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First step back to normality as stores open


By Chris Saunderson

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THE reopening of stores is a "first step back to normality", said the retail boss of one Elgin business.

With additional safety measures in place, Johnstons of Elgin reopen their Elgin retail store as part of the Scottish Government's phased plan to relax the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
With additional safety measures in place, Johnstons of Elgin reopen their Elgin retail store as part of the Scottish Government's phased plan to relax the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Scottish cashmere manufacturer, Johnstons of Elgin, was among the retail stroes to reopen to the public on Monday.

After 12 weeks in lockdown to help combat the spread of coronavirus, retail manager George McNeil said staff and customer safety is paramount.

A range of measures to keep employees and customers safe have been introduced. These include availability of disposable masks, the introduction of one-way systems and clear signage to help customers shop safely, and the installation of hand-washing facilities.

As fitting rooms will be closed, the returns policy has been extended to 60 days, and the number of customers in store at one time will be limited to adhere to essential physical distancing.

On site cafes are expected to reopen in line with Scottish Government tourism guidance from July 15.

Throughout the pandemic, Johnstons of Elgin has continued to operate with limited staff to produce NHS scrubs for local hospitals and launched a limited edition Rainbow scarf, with £100 from each sale being donated to NHS Charities Together.

Mr McNeil, managing director of retail, said: “The reopening of our stores is a welcome first step back to normality for the business. The safety of our employees and customers is paramount, and we have worked tirelessly with our teams across the five UK stores to ensure a safe shopping experience for all.

"Enhanced cleaning processes, with a clear focus on key customer touch points will also be used, as well as monitoring of footfall to ensure guests can shop safely.

Established in 1797 Johnstons of Elgin is one of the last remaining vertical mills in the UK still carrying out all the processes from raw cashmere and fine woollen fibres right through to the finished product. Last month, the company started producing small batches of scrubs at its mill in Elgin for the local hospital and primary care centres while they awaited NHS supplies.


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