high street reopen 15th

The 15th of June is set to see thousands of shops be allowed to officially reopen to the public across England as long as they are COVID-19 secure, confirmed prime minister Boris Johnson on the 25th May.

The announcement follows the PMs ‘Roadmap to Recovery’ revealed earlier in May, outlining how the country will ease lockdown measures and whilst attempting to control the spread of COVID-19.

According to Boris Johnson, outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from the 1st June, citing that the risk of transmission of the virus is lower in outdoor and more open space where it is generally easier to apply social distancing.

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All other non-essential retail will be expected to be able to reopen from the 15th June, dependent on if the Government’s five tests are met.

Importantly, retailers will only be permitted to open their doors and welcome customers once they are “COVID-19 secure and can show customers will be kept safe” in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.

Before retailers can reopen, they must complete a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and have measures in place to manage the risks of coronavirus transmission.

Alongside the timeframe, the government also updated its guidance to reopening shops to include advice that retailers should also wait 72 hours before putting returned items back out on the shop floor, as well as place protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas.

How to carry out the risk assessment, as well as the necessary steps and measures that retailers should introduce to become COVID-19 secure, can be found in THIIS’ ‘deep dive for reopening retail premises safely’.

For the mobility retail sector, interpretation regarding whether mobility shops constitute ‘essential retail’ and can remain open has been varied; some shops have taken the decision to temporarily close due to concerns of local community backlash, whilst others have remained open throughout the pandemic, such as Ableworld.

This latest announcement will now give clarity to all retailers in the sector and provides three weeks to prepare their retail premises, as well as three weeks to reach out, engage and attract customers.

The government says it will also work with local authorities to carry out spot checks on retail premises, as well as follow up on concerns by members of the public.

“While the vast majority of businesses will want to do everything possible to protect their staff and customers, I should add that we will, of course, have the powers we need to enforce compliance where that is required,” stated Boris Johnson during his address to the public.

These powers include fines and also jail sentences of up to two years.

Alok Sharma, Business Secretary, said: “The high street sits at the heart of every community in the country. Enabling these businesses to open will be a critical step on the road to rebuilding our economy, and will support millions of jobs across the UK.”

Recently, Lifestyle and Mobility showcased the measures it has taken to reopen its retail stores, including new floor signage, perplex shields at its counters and a one-way system.

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