Under the UK’s third national lockdown, non-essential shops have been ordered to close since January 5. But in news that could bring hope to businesses both big and small across the country, prime minister Boris Johnson has announced that if case rates continue to fall, they will be able to reopen from April.
According to the government’s new lockdown exit strategy, published today, schools in England will reopen from March 8 and people will also be able to socialise one-on-one outdoors. The second stage of reopening will see the ‘rule of six’ being reintroduced from March 29, meaning that groups of up to six people could socialise in public outdoor spaces.
As long as infections and hospitalisations do not spike as a result, non-essential shops will be able to reopen on April 12, along with hairdressers, beauty salons, and pubs and restaurants for outdoor drinking and dining.
This is a best-case scenario, and the government has said it will confirm the week before that these businesses will still be able to open.
But hey – to have any sort of indication of a way out is better than nothing. After a year of chopping-and-changing lockdown restrictions, here’s hoping that this is the final time our fave local shops will have to emerge blinking into the sunlight after months of hibernation.