The government has started the slow process of reopening selected businesses as we continue to face restrictions in almost all aspects of daily life. The reopening of retail outlets reflects the acceptance that life for the foreseeable future will operate under what is being referred to as the ‘new normal’ complete with social distancing and other measures.

The timetable for the reopening of the retail economy in England started on 1 June 2020, with outdoor markets and car showrooms being allowed to open on condition that they meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. There have also been changes to the definition of ‘essential’ retailers to include home-ware stores.

Since 15 June 2020, all other non-essential retailers including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, all furniture stores, books, and electronics, tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets are expected to reopen. This is conditional on retailers meeting the necessary requirements including the five tests laid out by the Government for easing the lock-down.

Some businesses such as hairdressers, nail bars, beauty salons, pubs, clubs and restaurants will remain closed until at least July because the risk of transmission in these environments is still thought to be too high.

There are regional variations to these rules in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.