Shops can stay open until 10:00 p.m. six days a week as they welcome customers back in when the lockdown wears off, the government said.
Robert Jenrick, the community secretary, has announced that extended hours Monday through Saturday will help shoppers get back to the main streets when non-essential stores reopen from April 12th.
According to the Department of Housing, Municipalities and Local Government, stores can extend their opening hours from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. to help customers avoid peak hours and reduce transport pressures.
The measures should also help retailers hard hit by the pandemic and the lockdowns needed to contain the virus.
Non-essential retailers won’t be able to reopen until April 12th at the earliest, provided the conditions are met.
Mr. Jenrick said, “To help businesses reopen and restore, I’ve expanded the policy to keep stores open longer.
“This is part of a support package to help us reopen our stores and highways safely – backed by £ 56 million.
“This will give many businesses the much-needed boost – protecting jobs, relieving pressure on public transport, and helping people and communities continue to safely visit their main roads and shop locally.”
Dominic Curran from the British Retail Consortium said the BBC: “Retailers have invested hundreds of millions in making their stores Covid-proof and implementing additional hygiene measures, plexiglass screens, social distancing and more.”
The government has also announced that it will extend flexible working hours on construction sites and allow food to be delivered to supermarkets over a longer period of time.
Other measures include maintaining the flexibility for pubs and restaurants to pitch tents to increase seating capacity in a Covid-safe manner.