In a front-line move to target consumer safety, UK ethical beauty and home products retailer Lush is allowing passersby to enter its stores and wash their hands for free. The move is linked to UK government advice covering basic hygiene as a way to help halt the spread of coronavirus.
Window posters advertising the public service inform consumers they can take advantage of its in-store sinks and soap without an obligation to buy anything.
“The simplest thing you can do to not get a virus is to regularly wash your hands,” Lush’s chief executive, Mark Constantine told The Guardian newspaper. “So we’re saying people can come in off the street and wash their hands in our place. We’ve got loads of soap and plenty of hot water.”
The retailer said strict measures to contain the virus had hit sales in Asian markets, such as Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan, the latter being Lush’s second biggest market after the UK.
Lush also said shopper numbers had fallen sharply in its stores in northern Italy, where the country’s outbreak is centred.
It was too early to gauge the overall financial impact on the privately owned group, which has 900 stores in 48 countries, it also said.
Constantine said public alarm surrounding Covid-19 was an opportunity to highlight the role of basic hygiene in minimising the spread of viruses, whether flu or coronavirus.
“If people just get in the habit of washing their hands properly, it will make a dramatic difference to public health,” he added.