Non-essential retail could reopen by April 12

Non-essential retail shops could be allowed to reopen from April 12, Boris Johnson has announced.

The prime minister’s statement to the House of Commons this afternoon confirmed the date for travel agencies with retail premises to work towards.

It was part of a four-point plan for a “cautious but irreversible” easing of lockdown in the UK, which is subject to continued progress of the vaccine rollout and infection rates coming down.

The announcement also set a date for when more details on a restart of international travel should be given.

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Non-essential retail will be reintroduced behind schools on March 8 and a reintroduction of the rule of six in outdoor settings from March 29.

At the same time as non-essential retail is allowed again, on April 12, indoor leisure such as swimming pools and gyms, outdoor settings such as beer gardens, zoos and theme parks can reopen.

Self-contained holiday accommodation such as self-catering and camp sites will also be allowed from April 12.

From May 17, restrictions on hospitality such hotels and cinemas will be relaxed, allowing them to reopen and the rule of six will be abolished, with gatherings of up to 30 people allowed outdoors.

Johnson also hinted that business support schemes such as furlough would be extended, as has been widely reported but is currently unconfirmed.

He said “the government will continue to do whatever it takes to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK” adding that chancellor Rishi Sunak “will set out further details in the Budget” on March 3.

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