Pictures show streets being scrubbed, hand sanitiser stations being installed and social distancing signs being put in place as shops prepare to reopen in England next week.
Workers have been seen preparing in Regent Street and Oxford Street in London today for an influx of visitors as non-essential shops can reopen on June 15.
It is to make sure the government’s current guidelines are being met as the country adjusts to a ‘new normal’ life.
The changes come after Boris Johnson announced non-essential retail stores in England will be allowed to reopen from June 15, providing they adhere to the government’s new Covid-19 secure guidelines.
The announcement, made by the PM on Monday, May 25, marks another milestone in the UK’s move towards ‘phase 2’ of lockdown, which will see further restrictions eased for the country.
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The government rules for shops wishing to reopen requires businesses to make stores safe and social distancing possible.
This includes considering one way systems and staggered opening times, enforcing a two-metre gap between customers at all times, and reducing the maximum occupancy of stores.
Boris Johnson said the announcement about the reopening of shops was made three weeks ahead of the reopening date to allow businesses time to prepare their stores to meet the new guidelines, as can be seen in Regent Street this week.
‘Shops now have the time to implement this guidance before they reopen,’ Mr Johnson said.
‘This will ensure there can be no doubt about what steps they should take.’
The ‘shops and branches’ referred to by the government under this latest change in the lockdown rules are as follows:
- food retailers
- hardware/homeware stores
- fashion shops
- charity shops
- betting shops and arcades
- tailors, dress fitters and fashion designers
- car dealerships
- auction houses
- antique stores
- art galleries
- photography studios
- gift shops and retail spaces in theatres, museums, libraries, heritage sites and tourism sites
- mobile phone stores
- indoor and outdoor markets
- craft fairs
- similar types of retail.
Outdoor markets and car showrooms are already allowed to open as of June 1.
As with other eased lockdown restrictions, the guidance from the Prime Minister that shops and branches can reopen from June 15 only applies to England at this stage and further guidance will be issued for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland by local government.
Pressure is also mounting on the government to slash social distancing to one metre in order to help the economy.
Reports suggest the Prime Minister is in favour of cutting the current two-metre rule in half to help businesses reopen.
That is the distance recommended by the World Health Organisation, and has been adopted by a number of other countries.
The public has so far been repeatedly told to stay two metres apart, in order to stop the spread of Covid-19.
The move would be dependant on scientists signing off on the plan, according to The Sunday Times, amid concerns there could be another wave of infections.
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