Builders' merchants can remain open during the COVID-19 lockdown, as long as they follow Public Health England (PHE) guidelines, the government has confirmed.

During today’s Construction Leadership Council Taskforce briefing with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) requested and received clarification on builders’ merchants' operational status following the additional restrictions announced last night by the government.

This confirmed that merchants are a vital part of the construction supply chain and that it is important that they continue to support the construction industry to operate on sites, and to provide the link between product manufacturers and the firms and tradespeople that use and install the products they make. However, all operations should be carried out while observing Public Health England guidelines.

BMF Chief Executive John Newcomb said: “The advice we received from BEIS following this morning’s briefing call makes it clear that merchants should continue to operate. Ideally, this should be through online and delivery services, but those who need to maintain depot service are able to do so providing they observe PHE guidance including social distancing, cleaning and hygiene, staff welfare, and all other means to minimise the risks of transmitting coronavirus.”