After months of closure, non-essential shops are preparing to welcome customers once more from this Monday (April 12).
The likes of clothing and homeware stores, betting shops, electronics stores and more will begin to reopen next week after the Prime Minister confirmed the roadmap out of lockdown was to continue as planned.
Personal care businesses like hair and beauty salons, museums, libraries, theme parks and zoos can also reopen from April 12.
Indoor leisure facilities like gyms will reopen for use individually or within household groups.
However, the pandemic is very much still here and safety must remain the main priority. Therefore, Government guidelines remain in place and stores may also have their own policies to keep staff and shoppers safe.
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Below are the Government rules for visiting non-essential stores from April 12.
Rules for non-essential shops reopening from April 12
When stores reopen, staff and members of the public will need to follow the Government’s ‘Covid-secure’ measures, which state exactly what precautions people must take to help keep Covid infections under control.
Who can you visit stores with?
Social contact rules in England will not change at this point and outdoor gatherings will still be limited to six people or two households, as in Step One. No indoor mixing will be allowed unless people are exempt.
If you venture to the shops, you should do so alone or with household groups.
Do you still need to wear a face mask?
Yes, you’ll still be required to wear a face covering when visiting a store, unless you’re medically exempt.
Is social distancing still in place?
Yes, all newly open settings must also abide by social distancing rules.
Advice on the government website states the Government will continue to enforce restrictions and “require businesses to demonstrate robust strategies for managing the risk of transmission and to ensure social distancing rules are followed”.
Will fitting rooms be open?
Yes, fitting rooms will be permitted to reopen on April 12.
The latest Government guidance says: “The enclosed nature of fitting rooms may result in increased risk of transmission of Covid-19. They should therefore be carefully managed to reduce that risk.
“Retail businesses should update their risk assessments for each premises where fitting rooms are being used.”
What do the stores say?
According to Primark’s website, safety remains the retailer’s “top priority”.
The retailer plans to follow all Government advice and will have measures including a limited number of customers allowed in stores at one time, clear signage and increasing cleaning in place.
Shoppers will be required to wear a face mask unless exempt and to use hand sanitiser upon entry.
Primark’s fitting rooms will remain closed, but shoppers will have 28 days to return items.
The retailer announced this week that its stores will open for two extra hours a day on average, typically an hour earlier and later, for the first week initially.
Times will vary by store and you can check when your store is open here .
A note on IKEA’s website says: “Our number one priority is everyone’s safety , so we have extensive measures in place.”
These include controlled numbers of customers at any one time, Social Distance Wardens, hand sanitiser and frequent deep cleaning, Perspex screens and contactless payment.
All IKEA’s play areas will remain closed for the time being.
Shoppers should come alone or in a small household group and be wearing face masks.
New Look lists four simple measures to keep staff and shoppers safe.
These are hand sanitising stations, social distancing, mandatory face coverings, and contactless payments.
A note on the Next website says: “To protect our customers and colleagues, and to ensure we follow government guidelines, we’ve introduced social distancing and hygiene measures in our stores.
“To help you understand the changes we have made, please click here to view our store reopening information page.”
The retailer lists several safety measures on its website, these include asking customers to wear face masks, safety screens at checkouts, hand sanitising stations in stores and encouraging contactless payments.