Shops opening: what Covid rules will you have to follow when non-essential retailers reopen in England?

Pubs, restaurants, shops, and hairdressers are among the sectors of the economy opening back up on 12 April as part of the roadmap out of lockdown

Consumers are getting ready to return to the shops following the continued lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions (Getty Images)
Consumers are getting ready to return to the shops following the continued lifting of coronavirus lockdown restrictions (Getty Images)

Shoppers will need to follow strict Covid rules when visiting stores in England when they reopen on 12 April.

After months of tight lockdown restrictions, non-essential retailers will open their doors to customers once again on Monday.

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But there will be strict rules they will have to follow - from shopping alone to how many people will be able to enter fitting rooms.

The measures mirror the ones consumers had to adhere to after shops opened following the first national lockdown last year.

Here is everything you need to know.

What are the rules when shops reopen?

The UK Government has set out guidelines for shoppers ahead of stores opening on 12 April.

These measures will apply to all non-essential businesses reopening to customers, including clothing stores, charity shops, homeware stores, travel agents, showrooms, electronic stores, florists and photography stores.

The rules are:

- As with essential shops, customers will be required to wear face coverings at all times in-store.

- In-store toilets will be able to reopen, but social distancing must be adhered to and there will be increased cleaning.

- Shoppers must enter stores alone, and should only go with others, like children, when necessary.

- There will be a one-in one-out system in stores, apart from for customers who need specific assistance, like those with children or disabilities.

- Fitting rooms will reopen in some stores, but only one person will be allowed to enter at a time and there could be a reduced number in operation.

- There will be a gap of several minutes between one customer leaving a cubicle and another entering to allow for regular cleaning.

- Empty fitting rooms will be kept open to increase air flow.

- There will be social distancing markers in store that customers must adhere to.

- There will be no testers, and customers should only touch items they intend to buy.

- Pick up and drop off collection points will be put in place if items need to be transferred between staff and customers.

- Customers will be able to take return goods to a designated area for a “no contact” return.

- People will need to pay on card or use contactless when they can.

What other Covid rules will change from 12 April?

As well as a return of the high street, other facilities will reopen from Monday, including libraries and close-contact services like hairdressers and nail salons.

Indoor leisure facilities, like gyms and swimming pools, will also reopen, along with outdoor attractions like zoos, theme parks and drive-in cinemas.

The domestic tourism industry will partially resume in the country from this date, with campsites, holiday lets and other forms of self-contained accommodation permitted to open back up.

Care home residents will also be allowed two regular visitors indoors.

And pubs and restaurants will be able to serve people outside, with customers able to have an alcoholic drink without ordering a substantial meal.

But indoor socialising will still be illegal with anyone outside your household or support bubble.

The same goes for international holidays, which may not be permitted until 17 May at the earliest.