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Coronavirus lockdown | UK to reopen thousands of shops next month, says Boris Johnson

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses a news conference on the coronavirus pandemic, in London on May 25, 2020.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses a news conference on the coronavirus pandemic, in London on May 25, 2020.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Johnson is keen to restart an economy which has been all but shut down since Britain entered a lockdown to try to stem the spread of disease.

Britain will reopen thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres next month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday, setting out a timetable for businesses as part of moves to ease the coronavirus lockdown.

He told a news conference that from June 1, outdoor markets and car showrooms could be reopened as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines, and all other non-essential retail from June 15 if the government's tests are met.

Also read: Coronavirus | United Kingdom’s hospital death toll rises to over 20,000

Mr. Johnson is keen to restart an economy which has been all but shut down since Britain entered a lockdown to try to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, but also fears a second peak of infection if measures are eased too quickly.

“Today, I want to give the retail sector notice of our intentions to reopen shops, so they too can get ready,” Mr. Johnson said. “There are careful but deliberate steps on the road to rebuilding our country.”

The government said shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, would be expected to be able to reopen from June 15, giving them three weeks to prepare.

Also read: Coronavirus | U.K. could allow primary schools to reopen as soon as June 1: media

It said that businesses would only be able to open from those dates once they had completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks.

“The high street sits at the heart of every community in the country,” Business minister Alok Sharma said in a statement.

“Enabling these businesses to open will be a critical step on the road to rebuilding our economy, and will support millions of jobs across the UK.”

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Printable version | Aug 3, 2020 5:11:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/coronavirus-lockdown-uk-to-reopen-thousands-of-shops-next-month-says-boris-johnson/article31675166.ece

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