Government pushes back opening shops until June 15

In his latest announcement, Boris Johnson pushed back the opening of shops to 15 June from the beginning of June, as previously stated

Non-essential high street shops, department stores and shopping centres won’t be opening until June 15, according to the Prime Minister.

In his announcement last night (May 25), Boris Johnson also said that outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to open no earlier than June 1 as long as they have social distancing measures in place.

>See also: What is the average cost of fitting out my shop for coronavirus?

Non-essential outlets include:

  • Clothes and shoe shops
  • Toy shops
  • Furniture shops
  • Auction houses
  • Tailors
  • Photography studios

The Prime Minister said he was putting the retail sector “on notice”, with new safety guidance in the process of being published. This gives stores three weeks to introduce measures which will protect customers who may be feeling uneasy about shopping post-lockdown.

As with stores that have been open during lockdown, businesses will be encouraged to put up signs reinforcing social distancing rules and local authorities will be doing spot checks.

Customers will be encouraged to use hand sanitiser and to avoid touching items while they’re browsing. Fitting rooms will be shut and stores will be required to hold returned stock for 72 hours before putting it back on sale. There will also be protective coverings on items that will be regularly touched like beds and sofas.

Bosses could be fined or jailed for up to two years for persistent breaches of social distancing rules.

Details of these measures are expected to be confirmed on Thursday, May 28.

Responding to the announcement, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “We welcome the announcement of the government’s road map for reopening a broader range of shops next month, which provides much needed clarity on the route ahead.

“Now that we know which shops can open and when, retailers can begin communicating their plans with their workforces and customers. The industry stands ready to play its part in getting the economy moving again.”

The cabinet also discussed rules that would relax social distancing rules by the end of next month so that people can meet up for outdoor gatherings like barbeques, picnics and garden parties.

Pubs, clubs and restaurants will be closed until at least July.

Read more

How to reopen your small business post lockdown – what we know so far

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Anna Jordan

Anna is Senior Reporter, covering topics affecting SMEs such as grant funding, managing employees and the day-to-day running of a business.

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