Member Press Releases

Government plans announced as jewellers learn when they can reopen

24 Feb 2021

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Addressing the nation on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke of a four-stage plan for easing England out of lockdown, that includes jewellery retailers reopening alongside public buildings, outdoor settings and other retailers on 12th April.

Meanwhile in Scotland jewellers are expected to start to be able to reopen in the last week of April, alongside bars, restaurants, gyms and hairdressers. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday that the Scottish government’s strategic framework was ‘deliberately cautious’ at this stage. In Wales ministers have identified the 15th March as a possible reopening date for jewellers and other non-essential retailers, however, this date is seemingly not set in stone with a similar conditional process in place to other home nations, understandably. Ministers in Northern Ireland are due to outline a plan for exiting lockdown in the Assembly next week.

NAJ will be discussing the return of retail at the March NAJ Live, held at 10am on Thurday 25th Match.

Register for NAJ Live 

Gary Wroe, NAJ Chair said,

Although the easing plan is understandably conditional, I think it’s important we welcome the full plan giving us all a picture of how society can return to a new normal, hopefully by the end of June.

The Association’s summit event is scheduled to start on the 10th September, a month that with this news could look, positively, quite different to September just gone.


 

England easing out of Lockdown

The easing of lockdown will begin on 8th March with the reopening of schools, recreation in public places such as parks, which will include two people being able to meet socially for a coffee or picnic. The rule of six will return from the 29th March where six people or two households will be allowed to socialise in private gardens.

Then from the 12th April Jewellers will be able to reopen in England, at the same time as hairdressers, public buildings like libraries and museums, as well as swimming pools and gyms. Outdoor settings like zoos, theme parks and beer gardens will also be able to open on the same date.

From 17th May, if the data allows the rule of six will then apply to indoor gatherings, replaced with a limit of 30 people for outdoor gatherings. At this point, the plan enables cinemas, hotels, performances and sporting events to reopen, though social distancing will remain.

The final stage of the easing plan will be from the 21st June where legal limits on social contact could be removed, with hospitality venues such as nightclubs permitted to reopen. It is also hoped that from this date, restrictions on weddings and funerals will be abolished.

The plan is built around four conditions, that must be met at each stage of the easing, which are:

  1. Coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan
  2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying with the virus or needing hospital treatment.
  3. Infections rates do not cause a surge in hospital admissions.
  4. New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions.

 

coronavirus advice from the NAJ lockdown end

How can jewellers prepare for reopening?

If retailers haven’t already signed the StoreSafe pledge, which includes updating staff and team members on Covid secure requirements this can be signed and communicated to customer databases as a level of assurance to show you are taking all the necessary and recommended actions as set out by your trade association.

Sign the StoreSafe pledge

Additionally, retailers can use the NAJ’s ‘present moment’ consumer marketing campaign, which this month features a toolkit for Mother’s Day and the Bridal and Anniversary season to inspire consumer interest as click and collect services increase and reopening returns.

Download The Present Moment Toolkit

The NAJ has recently published a free single module on jewellery, to support new people entering the sector but it can also be useful for staff returning from furlough. Indeed, the module represents a quarter of the JET Essentials Programme, which itself is a section of the popular Professional Jewellers’ Certificate, more commonly referred to as the JET 1.

Access the free jewellery module

Marie Garnett, Head of Education said,

Throughout Lockdown, many jewellers have continued to commit to JET programmes and with plenty of time before the conditional reopening date, it may be a sensible choice to explore JET programmes for staff returning from furlough to help them as part of a structured return to work.

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How can jewellers maintain online?

With the increase in e-commerce activity, many retailers may be contemplating how the new normal will look, and how they can effectively continue to resource both online and in-store. There are a number of opportunities available, which include:

 

Kickstart scheme

Jewellers from all areas of the sector who would like to register an interest in the government’s Kickstart scheme can do so with the National Association of Jewellers.

The Kickstart Scheme was announced in September as part of the Chancellor's Plan for Jobs’ and provides funding to employers to create new 6-month job placements for 16 to 24-year-olds who are currently on Universal Credit and are at risk of long-term unemployment.

The British Allied Trades Federation (BATF), the NAJ’s parent organisation, is an approved kickstart representative, meaning smaller SME’s who would not qualify directly can do so through the organisation.

Funding will cover for each job placement:

  • 100% of the National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage depending on the age of the participant) for 25 hours per week for a total of 6 months
  • associated employer National Insurance contributions
  • employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.
  • employers receive up to £1500 funding per job placement. This is for setup costs and to support the young person to develop their employability skills.

Register an interest in the Kickstart scheme

 

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Digital Marketing Apprenticeship

For some jewellers, retraining existing staff or recruiting new staff may be an attractive business decision to grow online activity. This can be supported through a Digital Marketing Apprenticeship, delivered by a selected Education partner of the Association. Small and medium-sized businesses get 95% Government funding towards the cost of the apprenticeship, which makes this a low-cost option for getting highly valuable skills into the business.

Please contact NAJ’s Education team for more information.

Register interest in Digital Marketing Apprenticeship

 

Supporting Mental Health

Mental health has become a more prevalent subject in the UK in recent years, but there are still many people who live with conditions like depression and anxiety. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has only served to worsen mental health for many.

Feelings of isolation and loneliness are natural during lockdown, and financial stress has also increased for those who may have had their employment and subsequent income disrupted.

Fortunately, there are many free mental health support resources that are available to those who may be struggling. Seeking out the proper help can make all the difference when it comes to managing your mental health. With that in mind, take the time to learn about how the mental health resources in this article may be able to assist you.

View all helplines

 

 

What support is available?
Organisation Description

NHS Urgent Helplines

Visit

The NHS maintains urgent mental health helplines that are available at all times. These resources are for people of all ages and can be used for help in speaking to a mental health professional, an assessment on deciding the best course of care, or for advice and support. Callers can also contact a helpline if seeking guidance regarding someone else’s mental health.

Every Mind Matters

Visit

This NHS resource provides long-term support for people in need. Initially, people seeking help will be asked to fill out a quiz that will develop a plan with a number of tips to help with various aspects of mental health, such as managing stress and improving your mood.

In addition, Every Mind Matters offers a variety of guidance for coping with various issues, including stress related to COVID-19, financial problems, loneliness and more. Urgent support for those who may be considering suicide or self-harm is also available.

Samaritans

 

Visit

Call: 116 23

Self-help app

Samaritans offers advice and support for anyone seeking assistance with their mental health. Samaritans can be reached by calling 116 123 and is available 24 hours a day all year. This resource can also be contacted via email or handwritten letter. Those seeking assistance may also find Samaritans’ self-help app useful.

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)

Visit

Call: 0808 689111

This general mental health service is endorsed by the NHS and provides both a helpline and an online chat service between 17:00 and 00:00 every night.

Mind Out

 

Visit

This resource focuses on helping members of the LGBTQ community. Mind Out offers a variety of resources, including peer support groups and mentoring programmes. In addition, an online instant messaging service is available most weekdays from 17:30 to 19:30 and Sundays from 14:00 to 16:00. This chat service is confidential and anonymous. Additional hours are also often available.

Mind infoline

Visit

Mind Infoline offers an anonymous way to discuss issues that you may be having with your mental health. The helpline can be reached at 0300 123 3393 from 09:00 to 18:00 Monday through Friday, excluding bank holidays. Callers can receive information about mental health, where to get help, treatment options and advocacy services.

The Mix

 

Visit

Call: 0808 808 4994

This mental health resource is intended for people under 25 years old. The Mix offers a variety of different types of short-term support. People seeking help can call between 15:00 and 00:00 for telephone counselling. An online chat service is also generally available during the same hours, although chats may not be connected after 23:15.

 

The Mix also offers a text messaging service that is available at all times for those who may be going through a mental health crisis.

   
   

 

Furlough updates and statatory sick pay

Claims under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) are now open for pay periods in February ‌2021. Claims for January are now closed, but if you find you need to make a change because you didn’t claim enough you can do this until 1st ‌March.

For more (and the latest) information you can join the live Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme webinar (9.45 am, Friday 26th February), which includes:

  • who can claim 
  • who you can claim for 
  • how to calculate what you can claim
  • how to make a claim.

View CJRS Webinar

Webinars are also available for NAJ members on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme. The webinar will cover: 

  • who can claim 
  • who you can claim for 
  • how to make a claim 
  • what you may be entitled to, and more.

View COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

 

Better Business Support Service

You may have HR or health and safety queries in the forthcoming weeks. Members can make use of the Association's Better Business Support Service where unlimited advice line access is available, alongside access to hundreds of downloadable template documents.

The support service also includes Legal and tax support. 

View Better Business Support Service 

 

Read more Coronavirus updates

Source: The National Association of Jewellers