Boris Johnson told the nation 'you must stay at home' in a public address on Monday evening, in which he outlined new UK lockdown measures amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, which includes the closure of non-essential shops. But what shops are deemed as essential?
While supermarkets and pharmacies are at the top of the list and will remain open for food and medication respectively, there are other businesses that households depend on regularly. Post Offices will remain open, as will banks, newsagents, laundrettes and even home and hardware stores. See the full list below:
The following businesses will remain OPEN
- Supermarkets and other food shops
- Health shops
- Pharmacies, including non-dispensing pharmacies, and medical services (such as dental surgeries, opticians and audiology clinics)
- Newsagents, corner shops and off-licenses
- Petrol stations
- Veterinary surgeries and pet shops
- Bicycle shops
- Home and hardware shops
- Banks and building societies
- Pet shops
- Storage and distribution facilities
- Market stalls which offer essential retail, such as grocery and food
- Petrol stations
- Laundrettes and dry cleaners
- Car garages and repair shops
- Car rental services
The following businesses are CLOSED
Last week, the government ordered certain businesses, including pubs, cinemas, theatres and restaurants to close. This order has now been extended to more businesses deemed 'non-essential'.
- Hair, beauty and nail salons, including piercing and tattoo parlours
- Massage parlours and spas
- Outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets
- Auction houses
- Car showrooms
- Pubs, bars and nightclubs
- Restaurants and cafes (food delivery and takeaway allowed)
- Libraries, community centres, and youth centres
- Cinemas, theatres and concert halls
- Bingo halls, casinos and betting shops
- Arcades, bowling alleys, skating rinks, soft play centres and similar
- Communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts, pitches, and outdoor gyms
- Fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres
- Places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families
- Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers).
Please note: retailers are still be able to take online orders (for those who operate online, including food takeaways) and deliver items to your home.
Home and hardware stores
The government guidance states that home and hardware shops can stay open, so what does this mean in terms of social distancing guidelines, and restrictions on leaving the home? Will the openings be restricted to just tradespeople? And what about the home stores that have already closed? While we advise you to contact individual/local stores for further guidance, some retailers have already released statements on their next steps...
Graham Bell, B&Q CEO, says: 'The Covid-19 crisis continues to evolve, so I wanted to update you on some changes here at B&Q.
'Over the last 48 hours we have been working hard to create a service that focuses on providing essential products for repair and maintenance of the home. This means we can keep supplies open and give our customers the best possible service to ensure their homes are safe, warm and in working order.
'In order to do this in the safest possible way for our colleagues and customers, we are making some changes:
- Diy.com will be our primary store, giving customers access to a range of essential products
- The range will be limited for our Click & Collect service to ensure we do everything we can to limit unnecessary purchases and ensure our customers and colleagues are protected from needless contact.
- Customers can now use our contact-free Click+Collect service from their local store, allowing items to be picked up from an allocated parking zone where product will be brought to you or your car.
- We are working on our home delivery service to enable us to provide a fuller product range
- Stores will remain closed to customers for browsing and purchasing.
'We urge you to follow all the Government’s social distancing guidelines and to shop responsibly for essential needs only. The safety of customers and colleagues remains our top priority.' (Last updated: 26th March 2020)
Damian McGloughlin, CEO, says: 'Earlier today the government updated its guidance to retailers, and as a result of that update we are temporarily closing all Homebase stores across the UK from 6pm on 25th March.
'We are now working through the best way to continue providing communities with access to essential products, while prioritising the safety of our team members and customers during this unprecedented time. Our website remains open. We’ll keep you updated at homebase.co.uk.' (Last updated: 26th March 2020)
Jerome Saint-Marc, CEO, says: 'On Monday night the Government announced that all non-essential shops were to close immediately. We have had confirmation from Trading Standards that we should remain open as we sell many essential items including over the counter medicine, cleaning and hygiene products, pet food, home maintenance and baby care. We also have 416 shops meaning that the 17million people who live within 2km of a wilko store really can safely pop in for those essentials. Plus, we sell a lot of the things you need under one roof, so you don’t need to be making multiple trips.
'We will be able to keep most of our doors open. Not all though – there are some that we will be shutting immediately because we can’t safely keep them open. Rest assured that we are working really hard on those that we do keep open to make them safe, in line with Government requirements. We’ve enhanced the cleaning, we’ve enforced physical distancing, we’ve added quantity controls and additional signage, and all our stores are now closing earlier at 5pm to allow our team members enough time to clean and replenish the shelves before we open again the next day. We’re also reviewing these measures all the time to make sure we continue to offer you and our team members the safest experience that we can. (Last updated: 25th March)
David Wood, Wickes CEO, says: 'The safety of our customers, colleagues and the communities we serve is paramount. We are making decisions daily to ensure we protect everyone during this period.
'Home Delivery: We are pleased to continue to be able to offer a home delivery option for our customers. As these are particularly busy periods for us, availability may at times be limited so please bear with us.
'Click and Collect: We are operating a contactless Click and Collect service for our customers which will be operated outside of our stores:
- You will be able to collect your order at the front entrance to our stores - please ensure you have received your confirmation email or text to say your order is ready and bring your order reference with you when you collect your order
- A colleague will meet you and provide your order, ensuring that social distancing rules are adhered to
- If you need help loading the order into your car, a colleague will be happy to help but we will require you to return to your vehicle or remain 2 metres distant.' (Last updated: 24th March 2020)
'Following the Prime Ministers statement on the evening of Monday 23rd March 2020 we closed our branches and this remains the case.
'In order to support the national effort to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) our branches are closed and we are not taking orders online. However, to support our country's essential services we are running deliveries from selected branches. These branches are NOT open for collections or customers to visit.
'Deliveries of materials, Tool Hire equipment and waste services will be made for emergency repair and maintenance works, and for critical infrastructure. Examples of specific sites include:
- Hospitals, care / nursing homes, doctors surgeries
- Central and local government offices that are open for critical services
- Emergency services facilities e.g. police stations
- Military facilities
- Certain retail premises: e.g. supermarkets and other food shops, health shops, pharmacies
- Hotels, hostels and Bed and Breakfasts
- Food banks and homeless services
- Crematoria and cemeteries
- Social housing
- Emergency residential
- Transport infrastructure
'We will be strictly observing Social Distancing. Deliveries will be contingent on our customers support in upholding these guidelines. The health of our colleagues, customers and the public is our top priority and we are committed to playing our part in preventing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).' (Last updated: 25th March 2020)
'On Tuesday morning Screwfix adapted its position to offer home delivery and a Click & Collect service for essential products only. This is to ensure the safety of our customers and colleagues, whilst maintaining a service for our tradespeople. Unless it is essential, we are asking our customers to stay at home and use our home delivery service.
'We have stopped browsing in store and are operating a drop zone collection at the entrance of our stores for Click and Collect orders only. There are strict social distancing measures when collecting orders and we will continue to review our proposition on a daily basis in line with government advice.
'We are now providing a service that minimises social contact and I can assure you we will do all that we can throughout these unprecedented times to protect our colleagues, customers and their families.' (Last updated: 25th March 2020)
'Following the Prime Minister’s new COVID-19 guidance on the 23rd March, we decided to temporarily suspend trading and close our business while we established the best way to provide the essential services and products we supply to our customers who keep Britain sheltered, warm, dry and secure.
'The safety of our people, our customers and the communities we serve will always be our number one priority. With that in mind, as well as being classified as an essential business, we have carefully considered how to reopen in a responsible way, so that we can continue to supply the trades who provide essential maintenance and services to keep our critical infrastructure maintained, secure and operational during this current crisis.
'In the short term we have opened a new service for our customers which harnesses our branch network and click and collect capabilities with a reduced range of essentials available to customers. Our branches will in effect become Essential Service Click and Collect Hubs based on the following principles:
- Keeping our colleagues and customers safe and well and respecting stringent social distancing requirements is our number one priority – 2 metre rule enforced
- No customers will be allowed into branches
- Our available product range will focus on essential products required for the continued operation, maintenance and security of buildings and sites and their infrastructure
- Our available product range will not require more than 1 person to lift.' (Last updated: 25th March 2020).
New government measures for isolation and social distancing
In order to reduce day-to-day contact and the spread of the infection, the government has introduced three new measures.
- Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
- Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
- Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.
These measures are effective immediately and the government will review this in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.
People will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:
- Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
- One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household;
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
- Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.
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