Posted: 26.05.20 at 10:28 by Nick Hudson
NON-ESSENTIAL shops in Atherstone and across North Warwickshire have been given the green light to cast off the chains of Covid-19 and get ready to retail in 20 days time.
The Prime Minister has signalled June 15 as the another important step along the way back of deliverance from the lockdown measures forced on all walks of British life by the pandemic.
Boris Johnson said outdoor markets, car showrooms and garden fetes would be able to open from next Monday – if they are safe to do so.
And the same principle will apply to all non-essential retailers – such as those selling clothes and books – which will be allowed to open next month if they can meet the coronavirus guidelines to protect shoppers and workers.
Mr Johnson told the daily Downing Street press conference that the risk of transmission is lower in outdoor areas, where social distancing can be easier to enforce.
Earlier this month, garden centres were permitted to reopen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as part of the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Atherstone’s biggest – Dobbies in Mancetter – showed, with effective measures, it could safely trade and serve large numbers of shoppers at the same time.
The Prime Minister said: "We will set out our formal assessment of the five tests that we set for adjusting the lockdown later this week as part of the three-weekly review we are legally required to undertake by Thursday.
"But because of the progress we are making I can, with confidence, put the British people on notice of the changes we intend to introduce as we move to step two."
Mr Johnson urged people to go to the shops to help the economy bounce back.
He said: "I'm certainly not going to discourage them from spending at all.
"I think that it's early days but we are very much hoping there will be a bounce back over the next few months."
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: "We welcome the announcement of the Government's road map for reopening a broader range of shops next month, which provides much needed clarity on the route ahead.
"Safety is the fundamental concern for all retailers and they have been working hard to implement the necessary measures to operate safely over the past weeks.
"Now that we know which shops can open and when, retailers can begin communicating their plans with their workforces and customers. The industry stands ready to play its part in getting the economy moving again."
On Friday, Atherstone’s biggest retailer announced it was bringing back pre-coronavirus opening hours in its stores after “listening” to customers’ feedback, signalling a “return to normal”.
Shorter opening times at local Co-op stores were introduced in March to give staff more time to replenish shelves with food and essentials for the local community.
Fans of Snob’s Shoe Repairs in Long Street will be pleased to know it intends to open its doors next Monday – June 1.
Discount retailer Poundland has said another 26 of its stores which have been closed throughout the coronavirus outbreak are throwing open their doors again.
The discount retailer said trade will resume in the stores again this week after 51 shops reopened last week.
Poundland said that while it had kept most of its stores open for essential shopping, around 100 were temporarily shut in March – when lockdown was first imposed.
The news provides a massive boost but there are large sectors of the economy still faced with economic hardship.
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