The small business has demanded that the Government limit online sales to basic necessities in order to compare its activity to that currently available by physical establishments, which have become a clear competitive advantage.
Successive decrees on the state of alarm have limited the opening of stores to basic goods and services, such as food, beverages, animal feed, hygiene, medicines or medical devices.
However, with regard to online sales, it is only stated that the distribution and delivery of products purchased via the internet, telephone or correspondence is allowed, without limiting the type of items that can be purchased.
“That at the moment it can be sold on the internet of everything when the trade is forced to close, it is not for receipt,” the president of the Spanish Confederation of Commerce (CEC), Pedro Campo, regretted.
Furthermore, in his opinion, it does not make much sense to try to stop the expansion of the coronavirus by confining all non-essential workers, and that, at the same time, there are thousands of delivery people and carriers going from one place to another to deliver orders.
Regarding the possibility of small businesses joining in joint e-commerce initiatives, Campo regretted that, for obvious reasons, “organizing is very complicated” at the moment.
However, the establishments that can open are making a very important effort to continue giving service and many are taking purchases to the houses by their own means, it has highlighted.
“It is precisely our proximity that allows us to take the purchase home to elderly people or people with mobility problems, to isolated patients or simply to homes that, for whatever reason, prefer to make the purchase over the phone.”
Campo has warned that the situation of small businesses before the stoppage of activity is “dramatic” and, if the closure lengthens, many will not be able to bear it because “they were already living off the monthly cash to pay payrolls and subsist.”
“Two months with the establishments closed can be a real debacle,” according to Campo, who has asked citizens to take advantage of “the slowdown that the coronavirus is causing in our lives” to reflect on what kind of city they want, with or without shops. stores, since more than 1.3 million jobs are at stake.
“The online commerce of non-essential products is prohibited or not, the consumer must be responsible and, first, see that right now the priority is health; second, see how to get through the situation as best as possible and, third, once to return to normality, to have massive support for neighborhood stores. “
Among the measures requested from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Tourism to help overcome this crisis for small businesses, the CEC has proposed the introduction of subsidized purchase “checks” and redeemable in small businesses to promote the recovery of demand and alleviate possible changes in consumption habits due to the greater flexibility given to online commerce.
One of the ideas he proposes to implement this system is that checks can be purchased at ATMs, for example, for 40 euros, and then be able to exchange them for purchases worth 50 euros in local stores. That “subsidy” of 10 euros, would be borne by the Administration.
In countries with confinement measures similar to those applied in Spain, such as France or Italy, online sales have not been limited either, although operators such as Amazon have ensured that priority is given to orders for essential goods in the face of the avalanche of purchases received.
Ana Tuñas Matilla