Boris Johnson says other non-essential retail premises can reopen in three weeks
Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be allowed to reopen in England from Monday next week, while other non-essential retail premises will be allowed to open in three weeks’ time, Boris Johnson has announced.
The prime minister set out a timeline for the reopening of outdoor retail settings first from 1 June, saying the risk of transmission of the virus was lower in open spaces. High street shops, department stores and shopping centres will all be allowed to open from 15 June as long as they can show they are “Covid secure”, he added.
The prime minister said new guidance was being published for the sector “detailing the measures they should take to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards”.
“Shops now have the time to implement this guidance before they reopen,” he said. “This will ensure there can be no doubt about what steps they should take.”
Johnson said the authorities would “have the powers we need to enforce compliance where that is required”.
“I want people to be confident that they can shop safely provided they follow the social distancing rules for all premises.”
The non-essential retail outlets include shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, which will all have three weeks to prepare.
The rules will not allow for the opening of hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, or cafes, pubs and other hospitality venues, because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher where long periods of person-to-person contact is required.
The government said businesses would only be able to open from these dates once they had completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and were confident they were managing the risks. To ensure safety, local authorities will continue to carry out spot checks and follow up on concerns by members of the public.
Ministers will ask shops to take measures such as storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back on the shop floor, placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas, and frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals.
Powers are in place to enforce action if the public and employees are not protected, including fines and jail sentences of up to two years.
Alok Sharma, the business secretary, 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. It explains how retail workers who are not currently working can go back to work as safely as possible and feel confident in their workplace. And it reassures customers that shops are properly assessing the risks and putting in place measures to protect them.”
News from: The Guardian