The UK government has announced June 15 for the reopening of all non-essential retail stores as part of plans to further ease the lockdown measures.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday night disclosed this at the daily Downing Street press conference.
He said some easing of retail will begin along with primary school openings planned from June 1, with outdoor markets and car showrooms among those allowed to become operational from next week.
“Then, from June 15, we intend to allow all other non-essential retail, ranging from department stores to small, independent shops, to reopen. This change will be contingent upon progress against the five tests and will only be permitted for those retail premises which are COVID-secure,” Johnson said.
Non-essential retail will include shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets. Shops like supermarkets and pharmacies, deemed as essential, have been operating throughout the pandemic.
He went on to say that new guidance for the retail sector to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards will be issued for shops to put plans in place in time for a mid-June opening.
“I want people to be confident they can shop safely, provided they follow the social distancing rules for all premises,” Johnson said.
“These are careful but deliberate steps on the road to rebuilding our country,” the UK prime minister said, adding that around 25,000 contact tracers to keep track of the infection rate will be in place by June 1 to help open up the economy.
He also noted that businesses will only be able to open once they have completed a risk assessment in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risk.
According to the Johns Hopkins University data, the number of COVID-19 infections in the country has crossed 260,000 and more 35, 000 people have died.