THE CORONAVIRUS – COVID-19
We are concerned about this pandemic in every sense.
Public health must be of paramount importance and retailers need to safeguard themselves too.
As a charity we are not allowed to give direct dictates to retailers, other than to advise all to refer to the government website www.gov.uk for more information and directives.
A retail shop offering a professional and personal service (members of the Society of Shoe Fitters and Children’s Foot Health Register), already struggle to keep doors open due to online shopping and cheaply made footwear in large multiples. The public are unaware of the importance of correctly fitting footwear to their general health – particularly for children and those with illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, lymphoedema etc.
This virus could mean the closure of many independent retailers and both the government and public have a duty of care to ensure that businesses will get through this difficult time in order to maintain the availability of a shoe fitting and footwear assessment service. Only one third of the population have ‘average’ feet, so maintaining a professional fitting service is vital to the majority, particularly both ends of the age spectrum.
Buying vouchers from independent shoe shops at this time would help enormously. If you are a regular customer they are likely to be aware of your child’s feet, size, fitting etc. and will know the right questions to ask you regarding finding appropriate and safe footwear should you need to buy over the phone.
Common-sense is needed and these are merely guidelines and not compulsory directives. Refer to the government website www.gov.uk for official information and directives.
Keep all handles inside and out and surfaces that can and will be touched i.e. gauges, seating etc. clean and wiped with antibacterial wipes/disinfectant.
Wash hands before and after shoe fitting and let your customer know you are doing this for their benefit.
Supply an antibacterial handwipe/lotion on entry and exit.
Some are asking should they wear a mask when shoe fitting to keep both parties safe. This is not something we can advise on, but if you wish to do so, then be aware that a mask can be frightening to a child and you may need to be inventive. A mask may not be effective once it becomes wet and if not fitted correctly – if it is ill fitting you touch your face to adjust the mask – something else that needs to fit properly to perform correctly!
Bear in mind schools may close prior to the Easter holidays and at the second busiest school shoe buying time of the year. Why not contact headteachers and the Chair of Governors asking them to send a letter home to parents offering to provide an evening or two of footwear and foot care assessment (without obligation). Head teachers need no help in writing a letter, but may appreciate you trying to save them time, so have attached something for them. Their pupils back-to-school shoes can then be purchased with a professional measuring and fitting service and parents need not feel rushed into buying new shoes to go back to school in – particularly if the shops have closed for the duration. The letter below may serve as a guide and save you time, so feel free to download and edit as you see fit. This is merely a suggestion, but the message needs to reach parents before schools close.
We hope this helps. Our members are the finest people in the footwear industry, please keep safe and well.