England’s outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to re-open from June 1, as soon as they are able to meet the coronavirus guidelines to protect shoppers and workers, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday.
All other non-essential retail outlets including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be expected to be able to reopen from June 15 if the government can control the spread of the virus, Johnson told a daily news conference at his Downing Street office.
He urged the public to go out and spend money in stores when the curbs are lifted, saying the government hoped to get the economy to bounce back in the months ahead.
“We know that the transmission of the virus is lower outdoors and that it is easier to follow Covid Secure guidelines in open spaces,” Johnson said. “That means we can also allow outdoor markets to reopen in a safe way that does not risk causing a second wave of the virus.”
Johnson’s announcement confirmed an earlier Bloomberg report that the government was planning to lift retail restrictions next month.
The government is moving to ease the lockdown in order to help gradually get the stalled economy back in motion, after millions of workers lost their jobs or were furloughed during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.
Measures that shops should consider include: placing a poster in their windows to demonstrate awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures; storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out 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.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are working to different timetable to ease out of lockdown determined by their local administrations.