Announced on October 31 by the Cabinet Office, the United Kingdom is in the midst of a new set of national restrictions to help control the spread of the novel coronavirus. Over 66.5 million people will be required to stay at home with few exceptions. The restrictions will touch every facet of life in the U.K., from work, school, travel and visiting relatives in care homes.
These restrictions will impact businesses and many will have to close, hopefully only temporarily. Some businesses may be able to relocate to new locations. Between the temporary closures, the businesses that sadly won’t reopen their doors, and some temporary relocations, companies who rely on up-to-date local insights will have extra pressures the rest of the year and throughout 2021 to make sure their location data is accurate and verified.
A potential customer was skeptical that in less than a week I would be able to provide them with current exterior photos of businesses, the status of the businesses specific to any impacts resulting from COVID-19 including any posted entry requirements. Additionally, if the contributor was tasked to validate a restaurant, the dining, takeout and delivery options available were captured and recorded.
In late August, I tasked Premise Contributors throughout Central London to report on local businesses. Of the locations Premise Contributors validated, one was permanently closed, three were temporarily closed and the rest were open.
While validating one location, a Premise Contributor noted a status I hadn’t considered; a business had temporarily relocated. The store was one of a small chain in the area and was directing its customers to the nearest sister-store location. The contributor selected “An established business that is temporarily closed due to COVID-19” which truly was the most accurate description of the business’s status.
For another retail location Premise Contributors were validating in a busy Southwark business area, a contributor provided insight only available through local knowledge. A popular book and stationery store with over 1,700 locations in the UK had closed and in its place was a discount clothing retail store. The contributor provided the name and several photos showing the new tenant, including mannequins wearing the hottest discounts in the store. Organizations that rely on more traditional location verification models, like sending corporate employees into the field, would have likely missed the specific details that can only be provided through the lens of someone who is truly familiar with the area.
For the stores that were open and operating, contributors were asked to find a sign near the entrance that displayed the COVID-19 requirements for entry. Every store had a sign or two explaining social distancing guidelines and clearly stating that masks must be worn while customers are in the shop. Contributors also listed the options available for customers to limit contact with staff and shared-use items like card payment keypads. Each location Premise Contributors located had contactless payment options, plexiglass separating checkout staff, facemask requirements, and clear sanitation of those shared-use items and public areas.
When the national restrictions begin to ease in two weeks, timed with the annual uptick in holiday shopping, organizations are going to need accurate, up-to-date information with local insights. For the stores that are and will remain open, knowing the updated hours of operations and COVID-19 mitigation measures in place will be crucial for businesses and consumers, and by using local knowledge experts—Premise Contributors—the most current, accurate and up-to-date business information will be available as organizations throughout the United Kingdom begin the process of healing from the second round of national restrictions.
Interested in learning more about how Premise can help you gain local knowledge? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.