Retail outlets selling non-essential goods can re-open from next week, provided they follow Government guidelines to keep staff and customers as safe as possible.
The announcement was made at the Government’s daily briefing where business secretary Alok Sharma confirmed the UK continues to meet the five tests set out in the Prime Minister’s roadmap, meaning it is safe to gradually reopen parts of the economy.
Shops that will be allowed to open up to customers again include department stores, book shops, electronics retailers, tailors, auction houses, photography studios, indoor markets, and shops selling clothes, shoes and toys.
However, all retailers will need to follow Covid-19 secure guidelines set out by the Government in May.
The guidelines include limiting the number of customers allowed inside at one time, placing protective coverings on large items such as sofas which may be touched by passing shoppers, and frequently checking and cleaning objects and surfaces.
Employers should also display a notice in their shop windows or outside their store to show their employees, customers and other visitors that they have followed this guidance.
Business secretary Alok Sharma says: “Shops, department stores and shopping centres that have been closed since March will be able to reopen from Monday 15 June, provided they put in place the necessary steps to keep their workers and customers safe. This is the latest step in the careful restarting of the economy and will enable high streets up and down the country to spring back to life.
“I would like to thank workers at supermarkets, pharmacies, post offices and other essential retailers who have introduced social distancing to keep the public and their staff safe. Now is the time to apply these principles to even more shops to allow workers safely back into stores and welcome back shoppers, as we look to get the economy going again.”
However, hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, and the hospitality sector remain closed, due to the higher risk of transmission in these environments.
Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, says: “As restrictions ease, retailers have much to consider during the pandemic’s recovery-phase. Stores may soon have the greenlight to re-open but it will be a gradual affair with safety front of mind, and some doors may not reopen at all.
“Covid-19 has acted as an accelerant in the shift towards having less of a physical presence, not least due to the obvious need to radically reduce costs for survival. We’re also witnessing historically high levels of sales transacted online – currently over 60% – and while this will ease as more stores open, consumers have formed new habits that will see the online channel continue to be more prominent going forward.”