Covid-19: Non-essential retail and outdoor dining reopen in England

Johnson urges public to ‘behave responsibly’ during ‘major step’ towards normality

People queued up outside retailers across England to release their pent-up shopping fever as shops, pubs, gyms and hairdressers reopened after three months of lockdown. Video: Reuters

 

Boris Johnson has urged the people of England to “behave responsibly” as pub gardens reopen and restaurants resume outdoor dining on Monday in a major easing of lockdown restrictions in the country, with some changes across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Shops deemed non-essential will also reopen in England on Monday, as will hairdressers, indoor gyms, swimming pools, nail salons and zoos in another stride back towards normality.

However, social mixing indoors will remain heavily restricted, with about two in five adults yet to receive their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and the vast majority yet to get both.

The prime minister urged caution during the “major step forward”, as a scientist advising the government warned the rules must be followed to minimise a possible rebound in case numbers.

“I’m sure it will be a huge relief for those business owners who have been closed for so long, and for everyone else it’s a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed,” Mr Johnson said.

“I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and remember ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ to suppress Covid as we push on with our vaccination programme.”

The remainder of school pupils will return to face-to-face teaching in Wales and Northern Ireland, in moves being echoed in Scotland as pupils return from their Easter breaks.

The “stay at home” order in Northern Ireland will also end, replaced with a “stay local” and “work from home” message, as the number of people permitted to meet outdoors rises from six to 10.

Outdoor sports training will also be allowed for recognised clubs in the North, in groups of up to 15, provided all indoor facilities except toilets remain closed.

Here is a round-up of what will be allowed:

Shops, hairdressers and zoos

All non-essential shops in England and Wales have reopened, but shoppers are urged to shop alone or within households.

Retailers will stay open until 10pm to ensure compliance with coronavirus guidelines. Secretary of state for communities Robert Jenrick said the extended opening hours on Monday to Saturday would help shoppers return to high streets safely.

Shoppers in England can try on clothes as several high-street chains have reopened changing rooms for the first time in a year.

Hairdressers and nail salons are also allowed to reopen but have been told to avoid lengthy treatments to reduce contact time. Outdoor hospitality venues such as zoos and theme parks have also reopened.

Scotland remains in lockdown, but the aim is to open all retail premises, including libraries, museums and tourist accommodation on April 26th.

In Northern Ireland, 10 people from two households can meet outdoors from Monday. Outdoor retail such as car dealerships and garden centres will reopen and click-and-collect services will resume.

Pubs

Pubs and restaurants in England are allowed to open and serve customers with outdoor service only.

Everyone who visits will have to check in on the National Health Service’s test-and-trace app and groups are limited to six people or two households.

Drinkers have been urged to take cash to the pub with them, as poor broadband and mobile signal means card machines may not work in pub gardens.

There are no rules in place requiring pubs to serve a meal alongside alcohol, and there will be no curfew.

Travel

Self-catering holidays in England are allowed for one household and campsites will be open. Hotels and B&Bs will remain closed.

Travel into and out of Wales from the rest of the UK can resume.

In Scotland, the “stay local” guidance still applies. The government hopes to lift all restrictions on journeys in mainland Scotland on April 26th.

Gyms

Gyms in England have reopened but people must exercise alone or with their household and group exercise classes will not be allowed.

Saunas and steam rooms in gyms will remain closed, but indoor swimming pools and other indoor exercise venues will reopen.

Weddings and funerals

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies may take place in England, as well as receptions. The limit on the maximum number of attendees will rise from six to 15.

Funerals will continue with the number of guests limited to 30.

People planning to get married or enter a civil partnership in Northern Ireland will be permitted to view potential venues for ceremonies at a limit of up to four people.

The number of people allowed to attend such ceremonies will also increase, at a level informed by a risk assessment for the venue. – PA, Guardian