Big Issue reveals safety plans for vendors as they return to UK streets
Big Issue magazine vendors will return to the streets of England, Scotland and Wales on Monday July 6, armed with PPE and contactless card payment equipment as part of new Covid-19 safety precautions.
The Big Issue Group, which offers homeless and vulnerably housed people across the UK the opportunity to earn a legitimate income, has also confirmed the introduction of "stringent" health and safety procedures in all distribution offices.
The magazine's network of over 2,000 vendors ceased selling on streets on March 20, just days prior to the UK entering a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
As part of efforts to help vendors build stronger businesses as they return to the streets, The Big Issue Group is providing its network with 10 free magazines each, and is increasing the cover price of the magazine to £3 (which vendors buy for £1.50).
Vendors who are in the vulnerable category or become ill with Covid-19 will be supported both financially and emotionally, until a time when it is safe for them to return to selling, the publisher said.
“We have undertaken a huge health & safety review and put in place a range of measures designed to ensure vendors are able to sell safely from 6th July," said Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue.
"We want to ensure the public feel 100% safe when choosing to buy from our vendors and have followed the government COVID-19 health & safety guidelines.
“The Big Issue exists to offer a hand up, and in keeping with that spirit our vendors are passionate about getting back to earning their own income and being in control of their own finances and lives once again. We can’t wait to be back.”
During lockdown, the publisher launched an urgent appeal asking the public to donate to a fund or to subscribe to the magazine to support vendors while they were unable to sell copies themselves.
The Big Issue Group also launched an app, available on Apple Store and Google Play and secured listings in major retailers, with half of net proceeds from the appeal going directly to vendors.