Coronavirus: When will shops open and what will the rules be?

Shop in Wood Green, London, preparing to reopen

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Some shops may be keen to shift stock when they reopen

Non-essential shops can reopen in England from Monday, as the government continues to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions imposed in March.

So, what can customers expect and what is the timetable for reopening other types of outlets?

What sort of shops will open?

From 15 June, all shops in England selling what are called non-essential goods will be able to open.

This includes retailers offering clothes, toys, books and electronics, as well as record shops, tailors, auction houses, photography studios and indoor markets.

Supermarkets, corner shops, banks, pharmacies and petrol stations have been able to remain open during the coronavirus lockdown.

Garden centres reopened in England on 13 May, followed by open air markets and car showrooms.

Which High Street stores are reopening?

Among department stores, John Lewis will start by opening 13 branches in stages, while Next will only reopen 25 of its 500 stores on 15 June.

Debenhams will reopen 50 stores in England, having already resumed trading at three shops in Northern Ireland.

However, Primark will keep its 190 shops closed until it is “convinced that it is safe and right” to open them.

The government says newly reopened stores must meet Covid-19 guidelines to show shoppers and workers can be kept safe.

Some other retailers which closed in March have been gradually reopening under lockdown, because they sell products classed as essential, such as DIY, furniture and bicycles.

Furniture giant Ikea opened 19 of its stores across England and Northern Ireland recently, prompting long queues.


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Media captionShopping will look different when stores reopen in England – here are some tips on staying safe

What about the rest of the UK?

In Northern Ireland, all shops are allowed to open from Friday.

Smaller shops and outdoor markets will be allowed to reopen in Scotland in phase two of its lockdown easing plan.

In Wales, non-essential shops and services could open in the amber phase of its exit strategy.

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How will shopping be different?

Perspex screens at the tills and floor markings to keep shoppers 2m (6ft) apart have already become a regular fixture in supermarkets. And those measures are also likely to feature in other shops.

But some more unfamiliar measures are also expected to be put in place to try to reduce the spread of the virus.

Shoe shop Kurt Geiger will put footwear aside for 24 hours after a customer has tried them on, and Waterstones has said it will quarantine books for 72 hours after people have touched them.

Stores have been asked to encourage people to shop alone, if they can, and talk to local authorities about providing extra parking and bike racks where possible, to stop people using public transport.

The number of customers in stores will be limited and shopping centres have been told they are responsible for controlling queues in common areas outside stores.

Do shops expect many customers?

The British Retail Consortium estimates that the lockdown is costing non-essential retailers £1.8bn a week in lost sales.

It may take time for things to return to normal.

The British Independent Retailers Association’s chief executive, Andrew Goodacre, believes fewer people than before will go shopping and they may “soon become weary of queuing”.

He told the BBC: “Social distancing also takes away the fun and positive experience of shopping.”

When will hairdressers, cafes and pubs open?

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Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, hotels, cinemas and places of worship will currently be allowed to open from 4 July at the earliest, if they can meet social distancing measures.

However, indoor public spaces such as beauty salons, where social distancing may be difficult, could reopen ”significantly later”, depending on when the rate of infection falls.

Hospitality firms and some other small businesses may have to wait longer to reopen.

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