Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres were last night (May 25) given three weeks to prepare, as the government gave the date of June 15 for when non-essential retail could re-open its doors.
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that non-essential stores – including those which sell licensed products such as clothing, toys and books – will be able to open from next month if the government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines.
Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.
The government is publishing updated COVID-secure guidelines for people who work in or run shops, branches and stores, as well as working with local authorities to continue to carry out spot checks and follow up on concerns by members of the public.
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 out on the shop floor; placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas; and frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly.
“Bira is pleased with the guidance being given to retail outlets,” commented Andrew Goodacre, ceo of the British Independent Retailers Association. “It provides a broad framework for the basic measures and still allows the retailer to be flexible according to the size, layout and location of the shop.”
All non-essential retailers in England have been closed since March 23.