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All shops could reopen in March in second stage of lockdown easing after schools

ALL shops in England could reopen at the end of March in plans to unlock that nation from the current coronavirus lockdown.

The Prime Minister will outline his road map for lifting restrictions on February 22 but early reports suggest retailers will be able to welcome back customers from next month.

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PA:Press Association
All shops in England could reopen at the end of March under plans to lift lockdown[/caption]

All non-essential stores, such as homeware, clothes and toys shops, are currently closed under the shut down restrictions.

Only essential retailers are allowed to stay open, including supermarkets, newsagents and bike stores.

Boris Johnson wants to start by opening all schools in a “big bang” as he eases England out of lockdown, reports the i.

If infections are at an “acceptable level”, the PM will give the green light for non-essential shops to open again towards the end of next month.

Businesses that must close in England's third lockdown

THE below list of businesses must shut during the lockdown:

  • Non-essential retailers, such as clothing and homeware stores
  • Vehicle showrooms, other than for rental
  • Betting shops
  • Tailors
  • Tobacco and vape shops
  • Electronic goods and mobile phone shops
  • Auction houses, except for auctions of livestock and agricultural equipment
  • Market stalls selling non-essential goods
  • Bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants except for takeaway and delivery
  • Hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances
  • Leisure centres and gyms
  • Swimming pools, sports courts, fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses
  • Theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries
  • Casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys
  • Skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas
  • Circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks
  • Zoos, safari parks, and aquariums
  • Indoor attractions at venues such as botanical or other gardens, biomes or greenhouses
  • Hairdressers, barbers and nail salons
  • Tattoo and piercing shops
  • Beauty and tanning salons
  • Nightclubs and adult entertainment venues
  • Community centres and halls apart from a few exceptions

There will then be “another short wait” until hospitality businesses can open again, a senior Government official told the newspaper.

There’s hope that pubs will be allowed to serve food and drinks outdoors from April in time for the Easter weekend.

The report comes a day after Government scientific adviser Professor Neil Ferguson said restrictions could be eased in three week stages.

However, restrictions are unlikely to be eased before March 8 and businesses will only be allowed to reopen if the R rate remains low.

The PM is also expected to scrap the confusing tier system as many experts believe it did little to prevent the spread of the virus.

“The Government would like to do away with the tier system entirely,” the official said.

“The current plan is very much the three-stage approach, beginning with the reopening of schools, watching the R number, and if that remains low then non-essential shops will open.

“Then another short wait until hospitality businesses open.”

Retailers that have been forced to close have been pushed into operating online in order to stay afloat.

They are allowed to stay open for click and collect services though, although John Lewis stopped offering the service to encourage Brits to stay at home.

Reports of lockdown lifting is the latest in a string of good news this week.

Yesterday, official figures suggested the R rate – the number of people one infected person can be expected to pass the virus on to – is now between 0.7 and 0.9.

It’s the first time since last July that it has been below one nationwide.

The Government also looks set to hit his first jabs deadline on Monday for offering the first dose of the vaccine to 15million vulnerable people.

So far, 14million Brits having now received at least one dose.


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