Covid-19: Non-essential retail to reopen from 15 June

All non-essential retail stores in England will be allowed to re-open from 15 June, on the proviso they are “Covid secure”, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed.

During the daily briefing on Monday evening, Johnson also said that "open air" outdoor markets and car showrooms can open from 1 June as part of the government’s plans to ease lockdown restrictions in the UK. These retail operations are allowed to open first because the transmission rate is lower outdoors.

The Prime Minister stated: “From 15 June, we intend to allow all other non-essential stores, ranging from department stores to small independent shops to reopen."

He added that shops must ensure they are “Covid secure”, according to fresh guidance being issued: “Today we are publishing new guidance for the retail sector, detailing the measures they should take to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards. Shops now have the time to implement this guidance," he outlined.

Johnson also said that non-essential stores should be learning from the experience of the food retail sector, which has been allowed to stay open during the crisis. Supermarkets such as Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury's and Asda have introduced a range of measures to keep customers and staff safe, such as safety screens at tills, "scan & go" technology and social distance markings.

In answering questions from the UK media, the Prime Minister encouraged citizens to go out and spend money in shops if they are able.

“I’m certainly not going to discourage them from spending at all. It’s early days, but we’re hoping for a bounce back in the next few months."

The announcement follows nine weeks of enforced closure after the UK descended into lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus on 23 March.

Earlier this month, the government suggested UK retail could begin to reopen from 1 June as long as the scientific data confirms coronavirus cases remain low, but this has been pushed back by two weeks.

During a period of phased reopening of retail and other parts of the economy, the PM said social distancing and washing of hands would be vital to continue to control the virus.

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