After nearly a third of the year, showrooms in England and Wales are reopening today as part of the second major phase of the reopening of the British economy from what has been the longest lockdown period so far.
Installers have been busy making preparations over the past few weeks in anticipation of today, with many already reporting showroom schedules fully booked.
Although the roadmap to reopening began in March, today marks the first truly major milestone in the Government’s plan to unlock the British economy. Other than showrooms in the UK fenestration industry reopening, there is a wide and varied list of things you can now do as of today in England and Wales:
- All shops allowed to open
- Hairdressers, beauty salons and other close-contact services can open
- Restaurants and pubs allowed to serve food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors
- Gyms and spas can reopen, as can zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centres
- Members of the same household can take a holiday in England in self-contained accommodation
- Non-essential journeys between England and Wales are allowed
- Weddings – up to 15 people
- Funerals – up to 30 people, with 15 at wakes
- Children will be able to attend any indoor children’s activity
- Care home visitors will increase to two per resident
- Driving lessons can resume, with driving tests restarting on 22 April
As per BBC
- All pupils and students return to school, college and other education
- All shops and close-contact services can open
- The ban on travelling in and out of Wales ends
- Driving lessons can resume and some driving tests (remainder on 22 April)
As per BBC
The Prime Minister has asked the public to enjoy the new freedoms, but to also be careful and act responsibly as we all hope that this lockdown is the final one.
I have written in the past that today, and indeed this week, should be seen as an opportunity for installers to boost their sales further. The industry has been working through a period of exceptional demand from May of last year, with showrooms closed for a large proportion of that time. Installers have not struggled to win business without the showroom, with many reporting lead times of beyond three months. Still, there will be some homeowners out there sitting on the fence and waiting to make a decision before they commit to investing in their homes. It is this remaining business, as well as new leads, that installers should be looking to take advantage of. It could result in a further boost to sales, on top of already very high levels of demand.
Whilst any extra business won due to the reopening of showrooms will be welcome, it will put a further strain on the supply chain which is now crumbling in areas as the sector finds itself struggling to scale up to cope with demand.
This is the most pressing issue for the sector right now. We have to work as hard as possible to get our house in order, to secure the supply chain as best we can and find ways to scale up as quickly. Consumers won’t slow down their spending habits. They want their homes ready for the summer and for guests now they can come round. The public is sat on £150bn of spare cash according to Bloomberg.
To all installers and indeed any fenestration business with a showroom, I wish you all well and hope business remains brisk as we take our next step in this ongoing crisis.
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