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Which shops will be allowed to open and when?

UK News | Published:

Many non-essential retailers are expected to resume business next month.

A cyclist rides past closed shops in London

The Prime Minister has outlined plans for parts of the high street in England to reopen next month with strict measures in place.

– Which businesses will be able to open from June 1?

On Monday, Boris Johnson said that car showrooms and outdoor markets will be able to open from June 1 if it is safe for them to do so.

Similar to garden centres, these retailers have been chosen because there is a lower risk of transmission of Covid-19 outdoors and an ability for people to practise social distancing.

– Which shops will be allowed to open from June 15?

All other non-essential retail in England is expected to be allowed to resume from mid-June.

This includes shops selling clothes, shoes, books and electronics as well as specialist outlets such as auction houses, photography studios and tailors.

Other businesses allowed to reopen include charity shops and gift shops at museums or heritage sites.

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Betting shops and arcades, retail art galleries, mobile phone stores and craft fairs will also be able to trade again from next month.

However, all of these openings are dependent on the Government’s five tests being met and only if the retailers are deemed Covid-19 secure.

– What will retailers have to do to get ready?

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Shops will have to conduct a risk assessment to identify any activities which may help transmit the virus and limit the spread.

Businesses will carry out the risk assessments themselves which will be overseen by local authority staff and the Health and Safety Executive.

As well as informing all employees about the assessment’s findings, companies with more than 50 employees will be expected to publish the results on their website.

Shops will need to develop hygiene procedures, increasing the frequency of hand-washing and surface cleaning.

Businesses will also have to allow staff to work from home as much as possible.

Social distancing will need to be maintained as much as possible, including having more entry points to a store if possible.

Where social distancing cannot be maintained, all steps will need to be taken to manage transmission risk.

The Government has said businesses may face fines and prison sentences of up to two years if they fail to protect customers and staff.

– What will the public have to do?

Shoppers will have to “exercise restraint” by not trying on clothing and testing goods, Michael Gove has said.

The Cabinet Office minister said shopping habits will have to change, telling BBC Breakfast on Tuesday: “When it comes to touching and testing goods, when it comes to trying on clothing, when it comes to trying make-up and so on, that all of us exercise restraint in not doing that and recognising that as these stores reopen, it is a new normal, but it will allow us to ensure there are a wider range of goods and will also ensure the economy can return to a new normal, that is absolutely vital for people’s jobs.”

Coronavirus – Wed Apr 22, 2020
Customers should not test products such as cosmetics under the new guidance (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The Government has also said that fitting rooms should be closed when possible due to the challenges in operating them safely.

When they need to be open, contact between customers and staff should be limited and they should be cleaned frequently, typically after each use.

Clothes that have been tried on should also be managed carefully.

Store layouts may need to change to limit the amount customers handle merchandise, which may include different methods of displaying products or regularly replacing frequently touched stock.

– What about Scotland?

On May 21, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced Scotland’s four-phase strategy for easing lockdown.

Phase one, which is set to begin on May 28, will involve a gradual reopening of drive-through food outlets as well as garden centres.

Phase two will start once the R rate is “consistently” below one, and six criteria set out by the World Health Organisation for easing restrictions are met.

During this phase, pubs and restaurants will be able to open outdoor spaces with social distancing measures in place.

Coronavirus – Wed Apr 29, 2020
Shoppers will need to change the way they shop, Michael Gove said (Yui Mok/PA)

Outdoor markets, small retail units, sports courts and playgrounds will also reopen, though no date has been given for the start of this phase.

Once phase three begins, pubs, restaurants and large retailers will be able to reopen with physical distancing and hygiene measures in place.

– What is happening in Wales?

In an extension of lockdown measures announced for Wales on May 8, garden centres were allowed to reopen provided they maintain distancing measures.

Many recycling centres will begin to reopen this week as part of a slight reduction in the restrictions.

The lockdown measures will be reviewed by the end of the week.

– And Northern Ireland?

On May 12, the Northern Ireland Executive outlined a five-step recovery plan for easing the lockdown, taking place over six different sectors of society.

In retail, the first step allows large outdoor-based retailers such as garden centres to open.

Subsequent steps will then allow non-food based retailers to open with limited numbers, before hairdressers and tattoo parlours open later.

The final step will allow restaurants, cafes and pubs to reopen on a limited basis to begin with.

As of May 18, Northern Ireland was on the first step for retail and no dates have been provided for subsequent steps.

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