When can non-essential shops open in England?


BRITS who are desperate to hit the shops will be able to get spending from next month under plans to ease lockdown.

As part of Boris Johnson’s four-step roadmap, the high street can welcome back customers from April 12 at the earliest in England.

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Brits are expected to be told when they can visit non-essential shops again


Brits are expected to be told when they can visit non-essential shops againCredit: PA:Press Association

The roadmap out of lockdown will be done in stages, and is dependent on coronavirus cases remaining under control and the vaccine rollout staying on target.

See our box below for the four key tests the government must pass before each key date.

The first step of the roadmap came into action on March 8 when schools reopened for all pupils.

The rules are then expected to be further relaxed on March 29, when either six people or two households will be able to meet outside.

What four tests does the government need to pass before easing restrictions?

1. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.

2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.

3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

4. Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.

If all goes to plan, non-essential retail will reopen from mid-April at the earliest, along with pubs and restaurants which can offer outdoor table service and takeaways pints.

They are expected to open fully for drinking and eating indoors later on May 17 with table service only.

The rest of restrictions will be eased by June 21 at the earliest — with the hope of normality by July, when every adult should have been offered a first dose of the coronavirus jab.

But what does the roadmap look like for non-essential shops in England?


When will non-essential shops reopen?

The PM said non-essential shops can reopen from April 12 at the earliest.

At the moment, only shops that are deemed essential by the government are allowed to open. 

This includes stores that sell important goods such as food, medicines and DIY equipment for home repairs – see the full list below.

Shops that aren’t essential, and are currently closed for walk-in customers, are ones that sell items like clothing, toys and homeware products.

However, these stores have been allowed to provide home delivery and click and collect orders during lockdown.

You can see a full list of what is closed below.

Mr Johnson placed England into its third national lockdown on January 5 as he urged households to stay at home to control the spread of coronavirus.

During the first lockdown, non-essential shops were closed from March 16 until June 15.

For the second lockdown, non-essential retail closed for four weeks, from November 5 until December 2.

Which shops and businesses are open during lockdown?

Here is a full list of “essential” businesses that have been allowed by the government to stay open during lockdown:

  • Supermarkets
  • Pharmacies
  • Garden centres
  • Building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • Market stalls selling essential retail
  • Businesses providing repair services but only if they primarily offer repair services
  • Petrol stations
  • Automatic (but not manual) car washes
  • Vehicle repair and MOT services
  • Bicycle shops
  • Taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • Banks and building societies
  • Post offices
  • Short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • Funeral directors
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • Medical and dental services
  • Vets and pet shops
  • Animal rescue centres, boarding facilities, and animal groomers
  • Agricultural supplies shops
  • Mobility and disability support shops
  • Storage and distribution facilities
  • Car parks
  • Public toilets
  • Motorway service areas
  • Outdoor playgrounds
  • Outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
  • Places of worship
  • Crematoriums and burial grounds

Which non-essential shops are closed during lockdown?

The following types of retailers have been classed as “non-essential” and are therefore shut during lockdown.

They can still offer click and collect and home delivery services.

The Gov.uk website says these businesses can reopen no earlier than April 12:

  • Clothing shops
  • Homeware shops
  • Carpet shops
  • Charity shops
  • Antique shops
  • Showrooms (such as for vehicles as well as kitchens and bathrooms)
  • Electronic goods and mobile phone shops
  • Retail travel agents
  • Photography stores
  • Remaining auction houses and markets
  • Tobacco and vape stores
  • Betting shops
  • Car washes (except for automatic car washes that are already open)
  • Tailors

When will non-essential shops open in Wales and Scotland?

Scotland and Wales are following different plans to ease restrictions – but again, they’ll only remain on track if coronavirus cases continue to fall.

In Scotland, some non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen from April 5 at the earliest.

This will include places such as garden centres and homeware stores, plus non-essential click-and-collect services can start once again.

All shops will then be able to reopen from April 26, as part of the roadmap plans.

In Wales, supermarkets and other stores that are already open have been able to sell non-essential goods as of March 22.

Garden centres were also able to reopen from the date, while other stores have to wait until April 12 at the earliest.

In England, Boris Johnson has also announced that hairdressers will open from April 12 along with gyms.

Working from home measures will remain in place until at least June.

A full list of businesses that must stay closed until April 12 was revealed in February – with cinemas and bingo halls to stay closed until May 17.

UK lockdown roadmap – Boris to unveil ‘cautious’ plan to freedom but warns he’ll slam on brakes if key tests aren’t met

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