Getting ready to re-open our shops – a useful checklist


As the UK gets ready to allow businesses to re-open, here is a checklist that may be useful in helping music shops to prepare to welcome the public back in. It is by no means exhaustive and we are getting guidance from government and appropriate organisations all the time (eg the British Retail Consortium link below).

The MIA website will update the COVID-19 box on the homepage as we get new information –

Remember: On Monday 11th May, the MIA will bring you a live, question time style discussion with a panel of key industry figures. This virtual event will support retailers in reopening their businesses to the public after the lockdown and explore the new landscape and the opportunities it brings. Find out more and sign up here:

Staff check

  • Notice of end of staff furlough
  • Possible change of Terms and Conditions for Staff
  • Consideration if any additional home working is sensible going forward
  • Training on Social Distancing for staff and customers
  • Ensuring staff are comfortable about the “new normal” and addressing any concerns
  • PPE for staff if required
  • Social Distancing/hygiene for any stock deliveries to the shop
  • Social Distancing/hygiene for any staff deliveries of stock to customer

The shop floor

  • Social Distancing sign at entrance
  • Hand sanitiser at entrance and other locations
  • Staff at entrance to explain policy and control entry/exit
  • Consider if a “couple” can enter or just the one musician
  • 2 metre signage on floor where needed (eg at till)
  • Hygiene measures at till area (eg payment machine)
  • No cash transactions
  • Browsing/touching policy signage
  • Procedure for cleaning any instrument that has been played
  • Special procedure for any wind instrument that has been played
  • Kerbside service?
  • Staff shifts?
  • PPE for staff (masks and gloves?)
  • Hygiene control for any rental or returned instrument
  • Hygiene control for staff/customer toilets
  • Hygiene control for any staff areas (eg where food is eaten)

Business planning

  • Cash flow projection
  • Payment plan for suppliers
  • Other possible sources of new business finance
  • Consider future ratio between physical sales and online
  • Consider stock levels available verses required
  • Business Rates Grant
  • CBILS and Small Business Loan
  • Bounce Back Loan
  • Rental freeze period/ongoing support from landlord
  • VAT deferment
  • PAYE deferment
  • Employer’s Allowance (we found a shop last week that did not know about this and was able to claim £14k)


  • Be aware of public wariness to go back to shops, increased communications will be the order of the day to reassure them
  • Contact with local press to announce re-opening
  • Community websites
  • Social media campaign to announce re-opening
  • Website update regards trading
  • Shop event to draw people back to the shop
  • Zoom evening event for best customers
  • Ability to “walk” customer through shop stock when they phone (ie using camera)
  • Consider on-line messaging of shop safety policy (Social Distancing etc)
  • Possible new look at selling platforms (Reverb, eBay, Gumtree etc)
  • Excellent video below from Third Rock Music Center in Ohio:

There are a number of sources of data that may be of help to you and we have listed some below: social-distancing-stores-v1-april-2020.pdf

Additional guidance for wind instrument hygiene (with thanks to Denis Wick and BBICO):

Hot soapy water and brushes will keep a brass instrument clean and healthy, and if you wanted to spray a mouthpiece with disinfectant that is great and will do no harm.

NAMM’s warning to avoid boiling water and bleach is very good, as either of these can damage a brass instrument.

It is very worrying for stores that the virus can survive on brass for up to five days. Retailers will need to operate sensible policies. We would suggest the following;

  • No touching or playing of instrument unless absolutely necessary – i.e. no tootling for fun!
  • Sterile gloves should be worn if an instrument is going to be touched
  • If an instrument is played in store, it and the mouthpiece, will need to be thoroughly cleaned again immediately afterwards, both internally and externally. Alcohol wipes are fine for the outside, but if an instrument has actually been played it will need to be cleaned inside as well, so it would have to be put in a bath of hot soapy water or a disinfecting product and brushes used to remove any particles of dirt.
  • Some non-UK authorities are suggesting baking instruments which have been played in store to kill the virus. This is rather too thorough. Hot, soapy water will do the trick. Some brass instruments would simply fall apart if you tried to bake them!
  • Consider specialist cleaning brushes such as the Denis Wick Snake brush, Mouthpiece brush and the Valve brush
  • Consider specialist industry hygiene products such as Edgware Sanitiser and Brass Soak by BBICO

Here is an article that BBICO have produced incorporating all of the guidance: