The German Trade Association has laid out a plan for a gradual return to normality, as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues.
1. Non-discriminatory guidelines
The majority of shops remain closed across Germany but as this is reversed in the future, clear and consistent regulations are necessary to avoid legal uncertainty, unfair competition or collective uncertainty. Decisions should not be based on the sales area, size of the business or the retail sector it operates in.
2. Conduct and hygiene measures
Clear communication of these measures will be required and they must be designed in a way which enables retailers to implement them whilst maintaining business operations.
3. Encouraging consumer sentiment
This has fallen to an all time low and so trade associations are calling for consumer cheques to be issued, as well as the abolishment of the solidarity surcharge, which is an additional fee on income tax, capital gains tax and corporate tax.
4. Financial support for companies
For a fast and sustainable recovery, businesses will require support. This includes removing unnecessary legal requirements such as reporting obligations.
5. Emergency funds for SME's
This fund should include specific assistance for payments such as rent and bills for small and medium enterprises.
6. Flexible labour laws
An extension is required for those receiving short term work benefits to 24 months. The deferral option for social security contributions should also be extended beyond the summer.
7. Relaxation of shop opening restrictions
A temporary but comprehensive relaxation to the rules regarding shop opening times is needed. In particular it calls for the allowance of Sunday trading, without conditions or restrictions.
8. Logistical capacities
Delivery of retail products during off-peak and night-time hours should continue to be allowed until further notice. Regulations regarding this should be standardised across the country.
9. City centre support
To protect the city centres, a specific fund is required. Urban development funds should be extended to 2021.
10. Integrity of the EU single market
Once the phase of shop closures is lifted, the government must focus on helping the domestic economy get back on its feet.
For further information about the measures occurring in Germany during this pandemic, please read this article on retailers responses in Germany.
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