All the shops are allowed to reopen in England on Monday in a new stage of the déconfinement in the United Kingdom, which is crucial for the economy of the country badly affected by the pandemic of novel coronavirus.
Only the stores that were deemed “essential” such as food shops and pharmacies remained open during the containment, decreed the end of march to combat the pandemic.
In total, almost 42,000 people tested positive for the virus have died in the country, a balance that exceeds 50 000 people if we include the deaths in which the virus is the suspected cause.
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Noting a decline in the number of deaths and hospital admissions, the government began to relax the restrictions in England, and authorized the beginning of June the partial reopening of the schools as well as markets in and outside of car dealerships.
On Monday, it will be the thousands of businesses “non-essential”, selling clothes, books or electronic products, that may reopen as well as zoos, parks, safaris, drive-ins, and places of worship, but only for individual prayers.
The wearing of masks became mandatory in the transport, but not in stores. Businesses, however, have had to put in place measures to ensure the safety of employees and customers, such as frequent cleaning of the premises and of the markings on the ground to encourage people to keep their distance.
People can “shop with confidence”, said to the media the prime minister, Boris Johnson, during a visit Sunday in a shopping centre in east London where he observed the measures in place.
The reopening of stores is important for the economy of the United Kingdom, which was severely hit by the economic repercussions of the pandemic. The country’s GDP collapsed by 20.4% in April, the first full month of confinement.
Retail not essential to employ 1.3 million people and provide $ 46.6 billion pounds to the economy each year.
Their opening covers England, the other three nations of the country, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, having adopted a schedule of déconfinement different.
If the instructions of social distancing – two metres between each person – remain in place, the government is studying the possibility of reducing this distance to give a boost to the pubs, hotels and restaurants, the opening of which is scheduled for the beginning of July.
Noting that the numbers of infections go down, Boris Johnson, has deemed Sunday as it gave “more leeway” to relax the rules.
In the meantime, in the shopping streets of the centre of London, some of the sidewalks have been expanded, and the distributors of the hydroalcoholic gel installed for customers.
The tourists, many of whom do their shopping in Oxford Street or Regent Street in advance of the pandemic, could, however, put in the time to come back. Since 8 June, all travelers arriving in the United Kingdom, with a few exceptions, are forced to observe a quarantine of 14 days, a measure decried by the tourism sector and aviation.
“I think it’s going to take some time before we go back to normal, we’re really looking forward to welcoming our international visitors, probably in a few months or next year, but our priority now is that our customers are local, Londoners, to be back”, told AFP Jace Tyrell, the boss of the New West End company, which brings together 600 retailers, restaurateurs, hoteliers and property owners in central London.
If the shops re-open in England, the schools remain closed for the majority of students until September. The government has abandoned its plan to allow all school children to find the school before the summer holidays, a decision that has earned him a salvo of criticism.