Comment: The idiocy of Level 4 and 'winter footwear'
Published: 13th May 2020
As of Monday, there has been no further clarification of what constitutes 'winter footwear' in terms of lockdown regulations.
Last week saw a flurry of communication between the various associations and organisations in the leather value chain seeking to define categories of footwear which will be acceptable to the National Coronavirus Command Council, which has said that retailers may sell, manufacturers may make and (presumably) importers may supply winter footwear.
What I saw were various convoluted definitions, such as 'winter' sports shoes (despite the fact that it appears there will be no sport allowed for a long time, and certainly not for the winter), to try to make the definition as broad as possible, and to include some leather goods. In the end, the suggested list submitted to government was apparently quite straightforward, although I haven't seen it.
I don't blame the associations for trying to make the list as comprehensive as possible, for tanneries, footwear and leather goods manufacturers, and, whether they like it or not, for all those importers who are sitting on stock and who would also like ongoing business in future.
But frankly, the sum total of all this effort will be to create lists which the police - who are NOT experts in anything to do with leather, footwear or leather goods - will have to enforce. It will create confusion. It will criminalise people who are not criminals in any real sense of the word. It will waste police time. Above all, it will create yet more confusion, and all for no reason at all.
Please tell me what earthly difference it makes to the fight against the virus WHAT leather, shoes or leather goods anyone makes or sells? It is up to the DTIC - not to Director: Leather & Footwear, Dr Jaywant Irkhede, who has been trying his best to keep the industry alive, but to his Minister, who is a member of the NCCC, and has a background in the CTFL sector, and who should know better - to tell the dictatorial NCCC just that.
Sadly, if that body's response to other bans is anything to go by, it appears to be reacting with petulant stubbornness, not good sense.