'Non-essential' shops across England will be permitted to re-open when lockdown ends, and a tougher three-tiered approach to regional restrictions (which will be identified on Thursday) will be in place from 2nd December. 

The Government placed homeware stores in the 'non-essential retail' category for the current lockdown in England, while garden centres, hardware stores and building merchants were named among those offering ‘essential goods or services’.

In response to the Prime Minister’s announcement that all retail will be able to open when national restrictions end on 2nd December, Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), says: “Retailers will be relieved by the Government’s confirmation that all shops can re-open once the current restrictions are lifted.

"SAGE data has always highlighted that retail is a safe environment, and firms have spent hundreds of millions on safety measures including perspex screens, additional cleaning and social distancing, and will continue to follow all safety guidance. As a result, customers can be reassured that retail premises are Covid-secure and safe to visit over the festive period.

“Shops - from high streets to retail parks – play an integral role in the run-up to Christmas. While retailers have stepped up their online delivery over the course of 2020, the bulk of Christmas shopping tends to be done in-store. The Government's decision to keep all of retail open will help to preserve jobs and the economy and help keep Christmas a festive occasion for everyone.”