Shops to close
VPZ fails to get support for ‘stress relief’ argument
Shops have closed
VPZ, the UK’s largest e-cigarette retailer, has closed all its 155 nationwide stores despite arguing that it provided health benefits at a time of stress.
The Scotland-based company expected the government to implement measures similar to those in other European nations by keeping vaping retailers open.
However, the Government failed to clarify its view on vaping stores.
Doug Mutter, director of compliance and manufacturing at VPZ, said: “We are disappointed with the lack of clarification from the Government regarding where vaping retailers stand.
“Other European nations had recognised the work vaping specialists do in reducing the stress on health services and kept the local stores open. We had expected this to be the case and had begun investing in new processes in order to manage our business in such an environment.
“However without sufficient clarification and in the interest of keeping our staff and customers safe we have taken the decision to close all 155 stores as of Tuesday for the next three weeks.”
The firm had expected that the UK would follow the likes of Spain, Italy and Switzerland in allowing vaping retailers to remain open in an attempt to prevent smokers from moving back from vaping to smoking.
Mr Mutter continued: “We have been advised by both the UK Government and WHO that smoking has a hugely detrimental impact when coupled with COVID-19. We as business have a duty of care to help people protect themselves, and to ensure our staff and customers are kept safe.
“We work in conjunction with the NHS on a number of partnerships across the UK so we are well aware of the pressure they are currently under, which is growing day by day.
“Our staff have been absolutely incredible and it is a credit to them that we have been able to help tens of thousands of customers during this very difficult time.
“We have taken the decision to close all stores and went above and beyond the Government’s 80% commitment and ensure our staff are paid 100% of their salary during the three week lock-down.
“We will stand-by our staff during this difficult time.”