News 8 September 2021

Shoppers concerned about Covid safety as they return to the high street, new research finds

  • Most Brits are still nervous about heading to the high street, with 73% worried about visiting shops and cafés without visible Covid-19 measures in place
  • More than half (53%) of adults say they will only go into shops with visible Covid measures in place, such as air ventilation, UV technology and increased cleaning regimes
  • Consumers will spend around half an hour longer in stores and cafes with measures in place

While restrictions have now lifted, almost three quarters (73%) of Brits are still worried about visiting shops and cafés where there are no Covid-19 measures in place, new research from Mitie has revealed1. More than half (53%) went as far as to say they will only go into shops which have visible anti Covid measures.

Ensuring a regular flow of clean air was a high priority for more than half of adults (54%), who say they would be more comfortable spending time inside high street shops and cafés where there is increased air ventilation. Similarly, more than a quarter (28%) would like technology that reduces viruses from the air, such as ultraviolet light, to be in place.

In addition to clean air systems, over half (54%) of Brits want to see an increased cleaning regime in place and a similar number (52%) want social distancing to continue on the high street, while half (50%) would like to see hand sanitiser available in stores.

The research also showed that consumers aren’t yet ready to give up their face coverings. Three in five (59%) Brits said they would continue to wear masks when visiting a high street store, with 45% wanting shops to have a compulsory face mask policy.

Other measures that would offer peace of mind are increased touch point cleaning, which a third (36%) want to see in shops and cafés, while a quarter (25%) of Brits want temperature checks for everyone using the building.

The survey also shows that investing in safety measures is not only the right thing to do, but also makes good business sense too. Two thirds (67%) of respondents confirmed that they would look more favourably on a business that can show it is taking the virus seriously and is Covid secure. And more than half (54%) of Brits even said that they will choose to spend their money with businesses that can show they are putting Covid safety measures in place.

Meanwhile, a fifth of UK adults (22%) confirmed that they would spend more time in a store if they could see that anti-Covid measures were in place. A compulsory mask policy, social distancing measures, increased cleaning and visible air ventilation would all encourage shoppers to spend around half an hour longer inside if they were in place.

Daniel Guest, Chief Operating Officer, Mitie Technical Services, said:

“While the nation’s Covid restrictions are no longer in place, it is clear that there remains concern from the public that shops, cafés and other retail premises are safe spaces to visit.

“By investing in measures like increased cleaning regimes and technology like UV light that can help kill viruses in the air, retail and hospitality businesses can keep their customers safe, prevent the spread of the virus, and give consumers confidence to spend time on the high street.”

Mitie has created a dedicated page which has advice and tips for businesses are looking to create a Covid secure environment for customers.

  1. Survey of 5,000 British adults, undertaken by OnePoll in August 2021

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