The agony of hygiene measures in the big clothing brands


It is difficult to follow and enforce the rules when the staff is understaffed.

The CNE on Monday condemned La Libre Belgique, hygiene measures that are not complied with by some major clothing brands. While the shops have been reopened since Monday 11 May, the resumption of activities will not take place at all as the trade unions had hoped.

Closed handling rooms

“In some major retailers, the changing rooms have been completely closed. In others, every second person stays open and the cabins are cleaned only two to three times a day, no more. The curtains in the cabins, whether made of fabric or plastic, are also not cleaned.”explains CNE permanently Jalil Bourhidane.

According to the trade unionist, this is due to a shortage of staff in the shops. “Sellers were temporarily made unemployed. On average, large retailers employ no more than 60%, often fewer. In smaller stores, the seller is usually alone. As a result, understaffed employees do not have time to follow these cumbersome cleaning procedures.”Says.

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Another problem pointed out by the CNE: the resection of the tried-and-tested clothing. “We thought they wouldn’t be back on the shelves for 24 hours, but we’re being pressured by managers to make it shorter.”Jalil Bourhidane reports.

In addition to a form of customer responsibility, the Christian Union is calling for the closure of changing rooms in all major retailers. “To avoid all these procedures for employees who are already exhausted, one week after reopening”. He also wants management to increase the number of employees in the branches.

A rather quiet first weekend

Moreover, on the first Saturday since the reopening of non-food stores, there was neither a large influx nor a large hiccup. Traders say they are relatively satisfied with the sales, according to a survey of independent trade organizations. Customers seem to have preferred efficiency over shop window shopping.

“After reaching between 30 and 40% of their normal sales during the week, independent traders achieved an average of 60% of a normal Saturday on Saturday.”, says Christine Mattheeuws, President of the Neutral Union for Independents (SNI), “It’s not that bad”, waiting for the return of the business “slow but safe” at a more normal level. For this we will probably have to wait a few more weeks with the return of the tourists and the reopening of the Horeca facilities.

“According to the survey we conducted, this first Saturday was not particularly problematic,”” he said., it is indicated on the side of the Union of the Middle Class (UCM). Of the 812 independent traders in Wallonia and Brussels surveyed by UCM, 75% said that “Few customers.” In addition, 88% had planned an exhibition at the entrance of the store and the use of disinfectant gel; 48% ground marking to ensure distances; 46% have the obligation to wear the mask; and 27% planned to make masks available to their customers.

The appointments allow you to filter the customers who really come to buy. ©Artem Beliaikin/Unsplash

Window shopping is no longer very popular in times of the Coronavirus epidemic: customers who have moved into the stores have come to buy and not stroll from one store to another. It is true that the rules of the National Security Council stipulate that the storage time is limited to 30 minutes per customer. And when the barge wasn’t there in large numbers, it tended to be efficient and buy more than usual, according to the SNI.

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On the UCM side, one in four merchants currently prefers to work by appointment. ‘It’s about clothing stores, it makes sure the person comes to buy.’

More generally, non-food companies have a blue fear of a possible second containment that many would not survive. While public support measures are welcome to keep their heads above water, independent traders in Brussels and Wallonia regret that the aid is not as generous and effective as in Flanders.

With Belga