In case you missed it during all the controversy and general hoo hahh over Dominic Cummings ill advised trip ‘up North’, there is now a whole new list of business that we will be allowed access to during the month of June after the most unprecedented curtailing of our freedom of movement and lifestyle for generations. But if you’re missing the whole shopping experience of browsing, trying on and the coffee shop at the end – I should not get too excited too soon.
As with stores that have been open during lockdown, businesses will be encouraged to put up signs reinforcing social distancing rules and local authorities will be doing spot checks.
Customers will be encouraged to use hand sanitiser and to avoid touching items while they’re browsing. Fitting rooms will be shut and stores will be required to hold returned stock for 72 hours before putting it back on sale. There will also be protective coverings on items that will be regularly touched like beds and sofas.
Bosses could be fined or jailed for up to two years for persistent breaches of social distancing rules.
But anyway – lets focus on what we CAN do.
From June 1st outdoor markets and car show rooms will be the allowed to open as long as they respect social distancing.
Then from June 15th a whole new tranche of places will be allowed to re open including:
– Fashion shops
– Charity shops
– Betting shops and arcades
– Tailors, dress fitters and fashion designers
– Auction houses
– Antique stores
– Retail art galleries
– Photography studios
– Gift shops and retail spaces only in theatres, museums, libraries, heritage sites and tourism sites
– Mobile phone stores
– Indoor and outdoor markets
– Craft fairs
Michael Gove told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday: “It’s also the case that we need to ensure that some of the shopping habits people may have grown used to in the pre-Covid days are habits that we exercise a degree of restraint on.
“So when it comes to touching and testing goods, when it comes to trying on clothing, when it comes to trying make-up and so on, that all of us exercise restraint in not doing that and recognising that as these stores reopen, it is a new normal, but it will allow us to ensure there are a wider range of goods and will also ensure the economy can return to a new normal, that is absolutely vital for people’s jobs.”
So there wont be much time for browsing and you won’t be allowed to try anything on. The number of customers in a store will be limited and you will be expected to pick out your items without too much lingering or examining the goods.
All sounds a bit like hard work to me.
And of course – there is no sign yet of the rules being relaxed for the leisure industry – pubs, restaurants cinema and theatres. So we are a long way from life getting back to normal. But at least we can go and buy some new underwear, and a fridge magnet to show we visited a tourist attraction – even if we were only allowed in the gift shop!