// PM Boris Johnson set to outline plans for end of 4-week lockdown in England
// Non-essential retail to reopen in stricter tier system from mid next week
// News will be welcome for industry forced into closure during peak trading
Boris Johnson is this afternoon expected to announce that non-essential shops in all areas of England will be allowed to open at the end of the second national lockdown next week.
With December 2 fast approaching, the Prime Minister is set to outline the details of a return to the “three tier system”, according to BBC News.
Johnson is expected to make a statement to MPs today at 3.30pm.
- Retailers brace for surge in demand as English lockdown nears end
- Northern Ireland to shut non-essential retail amid second lockdown
- Non-essential retail to enter lockdown in 11 local councils across Scotland
While aspects of the tier system are thought to have tougher restrictions, all non-essential shops are expected to be able to re-open, alongside gyms.
Restaurants and pubs will have a more relaxed closing time, with customers able to make final orders up until 10pm, and then given a further hour to leave the premises.
Johnson is expected to say that rapid testing will be rolled out as part of the stricter system, using the military as support.
The announcements can’t come soon enough for non-essential retailers, who were forced to close their stores on November 5, about two weeks before the beginning of the busiest weeks of trading for the industry.
Speaking last week on the potential re-opening for retailers, BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said retailers were now “holding their breath on the government’s plans for rents, rates and reopening.”
“With shops closed for November, many will struggle to pay rents from 1st January, when the moratorium ends, and it is essential that Government extends this to allow for successful negotiations between retailers and landlords.
“The Treasury must also address the incoming business rates burden to avoid burying retailers under an £8 billion bill from 2021.
“However, the most important issue is to ensure all shops can reopen from the start of December as the all-important Christmas shopping period gets into full swing.”
“Retailers have spent hundreds of millions on safety measures to protect colleagues and customers, and they stand prepared for reopening.”
Lockdown restrictions have varied across the UK’s four countries.
Four days after England started its second lockdown on November 5, Wales lifted its 17-day firebreak shutdown where non-essential retailers have since reopened.
Meanwhile, 11 council areas across Scotland – including Glasgow – started a three-week lockdown last Friday, and from November 27, all of Northern Ireland will enter a two-week lockdown.