Reopening retail: Government sets out rules for reopening shops in June

Boris Johnson has announced that ‘non-essential’ shops will be able to open in June 2020, as long as the UK coronavirus statistics remain acceptable and retailers are ‘COVID-safe’.

In this post, we look at the dates for reopening and the guidance business owners need to follow.

Learning from lockdown

During lockdown, supermarkets and other food shops have remained open, following guidelines about how to operate safely. The Government is applying what they learned from food stores to allow other shops to reopen.

On 25 May, Prime Minister Johnson announced that if progress against ‘the five tests’ for easing lockdown restriction is acceptable and retailers are ‘COVID-safe’, these are the key dates for reopening that stores and shoppers need to know:

  • From 1 June
    Outdoor markets and car showrooms
  • From 15 June
    All other non-essential retail stores, from department stores to small, independent shops.

There’s no reopening date for hairdressers, nail bars and beauty, salons, or hospitality businesses.

Following guidelines

Johnson claimed that the guidance the Government has published means, “there can be no doubt about what steps [retailers] should take” and by making the announcement now, shop owners have time to meet the required standards.

The published guidance to help retailers be ‘COVID-safe’ is in addition to your usual health and safety obligations and other regulations. The first thing businesses must do is a risk assessment, which the guidance states must be done “in consultation with unions or workers”.

Read the guidelines in full: | Working safely during coronavirus – Shops and branches
The guidance includes a link to the HSE’s advice on carrying out a risk assessment.

If your business is Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, you’ll need to follow guidance set by your regional government:
Northern Ireland Executive
Scottish Government
Welsh Government.

The guidance for businesses in England includes a list of measures retails can consider to stay COVID-safe, in particular to increase awareness, to maintain hygiene and to minimise contact between people while shopping. These measures include:

  • putting a poster in your window to show you’re aware of the guidance and committed to keeping your staff and customers safe
    The poster is available on the website: |  Poster – Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020
  • providing more bicycle parking to help customers avoid using public transport
  • frequently cleaning items and surfaces that are touched regularly, for example baskets, self-checkouts, coffee machines
  • adjusting your store to avoid congestion, such as a one-way flow
  • storing items customers return for 72 hours before you put them back out for sale

Local authorities will carry out spot-checks on businesses and follow up on concerns reported by the public. And for stores not complying, there are fines and jail sentences of up to two years.

Read more | Working safely during coronavirus – Shops and branches | Prime Minister sets out timeline for retail to reopen in June | 25 May 2020

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Photo by Xianjuan HU on Unsplash

Suzanne Worthington

Suzanne Worthington

Senior Writer

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