The Speaker
Wednesday, 17 July 2024 – 21:35

Non-essential retail outlets start to reopen in England

Non-essential retail outlets are starting to reopen in England today after months of having their doors closed due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

Non-essential retail outlets and shops have been closed in the UK since 23 March as part of wider lockdown measures that have seen large sections of the economy come to a halt. Some stores have continued to provide delivery services during the pandemic but have had their doors closed on high streets across the country until today.

Different rules apply in the devolved nations of the United Kingdom, where shops and retail remain closed. The Welsh Government has indicated that it wishes to reopen shops soon, potentially following a review on June 18 if it is safe to do so.

Some chains of stores are reopening all of their stores in England today, while others are taking a more phased approach to reopening, such has been the case for drive-thru and takeaway fast food outlets in recent weeks.

Shoppers that do head to highstreets are likely to face a different shopping experience than they may be used to. Some cities have set up signage and other systems to encourage people to social distance in the streets. In shops, social distancing measures should also be in place and some stores are placing extra restrictions, such as only accepting card payments.

Also from today, schools can gradually start to welcome back pupils in Years 10 and 12. Zoos and safari parks will also be able to open outdoor attractions from today.

On Sunday, government figures said that only 36 deaths with a positive COVID-19 test were recorded in the most recent round of data. Data is often thought to lag at weekends, however, this is the lowest daily death toll in the UK since 21 March.

Restaurants and hospitality outlets are to remain closed in the UK until at least 4 July.

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