CAN I CASH IN ON RUG WASHING?

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It should be peak season for rug washing, repairs and reproofing. But can businesses offer this service under Covid-19 restrictions? 

A RETAILER ASKS…

This is usually our busiest time for rug washing but I’m not sure how we stand under coronavirus regulations.  

Our bricks and mortar shop is closed to customers but we are selling items online and posting them out. We do not allow anyone except staff into the premises. 

We could offer rug-washing if customers label their rugs and leave them outside our premises to be brought in by a member of staff.

After the work was done, the customer could pay over the phone and we could leave the rug outside for collection at an arranged time. Would this be breaking any rules? Staff would wear gloves and masks until the rugs were washed, and again during packaging. 

I have heard that other businesses are operating rug washing services. And obviously, we don't want to lose our customer base to those who are continuing.

BETA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CLAIRE WILLIAMS REPLIES: 

If you are running your shop as an online business only, then there are no restrictions on trading. 

If your shop sells items such as feed and supplements, then you legitimately fall under the broad ‘pet shop’ heading which is one of the business categories allowed to stay open on the basis of selling animal feeds and essential supplies. 

Interestingly, one of the other categories allowed to stay open are dry cleaners and laundrettes. So, you could also reference that if questioned as you are laundering products, albeit equine not human. 

If you are trading, you can sell whatever you wish; so rug cleaning should you be fine. 

Whichever route you go down, you should ensure you follow the government guidelines regarding social distancing and PPE where appropriate for staff. Your proposed use of gloves and masks sounds sensible to reduce contact. 

You could consider doing pick-ups and deliveries yourself too. Although this could complicate matters if you don’t do so already, as you would need to consider insurance on vehicles if there is no company vehicle, as well as doing additional risk assessments.

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