What essential shops will stay open during lockdown?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered a month-long lockdown from November 5 after being told the NHS was on course to become overwhelmed within five weeks amid a national resurgence of Covid-19.

People in England are, once again, being asked to “stay at home”, with members of the public only allowed to leave their homes for a series of specified reasons, including “essential” shopping. 

Here’s our guide to which shops are staying open and which are being locked down.

What essential shops are open?

Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open.

Essential retail should follow Covid-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.

Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.

Grocery stores will remain open and, unlike Wales, none of their aisles selling non-essential goods will be closed off.

Hardware stores and garden centres are expected to be allowed to remain open, as long as they can operate in a Covid-secure way.

What shops will be forced to close?

To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close.

All non-essential retailers will have to close from Thursday, meaning many shops will be closed during one of their most profitable months of the year.

These include all non-essential retail including – but not limited to – clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops.​

Non-essential retailers will still be allowed to offer click and collect services if they can be Covid-secure, as well as being able to trade online.

Are takeaways open?

Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.

Why do shops have to close?

As with pubs, restaurants and other places of social activity, the Government wants to stop any chance the virus has of spreading  between people, particularly people in groups.

Shops can help the virus to spread because it can live on surfaces for some time – so the items you pick up in the shop could be carrying the virus; you could then become infected yourself or pass it on to someone else. Scientists say that closing shops greatly reduces the risk of spreading the virus.

If fewer people get infected, there will be less strain on the NHS and more lives can be saved.

Will bike shops stay open?

As seen in the previous lockdown, bike stores will be given the green light to remain open. As all gyms and fitness centres will close their doors this Thursday, November 5, bikes are one of the only ways people can exercise, which makes bike stores among the list of ‘essential stores’. 

Will car showrooms & dealerships stay open?

Car showrooms will close their doors under the new lockdown measures and will remain closed until December 2, at least. However, the Government has announced that purchased cars will still be delivered to the customer’s house, while, alternatively, customers who confirmed the purchase of a car prior to lockdown will have the option to collect their vehicle from the dealership, in a system which mirrors “click and collect”. 

Will hardware shops stay open?

Hardware shops will be allowed to remain open during the second lockdown, the government has confirmed, as long as they follow Covid-19 safety guidelines. Following the news, Wickes, B&Q, Homebase and Screwfix have all indicated that their stores will remain open nationwide.

Will the Post Office remain open?

Post offices will remain open as an essential service, the government has confirmed, on the provision that Covid-safe guidelines are strictly adhered to. This measure follows on from the restrictions seen in the first lockdown, when all Post Offices continued to trade, while the Royal Mail continued their postal delivery service. 

Will libraries stay open?

Libraries will be able to remain open for click-and-collect services and to provide IT access, but will otherwise face restrictions during the second lockdown.  

Will Argos close?

Argos stores inside Sainsbury’s will remain open for customers who are collecting orders they have placed online whilst shopping for groceries and other essentials.

Argos will likely be forced to close its stores, having been classed as a non essential shop in the initial lockdown. The store is still offering delivery when you order online throughout November. 

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