Big Issue vendors will return to their pitches in a week using contactless card machines and wearing face covering and gloves in a bid to protect sellers working amongst the public.
The 2,000 vendors will return after a 15-week hiatus on July 6 to pitches in England, Wales and Scotland. The Big Issue took the decision to stop selling the magazine on the streets to protect its sellers from coronavirus.
The Big Issue Group announced a series of health and safety measures today (June 29) to ensure vendors are able to sell the magazine safely and customers can buy with confidence.
Plans include placing vendors in a slightly different location to normal and giving them masks, visors, gloves and anti-bacterial hand gel to mitigate the risk of spreading of the virus.
Along with accelerating investment in contactless card payment equipment, the cover price of the magazine has been increased to £3 so that half of the sale price will go to vendors.
The Big Issue added in a statement that 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.
A coronavirus charity appeal by The Times newspaper split its record-breaking one million pound fundraising total to support the Big Issue Foundation, which assisted vendors of the weekly magazine whose street sales had been suspended.
Lord John Bird, founder of The Big Issue, said: “First-off, we want to thank everyone who has supported us and our vendors along the journey we have been through, the generosity of the wonderful British public, our corporate partners, investees, other social enterprises and charities, celebrities, the media and many many more.
“These essential funds have meant that we have been able to support vendors while they have been unable to sell the magazine safely on the streets.
“We have undertaken a huge health and safety review and put in place a range of measures designed to ensure vendors are able to sell safely from July 6. We want to ensure the public feel 100 per cent 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.”