Boris Johnson has announced outdoor markets and car showrooms can reopen next week – with other shops to follow a fortnight later.
Speaking at today’s Downing Street press briefing, the prime minister says the first wave of re-openings can happen from June 1, with more “non-essential retailers” from June 15.
The PM said: “Today I want to give the retail sector notice of our intention to reopen shops so they too can get ready.”
He says the government intends for outdoor markets and car show rooms to open from 1 June.
He then added: “From 15 June, we intend to allow all other non-essential retail… to reopen, and says this will only be permitted for premises that are “Covid-secure”.
In other words, shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics will be allowed to reopen on June 15, but only if tests are met.
Employers will have to face “spot checks” to make sure they are implementing social distancing.
It comes as the UK’s confirmed death toll rose to 36,914 after a further 121 fatalities were announced today.
The news also comes after a torrid 48 hours for the prime minister and his most senior aide, Dominic Cummings, after it was revealed that Cummins recently travelled to Country Durham twice while unwell with coronavirus.
Mr Cummings faced a huge backlash today during a Q&A session with the press at Downing Street, and it’s likely that Johnson will face more heat during the question section of tonight’s briefing.
The senior aide denied breaking any rules, saying: “I did what I thought was the right thing to do.”
He continued: “I don’t think there’s one rule for other people, as I said I knew what the guidance was, it talks about exceptional circumstances with small children, and I believe I behaved reasonably and legally.”
More to follow.