Which shops will re-open that have been closed?
All non-essential stores are currently closed, but the Government roadmap states that they can reopen from April 12. This includes department stores, book shops, technology stores and more high street stalwarts, which all have had to shut.
The full list of non-essential shops includes: clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock and agricultural equipment), and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These businesses will still be able to operate a click and collect service.
What will change when the shops reopen?
According to the government roadmap, social distancing could be scrapped by the summer, although this greatly depends on whether the data shows there’s enough reductions in coronavirus cases to avoid a spike in hospitalisations.
Face masks could still be required for shops until much further into the summer – or even beyond.
June 21 marks the fourth step in the roadmap and the earliest point at which the country could return fully to normal living.
The roadmap document said: “Social distancing is difficult and damaging for businesses and, as a result, it is important to return to as near to normal as quickly as possible.
“Ahead of Step Four, as more is understood about the impact of vaccines on transmission and a far greater proportion of the population has been vaccinated, the Government will complete a review of social distancing measures and other long-term measures that have been put in place to limit transmission.”
We can expect a much altered high street when non-essential stores reopen, as many familiar brands have gone into administration including Debenhams, Cath Kidston and the UK arm of Victoria’s Secret. Others are cutting their retail footprints, including Monsoon and John Lewis.
Some independent store owners are predicting a retail revival however, and have spent the latest lockdown investing in revamped premises and larger stores. Roo Cross is one of them: “We’re building a plant shop onsite so we’ll have women’s and men’s fashion, lifestyle, plants and coffee all on one site,” she says.