More shops in England will be allowed to reopen today as the latest easing in Covid-19 lockdown measures takes effect.
This means that as well as food stores, non-essential businesses selling clothing, shoes and electrical items can now open their doors to customers.
Zoos, safari parks and drive through cinemas have also been given the green light to operate, and places of worship will be opened for private prayer only.
However, restaurants, bars, hairdressers, and nail salons won’t be opening until July 4, at the earliest.
Which shops can open from June 15?
All non-essential retail shops will be able to reopen from today, provided they follow Government guidelines to make them “Covid-secure”.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said the move will “allow high streets up and down the country to spring back to life”.
These include clothes and shoe shops, book shops, electronics retailers, tailors, auction houses, photography studios, indoor markets, and shops selling toys.
What will retailers have to do to get ready?
Shops are expected to have carried out a risk assessment, overseen by local authority staff and the Health and Safety Executive.
As well as informing all employees about the assessment’s findings, companies with more than 50 employees will be expected to publish the results on their website.
Shops will need to develop hygiene procedures, increasing the frequency of hand-washing and surface cleaning.
Retailers will be expected to take steps including limiting how many customers there are inside their building at any one time and frequently cleaning and checking objects and surfaces.
They are also advised to place protective coverings on large items like sofas as they might be touched by passing shoppers.
Employers are also expected to place a notice on display so customers and staff can see that they are complying with the Government guidance.
The Government has said businesses may face fines and prison sentences of up to two years if they fail to protect customers and staff.
What will the public have to do?
Shoppers will have to “exercise restraint” by not trying on clothing and testing goods, Cabinet Officer minister Michael Gove has said.
The Government has said that fitting rooms should be closed when possible due to the challenges in operating them safely.
When they need to be open, contact between customers and staff should be limited and they should be cleaned frequently, typically after each use.
Clothes that have been tried on should also be managed carefully.
Store layouts may need to change to limit the amount customers handle merchandise, which may include different methods of displaying products or regularly replacing frequently touched stock.
Are there some businesses which still cannot open on June 15?
Yes. Pubs, bars, restaurants and hairdressers will not be able to reopen until July 4 “at the earliest”, the Government has said.
Officials said these businesses remain closed because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher due to there generally being long periods of person-to-person contact.
Are there any concerns among these businesses about their reopening?
Yes. Organisations representing the hospitality industry have called for the rule requiring people to stay two metres apart to be reduced to one metre.
They fear many venues such as pubs and restaurants will not be able to make enough money if the current rule, which restricts customer numbers more severely, stays in place.
The Government has commissioned a review into the two metre rule. It is understood the review will aim to report back by 4 July.
What about zoos?
Zoos and safari parks are getting ready to welcome visitors on Monday.
Leading zoos including London, Chester and Whipsnade, as well as smaller attractions, had warned the Government they faced permanent closure if they were not allowed to reopen soon to visitors who provide their income.
It would not just affect the zoos themselves, but the conservation work they do around the world, the attractions said.
Zoo bosses had criticised moves to allow car showrooms, furniture stores and National Trust gardens to reopen with social distancing measures, while keeping zoos and safari parks, which are largely outdoor attractions, closed.
Despite being able to reopen their doors, zoos will not be able to provide the same experience for visitors as they had before lockdown for some time yet.
Indoor exhibitions, such as reptile houses, will still be closed, cafes will be takeaway only, and social distancing and hygiene measures will reduce the number of visitors allowed.
Will places of worship reopen?
Churches and other places of worship will reopen for private prayer only from June 15. People will be able to “reflect and pray” while social distancing.
However, worship groups, weddings, and other services are still forbidden. July 4 is the earliest date communal prayer might be allowed, the government has said.
What about schools?
Children in nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 in England began returning to primary school at the beginning of June after the Government eased lockdown measures.
But some schools said they did not have enough space on-site to admit all pupils in the eligible year groups, while adhering to Government guidance to limit class sizes to 15 and encourage fewer interactions.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson was forced to admit defeat over plans for all primary pupils in England to attend classes before the summer break.
He said the Government would like to see schools who “have the capacity” bring back more pupils where possible before the summer holiday but conceded the Government was “working to bring all children back to school in September”.
However, secondary schools and colleges in England are being asked to begin giving face-to-face support from June 15 for pupils from Years 10 and 12., as well as 16 to 19-year-old students who will take key exams next year. Only a quarter of pupils will be able to attend at any one time, to limit the risk of the virus spreading.
Mr Williamson has said GCSE and A-Level exams are expected to go ahead as normal next year.