The rules are changing for England-based retail premises this month.
As of today, car showrooms and outdoor markets are permitted to reopen to the public, whilst other non-essential stores will be allowed to welcome back customers from 15 June.
During the UK lockdown, only a select number of “essential” stores – such as supermarkets – have remained open for business; enforcing a variety of regulations to keep visitors safe whilst they shop.
These measures have included floor markings for social distancing, one-way walking systems, and even restricting visitors to one person per household.
Non-essential retail premises will implement similar rules when they return later this month.
Government instructions for customers are “to shop alone where possible”, unless you need specific assistance.
Retailers are also expected to have the necessary protocols in place so that spaces are “COVID-ready”; offering as much protection as possible for customers.
Shops have been told to expect government spot checks to guarantee they are enforcing social distancing.
It is likely, especially during the early phases of reopening, that customers will be asked to enter stores alone (although there may be exceptions for those with children).
One of the first non-essential businesses to confirm its return in June was Primark – who announced earlier today that it was planning to reopen more than 150 stores across England on 15 June.
The retail giant confirmed a range of new safety measures would be integrated in stores, including: “social distancing protocols, hand sanitiser stations, perspex screens at tills and additional cleaning of high frequency touch points”.
John Lewis has also signalled intentions to open as early as 15 June – but emphasised that it would be minimising customer access to areas such as changing rooms, escalators and lifts.
According to The Telegraph, some retailers will begin to reopen solely on a click-and-collect basis.
Local shopping centres – which have been ghost towns for the past two months – are expecting higher volumes of visitors in the coming weeks as outlets resurface.
Currently, only a handful of stores are serving customers in the Trafford Centre – including Five Guys, Holland & Barrett, M&S Foodhall and Vision Express.
The Arndale on Market Street has also been partly shut since the outbreak. Only banks (Natwest, TSB, Metrobank), Aldi, Boots, Superdrug, Holland & Barrett and Wilko are trading, with opticians offering emergency appointments only.
However, many closed stores in both shopping centres are hoping to open up again in a matter of weeks.
Crowd restriction measures are expected to be put in place as tenants begin to extend their opening hours.