The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed a letter from the minister for small business, consumers and labour markets, Paul Scully, which highlights the vital and positive role that the retail sector has played during the coronavirus crisis.

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In the letter he said: “I would like to echo the comments made by the business secretary in his letter of 8 April thanking retail workers who have continued to work in our shops, online and supply chains throughout this challenging period.

“Your tremendous efforts have not only ensured the public have had continued and safe access to the goods they need over the last three months, you have also supported your communities to adhere to social distancing guidelines effectively and have helped to control the virus.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We’re pleased that the minister has recognised the essential role that our colleagues have played in keeping their communities going and providing products and services to their customers.

“From introducing dedicated shopping hours for NHS and key workers to offering a home delivery service, local shops have quickly adapted to ensure that they can continue to serve their customers effectively and safely during the Covid-19 outbreak.”