It’s time to empty the change pot or unleash the credit card if you’re feeling extra spicy, because in just two sleeps time you’ll be able to splash the cash.
That’s right, following months of closures from the coronavirus pandemic, shops are flinging their doors wide open again.
Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, has confirmed that non-essential shops can reopen providing they honour social distancing rules.
This will mean stores as we know them will be forced to readjust to our ‘new normal’, including limits on the number of people allowed in at any one time with queues outside.
Some shops have adopted new systems to avoid any confusion, with Aldi for example creating a traffic-light system so customers know when it is safe to enter a branch.
Hand-sanitiser stations will also be installed in stores, while returned items will be quarantined for 72 hours before returning to the rails incase they carry germs.
Similarly, consumers may be banned from using changing rooms to try on clothes or testing make-up to limit the spread of germs.
It is believed the UK government may relax the 2m social distancing rule to just 1m – as China, Denmark, France, Hong Kong, Lithuania, and Singapore have – so that retailers (and later, pubs and restaurants) can recover more quickly and allow more people inside.
The full list of shops set to open from Monday include hardware/homeware stores; fashion shops; charity shops; betting shops and arcades; tailors, dress fitters and fashion designers; antique stores; retail art galleries; photography studios; gift shops and retail spaces in theatres, museums, libraries, heritage sites and tourism sites; mobile phone stores; indoor and outdoor markets; craft fairs; and any other similar types of retail.
Meanwhile, Bicester Village in Oxfordshire are going the extra mile and reinventing themselves into an open-air shopping experience.
Their village – complete with blooming summer flowers and bunting – will introduce new shopping protocols to ensure maximum safety, including virtual queuing whereby customers can prebook a slot at their favourite boutique and thermal scanning which will see temperature checks of all guests entering.
Speaking at the daily press conference earlier this week, Sharma said: “Now, thanks to the efforts of the British people, we have succeeded in reducing the number of infections and getting the R-rate (rate of transmission) under control.
“That is why we can carefully open parts of economy in a phased and careful manner.”
He added: “I can confirm today that retail outlets which have been required to close will be able to open their doors again from Monday June 15, so long as they comply with the COVID-19 secure guidelines.
“This is the latest step in the careful restarting of our economy and will enable high streets up and down the country to spring back to life.”
Meanwhile, the hospitality sector – who went on hiatus from March 23 – are hoping to start pouring pints again from July 4, with outdoor beer gardens opening from June 22.
However, if the R-rate, currently between 0.7 and 0.9, goes past 1 and the virus sees a second wave, there is a strong possibility that lockdown will be reinstated.
Stay safe, folks.