Shops allowed to stay open for longer as part of business boost to high street
Shops will be given more flexibility with their opening hours when non-essential retail restarts next month, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has said.
When the retail sector is reopened as part of the Prime Minister’s lockdown roadmap, shops will have the flexibility to open until 10pm from Monday to Saturday following the publication of a written ministerial statement on Thursday, March 25.
The changes will give people greater flexibility to avoid peak times and ease transport pressures, according to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Mr Jenrick said: “To support businesses to reopen and recover, I’ve extended measures to allow shops to stay open for longer.
“This is part of a package of support to help reopen our shops and high streets safely – backed by £56million.
“This will provide a much-needed boost for many businesses – protecting jobs, reducing pressure on public transport and supporting people and communities to continue to visit their high streets safely and shop locally.”
The Government is also extending flexible working hours on construction sites, allowing food deliveries to supermarkets over more time periods, and keeping the flexibility for pubs and restaurants to put up marquees to help increase seating capacity in a Covid-secure way.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed the roadmap out of Lockdown 3 – which was announced on Monday, January 4 – last month.
In it, the PM set out a number of steps to ease restrictions gradually, adding that the decisions would be based on “data, not dates".
‘Step two’ of the proposals, which will take place on Monday, April 12 at the earliest, will see non-essential retail and personal care premises reopen for the first time since January.
Hospitality venues will also be allowed to serve people outside from the same date.
As with every step of the roadmap, the Government has stressed that there will be one week’s advance notice of restrictions being eased, and that the decision to lift any restrictions will be based on a list of criteria.
This includes the continued success and effectiveness of the Covid vaccine programme, infection rates not leading to a surge in hospitalisations and the risks not being changed by new variants of the illness.