NON-ESSENTIAL shops will open their doors again on April 12 as lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Boris Johnson today confirmed the plan, which is a first major step out of lockdown, during a Downing Street press conference.
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The PM said the vaccine rollout is to thank for getting Covid under control and getting Britain back on the road to recovery from the pandemic.
Mr Johnson also insisted he's confident further steps of his roadmap out of lockdown will be able to go ahead as planned.
Speaking at a Downing St press conference, he said: "The net result of your efforts and the vaccine rollout is I can today confirm that from Monday, 12 April we will move to step two of our roadmap reopening shops, gyms, zoos, holiday camp sites, hairdressers and beer gardens, and outdoor hospitality of all kinds."
The first step of the roadmap came into action on March 8 when schools reopened for all pupils.
What four tests does the government need to pass before easing restrictions?
1. The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.
2. Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.
3. Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.
4. Our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern.
Then on March 29, the “Rule of Six” also returned – allowing six people from up to six different households to mix outdoors.
Non-essential retail have now been given the green light reopen from April 12, along with pubs and restaurants.
The latter can offer outdoor table service and takeaways pints.
They are expected to open fully for drinking and eating indoors later on May 17 with table service only.
The rest of the restrictions will be eased by June 21 at the earliest.
There's hope of normality by July, when every adult should have been offered a first dose of the coronavirus jab.
Boris Johnson today announced a twice-weekly free rapid Covid test will be available by this Friday in order to help ease restrictions.
He also vowed at the press conference that the plan will help the country unlock and give people the confidence to get out and about again.
The reopening of non-essential retail comes a week after the Easter weekend – a crucial trading period for shops.
Retail industry groups have previously expressed disappointment that this critical footfall in stores would be missed.
Meanwhile, the British Retail Consortium has welcomed the reopening plan but warned that some shops will never reopen.
BRC boss Helen Dickinson said: "The cost of lost sales to non-food stores during lockdown is now over £22billion and counting.
"Every day that a shop remains closed increases the chances that it will never open again – costing jobs and damaging local communities.”
The PM's roadmap also states that pubs will open from April 12 – there will be table service outdoors and you'll be able to get takeaway pints.
You won't have to buy food like you did under previous rules when pubs reopened and there will also be no curfews.
Only essential shops have been allowed to open since January in the latest lockdown, including supermarkets and pharmacies.
Other retailers considered non-essential have been closed since the start of the year – but they have been allowed to offer click and collect services.
What are non-essential shops?
SHOPS described as non-essential by the government under lockdown rules include:
- Clothing shops
- Homeware shops
- Toy shops
- Vehicle showrooms (other than for rental)
- Betting shops
- Tobacco and vape shops
- Electronic goods shops
- Mobile phone shops
- Auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment)
- Market stalls selling non-essential goods
Pubs and restaurants are set to open fully for drinking and eating indoors later on May 17.
Gyms will fully reopen from this date too while big events, including those at sports stadiums, will be allowed to go ahead from the same date.
But the roadmap will depend on coronavirus infection rates and deaths.
These are falling while the number of people being vaccinated is rising each day.
We round up the full list of businesses opening in the next lockdown roadmap stage.
Gyms reopening explained: here's what fitness fans should be aware of.
Meanwhile, working from home measures will remain in place until at least June.
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