During Sunday’s daily briefing, Boris Johnson announced that retail stores will be able to reopen from 15 June 2020. This is of course under the provision that they can meet COVID-19 guidelines by ensuring that employees and shoppers can socially distance.

The Prime Minister has confirmed that:

  • Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June. As with garden centres, the risk of transmission of Coronavirus is lower in these outdoor spaces. Car showrooms often have significant outdoor space and it’s generally easier to apply social distancing.
  • All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books and electronics will be able to open from 15 June, as soon as they have put social distancing measures in place.
  • Tailors, auction houses, photography studios and indoor markets will be expected to reopen from 15 June if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines.

Before reopening, retailers will have to complete a risk assessment. This will be done in consultation with trade union representatives or workers who will have to be confident that the risks have been effectively managed. It’s a requirement that retailers take the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.

The government is taking a number of steps to help businesses re-open while still being able to protect their staff and customers including:

  • Publishing updated COVID-secure guidelines for people who work in or run shops, branches and stores. This guidance has been produced in conjunction with businesses, union leaders, Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.
  • Working with local authorities to continue to carry out spot checks and follow up on concerns by members of the public.
  • The updated guidance considers the best practice demonstrated by the many retailers who have been allowed to remain open and have applied social distancing measures in store. 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 on the shop floor, placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas, and frequent cleaning objects and surfaces that are touched regularly including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals.

Tough measures have been put in place to ensure retailers are adhering to regulations. If they’re not, they face receiving fines and in extreme cases, jail sentences of up to two years.

Hairdressers, nail bars, beauty salons and the hospitality sector remain closed because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher.

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