09:39PM, Monday 25 May 2020
The Prime Minister has announced plans to open the retail sector from next month.
Boris Johnson previewed ‘step two’ of easing lockdown restrictions at today’s daily press conference briefing.
“I can announce that it is our intention to allow outdoor markets to reopen for [Monday] June 1, subject to all premises being made COVID secure, as well as car showrooms which often have significant outdoor space,” he said.
“We know that the transmission of the virus is lower outdoors and that it is easier to follow COVID-secure guidelines in open spaces.”
Mr Johnson also said from Monday, June 15 the Government intends to open ‘all other non-essential retail, ranging from department stores to small, independent shops’.
Like the easing of lockdown restrictions on June 1, Mr Johnson said this change will be dependent on the formal assessment of the five tests the Government has set for adjusting the lockdown.
He added that re-opening would ‘only be permitted for those retail premises which are COVID secure’.
“Today we are publishing new guidance for the retail sector, detailing the measures they should take to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards.
“Shops now have the time to implement this guidance before they re-open.”
He added: “These are careful but deliberate steps on the road to rebuilding our country.”
At the briefing Mr Johnson described the key indicators, which will dictate the Government’s road map to recovery, as ‘heading in the right direction’.
He said the daily number of deaths and the number of new cases of the virus were both down, that survey evidence suggests the infection rate is falling and the R [value], a disease's ability to spread, has not risen above one.
Mr Johnson said the Government will set out the formal assessment of the five tests, set for adjusting the lockdown, later this week as part of the three-weekly review required to be undertaken by Thursday.
He said: “Because of the progress we are making, I can with confidence put the British people on notice of the changes we intend to introduce as we move to step two.”
At yesterday’s briefing Mr Johnson also confirmed the Government’s intention to go ahead with opening early years setting, reception, year one and year six classes on Monday, June 1.
He said “We then intend from June 15 for secondary schools to provide some contact for year 10 and year 12 students to help them prepare for exams next year, with up to a quarter of these students in at any point.
“By opening schools to more pupils in this limited way we’re taking a deliberately cautious approach.”
He said he acknowledged that a June 1 opening would not be possible for all schools.
To close today’s briefing Mr Johnson reiterated the importance of ‘the basics’ in ensuring easing lockdown measures are successful.
He said: “Wash your hand, keep social distance, and isolate if you have symptoms and get a test.”
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