Government orders all non-essential shops to close

Groceries, pharmacies and pet shops among those allowed to stay open

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered immediate closure of all non-essential shops to deal with coronavirus pandemic.

The measures will be in place for three weeks before being reviewed on whether to extend the closures or adapt them as new information becomes available.

The Prime Minister has said that people should not be going shopping except for essential items such as food and medicine. Whilst these remain open, the government advises reducing frequency of visit.

The guidance issued by the government also means hair, beauty and nail salons and outdoor and indoor markets – apart from food markets – must shut.

Food delivery and takeaway can remain operational and can be a new activity supported by the new permitted development right, removing the need for permission to operate as a takeaway food service. This covers the provision of hot or cold food that has been prepared for consumers for collection or delivery to be consumed, reheated or cooked by consumers off the premises.

The list of “essential retailers” allowed to remain open includes:

  •  Supermarkets and other food shops
  • Health Shops
  • Medical services, such as dental surgeries, opticians and physiotherapy clinics
  • Pharmacies and chemists
  • Petrol stations
  • Bicycle shops
  • Hardware
  • Veterinary surgeries and pet shops
  • Corner shops and news agents
  • Off licenses and shops selling alcohol
  • Launderettes and dry cleaners
  • Post offices
  • Car rental services
  • High street banks
  • Storage and distribution facilites
  • Car garages an repair shops
  • Market stalls which offer essential retail, such as grocery and food

The news comes as no surprise, with many higher retailers already deciding to shut up shop.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “The safety of customers and staff is paramount, which is why retailers have responded swiftly and positively to evolving government guidance on social distancing and other hygiene matters.

“We must all be considerate of the needs of those around us, and respectful of the retail staff who are working round the clock to put food and other essential items on our shelves and into our homes.”


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