Retailers go to court to re-open stores
Retailers' union INretail in the court in Den Haag on Monday with their lawsuit to re-open non-essential stores as soon as possible. According to INretail, it is possible for stores to welcome customers safely while adhering with social restrictions,ANP reports.
Non-essential stores have been closed in the Netherlands since the middle of December to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In an opening statement, INretail’s lawyers argued the members of the trade union are referred to by the State as non-essential stores, “yet for the owners they are essential. There are many ongoing personal dramas among retailers. The fate of these retailers lies in the hands of the court.”
The lawyers argued that “unprecedented damage” is being done to retailers by the coronavirus measures. “Stores that are now disappearing from the streets will not return. The only substitute is online stores. The demise of shops will increase unemployment and poverty resulting in empty shopping streets with more crime.”
Based on the example of Belgium, INretail said it is possible for stores to reopen without a spike in infection rates. Shopping by appointment is not enough to compensate for the losses, lawyers state.
Currently, over 56 thousand stores are closed due to social restrictions which means 700 million euros in losses per week, INretail claimed. Around one-fifth of all retail workers are at risk of losing their job should the lockdown continue much longer, the union said.
INretail has also started a petition to reopen stores as soon as possible. The petition has gathered nearly 22 thousand signatures.
The court will rule on Friday.