Atherstone Greggs ‘in the mix for mid-June bake-off’ as Government unveils full list of retail types able to reopen

  Posted: 26.05.20 at 17:02 by Nick Hudson

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ONE of the biggest names on the Atherstone high street could be serving customers by the middle of next month as the Government has unveiled its full list of retailers that can reopen under new guidelines.

Pasty and sausage roll outlet Greggs is hoping to get as many 800 of its 2,050 branches operational across the UK by mid-June, it announced today.

The bakery chain has been involved in “robust” shop trials across a dozen stores in the North East, its home region, for around a month now.

Last month company boss Roger Whiteside said he hoped the trial opening would inform the business about what changes needed to be made to operate safely and meet social distancing guidelines.

No trying it on: New purchase rules if stores to reopen

Mr Whiteside said the chain – which has received an emergency loan from the Government – intended to open all of its stores by July 1, when the current furlough support package was originally due to end.

The news comes as Government has unveiled its ‘Big List’ of retailers able to open their doors under new guidelines.

And betting outlets, charity shops and fashion stores stand among 17 different genre of business being allowed to welcome back customers from June 15.

But trying on clothing for size and testing goods ahead of purchase for size will remain a definite ‘no-no’, according to Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove.

Ministers are keen to stress the date could change if reductions in coronavirus infections fail to meet expectations and the experience will be very different.

Gift shops in museums, retail spaces in theatres, libraries, heritage sites and tourism sites will also be allowed to open – paving the way for visitors to return to tourist hotspots.

Mr Gove said shoppers would need to "exercise restraint".

He said on Tuesday: "It's also the case that we need to ensure that some of the shopping habits people may have grown used to in the pre-Covid days are habits that we exercise a degree of restraint on.

"So when it comes to touching and testing goods, when it comes to trying on clothing, when it comes to trying make-up and so on, that all of us exercise restraint in not doing that and recognising that as these stores reopen, it is a new normal, but it will allow us to ensure there are a wider range of goods and will also ensure the economy can return to a new normal, that is absolutely vital for people's jobs."

The full list that can be open from June 15, although some are already allowed to be open, includes:
- Food retailers;
- Chemists;
- Hardware/homeware stores;
- Fashion shops;
- Charity shops;
- Betting shops and arcades;
- Tailors, dress fitters and fashion designers;
- Car dealerships;
- Auction houses;
- Antique stores;
- Retail art galleries;
- Photography studios;
- Gift shops and retail spaces in theatres, museums, libraries, heritage sites and tourism sites;
- Mobile phone stores;
- Indoor and outdoor markets;
- Craft fairs; and
- Similar types of retail.

The guidance also applies to those currently open, including banks, post offices and other money businesses, it added.

On March 23, the Government said that only retailers deemed "essential" – which included supermarkets and grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, hardware stores, petrol stations, vets and
pet stores, food markets and bike shops – could remain open.

Restaurants, pubs and cafes were all forced to shut their doors to customers as part of the lockdow but remained able to serve takeaway food to customers in line with social distancing measures and deliver takeaways.

And on May 10 in his address to the nation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he hoped to begin a phased reopening of shops by June 1 at the earliest. Some of the hospitality industry could reopen from July 1, he added.

More recently, garden centres and estate agents were both given the go-ahead to reopen on May 13.

Before reopening, bosses must consider who is essential to be on the premises, plan for the minimum number of people needed on site and keep across the mental and physical wellbeing of staff.

Clinically vulnerable workers can return to work, with the Government saying they "should be offered the option of the safest available on-site roles, enabling them to stay two metres away from others", if working from home is not an option.

However, the Government has so far declined to bring forward any legislation to legally protect workers beyond the current health and safety laws.

Unions have been calling for changes to protect staff, but the PM has said businesses should use "common sense".

The announcement on the new rules was overshadowed by Mr Gove being forced to defend Dominic Cummings over his decision to travel nearly 300 miles from his primary residence to seek childcare – a decision criticised by former Atherstone MP Mike O’Brien who has called for the Prime Minister’s adviser to go.

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