Non-essential retail to reopen in June as govt unveils lockdown exit plan

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Non-essential retail to reopen in June as govt unveils lockdown exit plan
The plan comes after PM Boris Johnson's televised address on Sunday night. (Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)
// Government’s lockdown exit strategy laid out in a new 50-page document
// Non-essential shops, such as fashion or homeware retailers, could re-open from the start of June
// Other high street businesses, such as pubs, hairdressers and cinemas will have to wait until July

More shuttered stores on the high street are set to reopen from June under a lockdown exit strategy laid out in a new 50-page document from the UK Government.

Shops currently considered “non-essential”, such as fashion or homeware retailers, could be able to open from the start of June, the government said.

However, other high street businesses, such as pubs, hairdressers and cinemas will have to wait until July before they can reopen.


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The detailed plans come after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the next phase of the lockdown in a televised address on Sunday night, in which he also suggested what could happen on a longer-term basis.

“All other sectors that are currently closed, including hospitality and personal care, are not able to re-open at this point because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher,” the government said in the documents revealed today.

It added: “Some venues which are, by design, crowded and where it may prove difficult to enact distancing may still not be able to re-open safely at this point, or may be able to open safely only in part.

“Nevertheless the government will wish to open as many businesses and public places as the data and information at the time allows.”

Currently, only essential stores, such as supermarkets, off licences, pharmacies, hardware and cycle stores, have been allowed to remain open during the coronavirus lockdown.

Retailers – both essential and non-essential – are also allowed to trade online, provided they follow strict physical distancing and hygiene measures at warehouses and when delivering to customers.

From June 1 though, non-essential retailers could be allowed to reopen their bricks-and-mortar stores to the public, but only if they meet new Covid-19 safety and security guidelines.

The plans also state that stores are set to be reopened in phases, with politicians set to issue further guidance on which businesses will be included in each phase and time-frame.

Other sectors will remain closed during June, although it added that cultural and sporting events will be able to take place behind closed doors for broadcast, while avoiding “large-scale social contact”.

The government said it has the ambition to open some of the remaining businesses from July 4 at the earliest.

It said it hopes hairdressers, pubs, hotels, restaurants and cinemas will be among the next set of firms able to reopen as part of this expansion.

These firms will also need to meet Covid-19 safety guidelines, although it added that some venues, which are crowded, may still not be allowed to reopen, or only partly reopen, at this stage.

The UK Government said it would also phase and trial the reopening of high-risk businesses at this stage.

MPs added they would closely monitor how high-risk sectors have been reopened elsewhere in the world and establish taskforces for these industries.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), called for more details about the timings of re-openings.

She said: “Retailers continue to await further detail from Government on the timeline for reopening shops. Safety must be the primary concern in deciding what opens when, rather than size or type of shop.

“The BRC have worked with Usdaw to draw up social distancing guidance for shops that are preparing to reopen, learning from the experiences of thousands of supermarkets and other essential retailers who have been doing so successfully since lockdown.”

Click here to read the government’s Covid-19 recovery strategy in full

with PA Wires

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Retail Gazette please report correctly. The information and guidelines The P.M. last night announced only apply to England, as the devolved governments have decided to remain in lockdown for the time being.
    This is vital information to be made clear otherwise confusion reigns
    Thanks

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