Are We Ready For Lockdown To End, What Shops Are Reopening And What Social Distancing Measures Can I Expect When Shopping
From June 15th all the non-essential shops opened for the first time since the Covid-19 lockdown took effect.
It has been a challenging time for ABC Taxis and most independent businesses and high street retailers alike. But as part of the Government’s three-stage plan to ease lockdown measures, retailers are allowed to reopen, providing “they are meeting COVID-secure guidelines”.
This plan is “contingent on progress in the fight against coronavirus” and will be sustained providing the government continues to meet the “five tests” that indicate the Corna-19 virus reproduction rate (the R rate) is falling
These tests include;
1. Making sure the NHS can cope.
Boris Johnson previously stated, “We must be confident that we are able to provide sufficient critical care and specialist treatment right across the UK.” Following the peak of the outbreak at the beginning of April, and thanks to the amazing NHS staff the data shows that this test is now being met.
2. Seeing a “sustained and consistent” fall in the daily death rate;
This was the second test and on Thursday Mr Johnson announced that he is “confident” that the peak of the daily death rate has passed. Official figures published by the government last week state that deaths related to Covid-19 have been the lowest that they’ve been in 9 weeks. This consistent and sustained fall in the death rate means that the second test is being met.
3. Reliable data from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) to show that the rate of infection was decreasing to manageable levels across the board.
The Prime Minister has stated that in the second week of June there was an average of 2,312 cases, which is down from 5,066 in the first week of May.
With the number of new cases of Coronavirus “decreasing to manageable levels across the board” the Government is satisfied that the third test is being met.
4. PPE and Testing Capacity
Ensuring the UK has the capacity to undertake testing, provide sufficient PPE and be capable of sustaining future demand for protective equipment are the factors that need to be achieved in order for the fourth test to be met.
The Government has contracted over 100 suppliers from the UK and around the world to produce two billion PPE items for the UK. This means the stocks of PPE will start to rebuild and with ‘Public Health England’ having conducted over 115,000 tests compared to around 12,000 at the start of April, the Government is comfortable that the fourth test has been met.
5. Prevention Of A Second Wave
The final test poses the biggest challenge of all. To avoid a second wave of Coronavirus the infamous R value must be kept below 1. Meaning that every person who contracts the virus must infect fewer than one person.
A “package” of measures has been set out by Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance and Chief Medical Officer Professor Chrris Whitty to ease the social and financial effects of the lockdown.
The package includes the phased reopening of public institutes such as schools as well as non-essential high street retail outlets. Social distancing measures must be in place and guidelines adhered to.
The recent announcement that pubs, clubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen from July 4th means that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Things are beginning to get back to normality and most non-essential retailers in Norwich have already reopened their doors. All of which have special measures in place to comply with social distancing regulations. Some of these stores include;
Richard Marks Partner and Head of John Lewis’ Norwich branch states on the website “I can’t tell you how much pleasure it gives me to welcome you back to John Lewis & Partners, Norwich. I want to reassure you that we aim to offer our usual high level of service in the safest possible way.”
Debenhams have reopened 50 of their stores with new safety steps in place. These steps include limiting the number of customers in-store at any one time and providing hand sanitiser for staff and customers as well as fitted perspex screens at checkouts and the contactless limit has been increased to £45.
House Of Fraser:
Following the Government’s announcement last week, House Of Fraser have “been working extremely hard behind the scenes to make sure that every one of our stores will be compliant with Government guidelines when we reopen.”
Currys opened 19 of its stores on May 22 on a drive-through collection-only basis. Their stores are now open as a Tech Help Hub where you can come and talk to any member of their team for help & advice on your tech, plus help with returns and exchanges. Plus you can order online and collect your tech from the store as fast as the same day.
“Customers are simply asked to place their order online before driving and parking at one of the open outlets. Once they have confirmed through email their arrival, a staff member will then load the boot of the car with the purchased product. “
Ikea collection point has been open since the 1st of June with new measures in place to adhere to Government guidelines.
Having successfully implemented social distancing measures on its shop floors Halford reopened 53 of its outlets last month.
Greggs has reopened a small selection of shops to test out their new operational safety measures aimed to establish the best ways to serve their customers whilst keeping everyone safe. The reopening of their stores will be staggered but they have started to reopen their shops and aim to open all shops with the new operational measures by July 1.
Boots beauty counters have reopened although it’s pharmaceutical services have remained operational throughout the lockdown due to its status as an essential business.