which has affected all of us. Firstly, I’d like to thank the tens of thousands of retailers and hundreds of thousands of colleagues in local shops who are showing incredible commitment and dedication to their local communities.

Convenience stores act as lifelines to their customers, keeping communities connected and providing vital services to those who need them the most, when they need them the most. We’ve seen in the past how local shops have helped to provide essential products to customers in times of extreme weather, so it has been no surprise to see how retailers have stepped in to ensure that their community is cared for. From offering collection services to having a dedicated shopping hour for NHS workers and vulnerable customers, local shops are continuing to make a positive difference to their customers.

We have seen more stores begin offering home delivery service and this has become particularly crucial as people have been advised to stay indoors. To help more stores do this, we have developed new guidance in consultation with HM Government and Trading Standards. The guidance covers taking orders and payments to managing data security. You can also download a notice for your dashboard that you can use while making a grocery delivery in your community. The main message from the guidance is that home delivery doesn’t need to be complicated.

We’ve been talking to government ministers and officials several times a day about measures to compensate affected businesses, about immediate political changes to mitigate the situation, and about how our members can interpret policy in a practical way. This has led to us producing a range of posters and other materials on the ACS website to help you communicate key messages to customers including notices for: handwashing, altered opening hours, social distancing measures and home delivery service details.

Things are changing day by day, but we will continue to keep members informed with daily updates and the Covid-19 page on the ACS website.