Shops To Stay Open Late Six Days A Week When Non-Essential Retail Returns In April
Shops will be allowed to stay open until 10pm, six days a week, when they reopen in April as lockdown restrictions ease, the government has announced.
Non-essential retail will be permitted to open from 12 April, as part of the government's second stage of its 'road map' out of lockdown.
To help ensure that shopping returns to the high street safely, the government will be extending opening hours to allow customers 'more flexibility' to avoid peak times and to 'ease transport pressures'.
The move will also help retailers following several periods of enforced closures, with the British Retail Consortium estimating that shops had missed out on £27 billion in sales across the three lockdowns.
Businesses will be able to open until 10pm between Monday and Saturday, with Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick saying in a statement: "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 £56 million.
"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 move is part of the government's £56 million 'Welcome Back Fund', which aims to boost the 'look and feel' of high streets and seaside towns ahead of summer.
The funding will help councils prepare for the safe return of shoppers and tourists, with measures including employing extra staff to keep festivals and events Covid-secure.
Pubs, restaurants and listed buildings are also being given more flexibility to use their land in a way that allows people to meet up - for instance, with pubs encouraged to erect marquees in beer gardens.
Jenrick said: "As we move to the next stage on the roadmap out of lockdown we are all looking forward to being reunited with friends and family outdoors and making a safe and happy return to our favourite shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
"Our Welcome Back Fund gives every city, town and high street support to prepare for a great summer. This funding will help councils and businesses to welcome shoppers, diners and tourists back safely.
"As soon as the roadmap allows, we need to get behind our local businesses and enjoy all that this country has to offer and that we've been missing so much.
"I'm allowing every pub in the country to erect a marquee in their garden for the whole summer as a one-off power to support our locals."