SHOPS will have to follow social distancing guidelines when they reopen next week.
Clothes, toys and charity shops have been given the go ahead to welcome back customers from Monday June 15, but shopping won’t be the same as before lockdown.
Retailers will need to make sure they’re “Covid-19 secure” by implementing a government list of measures that will slow the spread of the virus.
The rules will be similar to those adopted by supermarkets, which were allowed to stay open during the lockdown as they are considered essential retailers.
One rule put in place by some supermarkets, including Aldi, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, is only allowing one person per household to visit the shop at one time.
The “ban” on couples means that supermarket staff have been asking groups who turn up to shop to choose one adult to go inside while the others wait outside.
The only exception is single parents who are not able to leave their children at home while they shop.
But it has got many shoppers thinking will non-essential retailers be running the same rules? Here’s what you can expect:
Will I be able to shop with others in my household?
Only allowing one person per household to enter a shop isn’t a government rule – it’s up to the retailer whether it chooses to do this.
Supermarkets adopted this rule early on during lockdown to discourage crowds of shoppers turning up to stores at the same time, to help social distancing, and to help reduce queues.
Many high street retailers have said they won’t stop families from shopping together.
But they will limit the number of people allowed in a store at the same time so customers can social distance.
Exact limits depend on the retailer and the size of the shop so you should expect to queue up outside before being let in at popular times.
If you’re unsure about customers limits at your nearest store you should contact them directly before heading out.
What have the shops said?
We’ve contacted a number of retailers to find out whether they will be letting households shop together.
Here’s what they’ve said so far – we’ll keep updating the list as we find out more.
- Debenhams – No restrictions on households shopping together as long as they following social distancing rules.
- H&M – Households can shop together but there will be a limit to the number of customers allowed in store at the same time.
- Primark – Families and households can shop together but numbers of customers allowed in store will be limited, and groups may be separated before entering.
What other rules will I have to follow when I shop?
Shops must fulfil a set of regulations before opening their doors to members of the public.
These measures include strict social distancing as well as one-way systems throughout stores.
Hand sanitiser stations for staff and customers will need to be installed, and returned items will need to be quarantined for 72 hours.
Staggering times for click and collect orders will need to be adopted and retailers will also need to frequently clean objects and surfaces that are touched regularly.
These include surfaces such as self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals.
Cabinet minister Michael Gove said shoppers would need to “exercise restraint” by not trying on clothing and testing goods before buying them.
This means no fitting rooms, while larger items, such as sofas and beds, should be covered in protective material.
Other rules could also see a rotation of stock that is frequently touched.