Writing about the benefits of vaping over smoking tobacco, or about the great new e liquid flavours we have available, or even the latest in vape news seems like a pointless waste in these extraordinary times we all find ourselves in, vapers, smokers and non-smokers alike. Like a ship that’s sinking, the normal things that divide all aboard are put aside when facing a dire crisis and although everything we see in the media is about COVID-19 it’s hard not to focus on how it is affecting all our lives.
At The Vape Shop we already operate customers limits in our shop, social distancing and COVID-19 hygiene guidelines. We have decided to operate a skeletal structure to keep the shop open purely to aid vulnerable vapers who cannot use a computer or don’t have access to online. Forcing these people back to tobacco cigarettes because they can’t access their local vape store is not really an option. Masks and gloves are a given and are worn by all our staff that deal with customers, customers appreciate this as it adds to their safety as well. All surfaces and points of physical contact are disinfected regularly throughout the day and things like card machines, tills and computers are alcohol swabbed after each use. Windows and doors are opened fully to aid good fresh air ventilation and circulation. All these things help to minimise risk and as mentioned customer limits and social distancing in the shop are put in place.
The latest Covid-19 figures from Italy where 800 people died of the virus in one day and large increase in contamination and deaths in the UK weigh heavily on our hearts and on our minds. We would encourage all our offline local shoppers, where possible, to start to place their orders online and select ‘Free Pick Up’ in the shop. That way we can avoid people gathering in the shop, the length of time a customer is at the shop and also do away with cash handling and credit card processing. Once your order is processed you simply pop to the shop and give your name and your products will be handed to you straight away without fuss (as you already paid online) or unnecessary lengthy interaction.
A Time For Community & Service
Now is not a time for profit margins and competition but a time when we as businesses should see how we can best serve our communities in what little ways we can. At The Vape Shop we have already been handing out free Purell Advanced hand sanitizer to all our customers, topping up their bottles when they get low and also to members of the public in need. Talking to customers, especially the elderly and ones with medical conditions is a great way to find out how they are holding up and more importantly if they need any help. Walking pets, food shopping and regular contact are things we as businesses can get involved in. Most of us have vans, staff and access to things regular customers don’t that could help in some small way. The same can be said for the younger customers. Do you know someone that is in the vulnerable of society that’s been asked to isolate and who vapes? Can you arrange to pick them up from the shop on their behalf? In trying to help each other and our communities we can, and will, get through this.
Vape Shops An Essential Store
It’s important that vapes shops keep operating whether online or under strict social distancing guidelines. We don’t want to send vapers who need their nicotine hit back to tobacco. There is no point in getting through this coronavirus epidemic only to die of cancer because a vaper has gone back to smoking through not being able to access vape products. Italy with one of the severest lockdowns on retail and businesses have exempted vape stores from the lockdown – classing them as essential. The persona behind this move was Dr. Riccardo Polosa a world-renowned scientist and researcher on vaping and tobacco harm reduction. He is the founder of the Center of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction (CoEHAR) in Catania, Italy. Spain and France have both done the same and the reason is clear. If keeping vape shops open allows vapers to access their vape products and keep them away from tobacco smoking this in turn will ease the pressure on the NHS, even if only a little. Every little counts!