Norrkoping officials and store owners , Source: Norrköping Municipality

Norrköping wants to give its retail sector a breath of fresh air

Norrköping wants to give its retail sector a breath of fresh air

In order to keep the Christmas shopping tradition alive and strong, some flexibility will be required

The authorities in the Swedish city of Norrköping are genuinely concerned about the business fabric of their locality and it shows. The administration wants to preserve the hustle and bustle of its shopping areas, even if it is under the new social distancing rules, the argument being that businesses need to survive so that life can continue as before once the pandemic is over.

To that end, councilors have proposed eliminating the fees and charges which are required for selling on the street as this would normally be considered occupying public land for commercial purposes. Moving the retail business outdoors could mean giving it a chance to breathe.

The Tourism Board of Norrköping is also doing its part to help

Surely, temperatures might be getting lower and lower each day, but officials are confident that shop owners and residents will not mind that fact if it gives them the chance to participate in the traditional holiday shopping activities.

“The local trade has been hit very hard by the restrictions that prevail and need support to even survive. By making it possible to conduct sales outdoors or offer smooth pick-up procedure, people can more easily keep their distance and at the same time support retail in Norrköping,” said Karin Jonsson (C), Chairman of the Technical Committee in the city.

Several possibilities about how to carry this idea out are being mulled. Suggestions range from having a dedicated shopping space outside of the store, to having a pick-up area for purchased products separate from the rest of the shop.

“We want to encourage the people of Norrköping to shop as locally as possible. This means visiting physical stores when the number of visitors is usually lowest, or as far as possible, ordering online from local players. However, it is still important to follow rules on distance and other recommendations to reduce the risk of the spread of infection,” added Reidar Svedahl (L), the Municipal Councillor for Business Issues.

Retail owners who would like to take advantage of this new possibility will still have to apply for a permit from the local police. Fortunately, the local tourism authority Visit Norrköping is also lending a hand through the campaign #stöttanorrköping by listing all of the retail businesses in the city which offer take-aways, home delivery or specific shopping times for risk groups.

The final decision on the new business measures will be taken on Monday, 30 November.



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