All non-essential retailers will be able to reopen from June 15, as part of Government plans to further ease the lockdown.
But Boris Johnson insisted the move was “contingent on progress in the fight against coronavirus”, and retailers will have to adhere to new guidelines to protect shoppers and workers.
“I want people to be confident that they can shop safely, provided they follow the social distancing rules for all premises,” he said.
Immediate reaction was mixed. The British Retail Consortium welcomed the announcement, saying it provided “much-needed clarity on the route ahead”.
A spokesman for the CBI said the new guidance would help retailers to open “safely and securely” but The British Association of Independent Retailers said many small shops had been preparing to open from next week, so it was “disappointing”.
It’s early days, but we are very much hoping there will be a bounce-back over the course of the next few months
Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from June 1.
Speaking at the daily Downing Street Covid briefing, the prime minister described the moves as “careful and deliberate steps on the road to rebuilding our country” and would be dependent on meeting the government’s five tests for gaining control over the disease.
Asked if people who were financially able to should go out and spend for the good of the economy, he said: “The short answer is yes. I think in so far as people can get out and enjoy themselves in the open air from 1 June and make use of markets and car showrooms, I’m certainly not going to discourage them from spending at all.
“I think it’s early days, but we are very much hoping there will be a bounceback over the course of the next few months.”
The list of dos and don’ts is quite extensive but as a guide:
You CAN go to shops that sell:
Clothes, shoes, toys, furniture books and electronics, visit auction houses, photography studios and indoor markets.
You CAN’T go to:
Restaurants, bars, cafes and canteens, hairdressers, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, hotels, holiday rentals, campsites, libraries, community centres, cinemas, gyms or places of worship.