When will non-essential shops open?

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Non-essential shops are businesses which are deemed not to provide goods or services which are essential such as those selling food, medicines, garden centres and builders merchants. Since the beginning of January, people in England have been told to stay at home, only leaving for essential reasons. But now Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined his roadmap for the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Mr Johnson confirmed his long-awaited lockdown easing strategy to MPs on Monday, February 22.

He confirmed the easing process will involve four separate stages of reopening from March until June, each new stage requires four tests to be undertaken and show progress.

The roadmap was approved and signed off by key Cabinet ministers on Sunday and was put to the Commons on Monday afternoon.

Lockdown easing will begin with the reopening of schools and the return of school sports and activities from March 8.

The PM today announced non-essential shops will reopen from April 12.

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.

This will only be possible if the vaccine rollout continues to prove successful and Covid-related death figures in the UK continue to decline.

To reopen safely, these non-essential shops will likely be required to introduce stricter safety measures including face masks and social distancing.

From April 12 the following businesses will reopen:

  • All non-essential retail
  • Hairdressers, nail salons and other personal care businesses
  • Gyms and swimming pools
  • Table service in beer gardens and outdoor seating areas in restaurants
  • Campsites and self-catering holiday lets
  • Weddings and wakes permitted for up to 15 guests.

The first step of Mr Johnson’s plan will see all schools reopen from March 8.

Recreation in outdoor public spaces, such as a park, will be allowed between two people, meaning they would be allowed to sit down for a coffee, drink or picnic

Outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed will then reopen from March 29.

From this time, gatherings in private gardens will also be permitted.

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts will reopen and organised adult and children’s sport, such as grassroots football, will also return.

The next stage will take place from April 12 when all non-essential retail including personal care businesses like hairdressers will reopen.

Other easing in April will include:

  • Outdoor settings like alcohol takeaways, beer gardens, zoos and theme parks.
  • Indoor leisure like swimming pools and gyms.
  • Self-contained holiday accommodation, such as self-catering and campsites.

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