Essential food stores have remained open throughout lockdown, DIY stores reopened mid- May, and outdoor markets and car showrooms were allowed to reopen on 1st June.
Now the business secretary, Alok Sharma, has confirmed that non-essential shops in England can reopen from Monday 15th June, saying the move will “allow high streets up and down the country to spring back to life”.
In Northern Ireland, all shops were allowed to open from Friday 12th June but no dates have been given for the reopening of non-essential shops in Scotland and Wales, but have plans for the staged lifting of lockdown.
Many retailers in England plan to gradually reopen their doors from the 15th June date in compliance with with government safety guidelines, and carry out risk assessment. There will be restrictions on the number of shoppers who can enter the stores and services that require close contact between staff and customers are likely to be suspended still.
Hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons remain closed until at least July, but many are taking online bookings ahead of reopening – because, say the Government, the risk of transmission is higher the longer the person to person contact.
Which shops are reopening?
Below is a list of major stores opening for business. All stores will have social distancing measures in place, hygiene measures such as vigorous and routine cleaning, and queueing systems. All clothing shops' fitting rooms will be closed. Shops must also display a notice informing customers and staff they have followed COVID-secure guidance.
While its food halls have remained open throughout lockdown, M&S is opening ‘majority’ of its clothing space on Monday 15 June. In addition to the expected measures, M&S cafes will be closed and there will be no bra fittings, suit fittings or children's shoes fittings. Find out if your nearest store is open here.
Two John Lewis stores are opening on Monday 15 June and a further 11 stores will open on Thursday 18 June. As well as maintaining social distancing and hygiene measures, close contact beauty services will not be available. Find out if your nearest store is open here.
50 Debenhams stores will open in England on Monday 15 June, with the rest to follow later in the week. Expect social distancing and increased cleaning in line with government guidance. Find out if your nearest store is open here.
All Fenwicks stores are reopening on Monday 15 June, but Bond Street will only have its ground floor open for browsing. In addition to expected measures, all restaurants, cafes and beauty services will be closed. Find out if your nearest store is open here.
The first of its Sports Direct, House of Fraser, Flannels, Jack Wills and GAME stores in England will re-open on Monday 15 June 2020, taking a phased approached to re-opening through the week. Expect social distancing measures and increased cleaning. Find out if your nearest House of Fraser store is open here.
Next has already opened some of its stores. By Monday 15 June, Next will have around 130 stores open and trading. It is following government guidelines by following social distancing, increasing hygiene measures and closing fitting rooms. Find out if your nearest store is open here.
204 WH Smith shops with Post Offices and 140 shops in hospitals have been operating through lockdown with measures in place and expects all stores to be open by end of June. Find out if your nearest store is open here.
Currys is reopening 131 of its stores from Monday 15 June. Initially, these stores will open as ‘Tech Help Hubs’ to support customers with existing tech needs, such as problem-solving and recycling. From Thursday 18 June, 131 stores will be open for usual services including browsing, with protective measures in place. Find out if your nearest store is open here.
From 1 June, 19 IKEA stores have been open. IKEA is following government guidelines on social distancing and hygiene measures and all restaurants and play areas remain closed. Find out if your nearest store is open here.
Halfords has been open for some services throughout lockdown. From Monday 15 June, it will open some stores for browsing. Expect social distancing and increased hygiene practices. Find out if your nearest store is open here.
Greggs will be opening around 800 shops from Thursday 18 June. The retailer plans to open all shops for 1 July. It will have the expected protection in place in addition to offering a limited menu. Find out if your nearest store is open here.
Boots - beauty counters
Boots has remained open throughout lockdown to provide essential products, like medicines. Beauty counters will begin to reopen from Monday 15 June. All makeup advice will be contact free and testers will be removed. Find out if your nearest store is open here.
Many Clarks stores are reopening Monday 15 June, with social distancing and hygiene measures in place. Kids fittings will be available, but must to be booked in advance using this online booking form. Staff will have minimal contact and wear PPE. Find out if your nearest store is open here.
All Topshop stores are reopening Monday 15 June.In addition to expected measures, including closure of fitting rooms, its personal shopping experience will not be available. Find out if your nearest store is open here.
Argos stores located within Sainsbury's have been open throughout the lockdown for collection only. From Monday 15 June, around 140 Argos shops will be open for collections and returns. Expect social distancing and increased hygiene measures. Find out if your nearest store is open here.
What will shops reopening be like for consumers?
New measures were announced by the government for staff and shop owners to help minimise the transmission of the virus and make shops ‘Covid-secure’. These may include:
- Fitting services, such as for bra or tailoring, are likely to be closed for now, depending on the space available.
- In shoe retailers, shop staff will give shoes to the customer, who will try them on, then they will be wiped down or set aside for a period of time.
- The use of escalators and lifts will be restricted. Lifts will be restricted to one person or family per time.
- There will be Perspex protective screens at checkouts.
- Some stores will operate reduced opening hours, some will operate an appointment system.
- The use of floor markings to keep customers two 2m apart.
- There will be extra signage reminding all of basic safety measures: personal hygiene, regular washing of hands and using antibacterial gel.
- Contactless payments will be encouraged. Some stores will increase their contactless limit to £45.
Other steps that could be taken include virtual queuing, returns drop boxes, and enabling collection of online orders from car parks. A number of retailers will only operate on a click-and-collect basis to begin with.
Do I have to wear a face covering to go shopping?
World Health Organization (WHO) advice now says that non-medical face coverings should be worn in public where social distancing is not possible - including on public transport.
Can I take my kids shopping?
Most retailers are limiting the number of people allowed in store but parents can bring children into stores where necessary. Andrew Opie, Director of Food & Sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retailers currently are not restricting parents shopping with young children. However, Government and retailers recommend people to shop alone wherever possible.”
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