The rules shoppers will have to follow when non-essential shops reopen on June 15, including no trying on clothes

SHOPS will have to introduce tough new social distancing measures, including providing hand sanitiser and ensuring stores are clean, when they reopen from June 15.

Shoppers will also be banned from trying on clothes, make-up and other products in stores in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, Michael Gove, told BBC Breakfast this morning.

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It follows Boris Johnson declaring yesterday that outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to get back to business from June 1.

Meanwhile, all other non-essential shops are to be allowed to reopen their doors from June 15 to help struggling high streets get back up and running.

This includes shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets.

What measures will shops have to implement?

Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and they must ensure they meet the government's Covid-19 health and safety measures.

The government says measures shops should consider include:

  • storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out on the shop floor
  • placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public, such as beds or sofas
  • frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals
  • putting posters in shop windows explaining the rules

Mr Gove added: “It is appropriate when shops reopen that we have social distancing, we know already that it is possible to sell goods, possible for people to get the goods they need and do so while respecting social distancing.

“It is important we have high quality hygiene, and ensure everything from the provision of hand sanitiser to overnight hygiene is of the highest level.

“We also need to ensure that some of the shopping habits people might have grown used to in the pre-covid days are habits we all exercise a degree of restraint on.

“So when it comes to touching and testing goods, when it comes to trying on clothing, trying on makeup and so on, all of us exercise restraint in not doing that.”

Mr Gove insisted doing so would not only help the nation stay safe, but also boost the economy.

He explained: “As these stores reopen, it is a new normal, and will allow us to ensure a wider range of goods and also enable the economy to return to a new normal.

“We also need to make sure our economy is restored to greater health.”

Shops flouting coronavirus guidelines will be punished, Mr Johnson yesterday warned.

Local authorities will be allowed to carry out spot checks and follow up on concerns raised by members of the public.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: "Safety is the fundamental concern for all retailers and they have been working hard to implement the necessary measures to operate safely over the past weeks." 

Lifting lockdown measures

Non-essential shops have been closed since lockdown began on March 23 and only retailers selling essential items such as food and and DIY products have been allowed to remain open.

But the rules have gradually been lifting, with garden centres and homeware stores allowed to reopen this month.

Fast-food chains have also begun reopening for takeaway orders only. They were allowed to remain open during lockdown but many initially shut their doors while they worked out how to operate safely during the epidemic.

But hairdressers, nail bars, beauty salons, and the hospitality sector, remain closed until at least July 4.

While supermarkets have always been allowed to remain open, just today Aldi said it will introduce further health and safety measures.

Start this week, traffic lights will be installed in its 875 stores that will signal when customers can enter based on individual store customer limits.

This is on top of existing measures including protective screens at checkouts, distancing markers on shop floors, sanitisation stations for customers as well as signage to offer clear guidance on how to shop safely.

Aldi stores are also encouraging one customer per trolley where possible, although NHS and blue light workers will continue to get priority access to stores and will be allowed to skip the outside queues.

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