BORIS JOHNSON has given the green light for the nation’s shops to open their doors again. The Prime Minister said the country is ready to move into the next phase of the Government’s road map out of lockdown. Mr Johnson urged people to go to the shops to help boost the economy.
He said: “I’m certainly not going to discourage them from spending at all. I think that it’s early days but we are very much hoping there will be a bounce back over the next few months.” Under the new guidance thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres across England will be allowed to welcome customers next month.
It is hoped the measures will help restart the UK’s economy and ensure vital public services like the NHS continue to be funded.
Mr Johnson described the “steps on the road to rebuilding our country”.
Under the measures all nonessential retailers – including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics – will be able to reopen from June 15.
The Government said auction houses, photography studios, indoor markets and tailors will also be allowed to open on that day.
Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be open from Monday.
Announcing the measures at the daily No 10 briefing last night, Mr Johnson said: “These are careful but deliberate steps on the road to rebuilding our country and we can only take these steps thanks to what we have so far achieved together.
“We are making progress. Thanks to this country’s collective efforts the key indicators are heading in the right direction.
“Because of the progress we are making I can, with confidence, put the British people on notice of the changes we intend to introduce as we move into step two.
“I want people to be confident that they can shop safely provided they follow social distancing rules. The food retail sector has already responded fantastically well, enabling supermarkets to be kept open in a safe way and we will learn lessons from that experience as we allow other retail to open.
“We will only be successful if we all remember the basics – to wash your hands, keep social distance and isolate if you have symptoms and get a test.”
Ahead of opening up shop, retailers will have to meet the Government’s five tests to ensure they are Covid-19 secure.
Last night retail organisations welcomed the measures.
Josh Hardie, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry, said: “As our high streets slowly reawaken, this new guidance is important for businesses on the ground. Our shops are doing all they can to keep the public and their staff safe and we’ve seen many retailers leading from the front with innovative solutions to do just that. As more and more businesses turn their attention to reopening, this guidance will help them plan to do so safely.”
Helen Dickinson, the chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “We welcome the announcement of the Government’s roadmap for reopening a broader range of shops next month, which provides much needed clarity on the route ahead. Safety is the fundamental concern for all retailers and they have been working hard to implement the necessary measures to operate safely. Now that we know which shops can open and when, retailers can begin communicating their plans with their customers. The industry stands ready to play its part in getting the economy moving again.”
Andrew Goodacre, the chief executive of the British Independent Retailers Association, said of the new guidance: “It provides a broad framework for the basic measures and still allows the retailer to be flexible according to the size, layout and location of the shop. This guidance will ensure that indeq pendent retailers provide safe environments for employees and customers.”
Under the new measures, businesses will only be able to open again once they have completed risk assessments, in consultation with trade union representatives and ensure they are operating within current legislation.
The Government said that yesterday’s announcement would give the majority of retailers three weeks to prepare.
Pubs, bars and restaurants will remain closed along with many other businesses including hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “The high street sits at the heart of every community in the country.
“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 guidance we have set out today provides a vital framework to get shops open in a way that is safe for everyone.
Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from June 1, as soon as they are able to meet the Covid-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers.
All other non-essential retailers, including shops selling clothes and electronics, plus tailors and indoor markets, are expected to be able to reopen from June 15.
This is providing the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the secure guidelines.