All non-essential shops in UK to reopen from 15 June
All non-essential retailers will be able to reopen in England from 15 June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced, as part of plans to further ease the lockdown. However, the move is “contingent on progress in the fight against coronavirus”, and retailers will have to adhere to new guidelines to protect shoppers and workers, the PM added.
Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June.
It comes as the number of coronavirus deaths in the UK rose by 121 to 36,914. Mr Johnson said new guidance had been published 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 before they reopen,” he said.
“This will ensure there can be no doubt about what steps they should take.”
He added: “I want people to be confident that they can shop safely, provided they follow the social distancing rules for all premises.”
Commenting on the development, Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “Enabling these businesses to open will be a critical step on the road to rebuilding our economy, and will support millions of jobs across the UK.”
The British Retail Consortium said it welcomed the announcement, adding it provided “much-needed clarity on the route ahead”. A spokesman for the Confederation of British Industry added that the new guidance would help retailers to open “safely and securely”.
However, not all businesses are pleased with the announcement.
The British Association of Independent Retailers said many small shops had been preparing to open from next week, adding: “It is therefore a little disappointing for the smaller retailers not to be able to open until June 15, especially as they can make it safe to do so.”
And analyst Catherine Shuttleworth, from the Savvy retail marketing agency, told the Today programme: “It is fine saying the stores can open, but are we going to have the appetite to go back?
“Shopping is a social, fun experience a lot of the time and social distancing takes that away. It’s going to be a very different way of shopping from what we’re used to.”