British govt eases coronavirus measures in England

Boris Johnson Prime Minister

Another 118 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain as of Saturday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 36,793, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sunday.

In his address, PM Johnson underlined that the United Kingdom had entered "phase 2" of its lockdown protocol, in which the government continues to assess the easing of business and civic restrictions through the key indicator of the virus' infection rate, in order to avoid a second wave COVID-19 spreading.

"I can announce that it is our intention to allow outdoor markets to reopen for [Monday] June 1, subject to all premises being made COVID secure, as well as auto showrooms which often have significant outdoor space", he said.

"Then, from the 15th of June, we intend to allow all other non-essential retail, ranging from department stores to small independent shops, to reopen".

Importantly, retailers will only be permitted to open their doors and welcome customers once they are "COVID-19 secure and can show customers will be kept safe" in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.

The government says it will also work with local authorities to carry out spot checks on retail premises, as well as follow up on concerns by members of the public.

"Today we are publishing new guidance for the retail sector, detailing the measures they should take to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards".

All non-essential shops have been given the go ahead to reopen as of next month.

"Now that we know which shops can open and when, retailers can begin communicating their plans with their workforces and customers".

He said: "Wash your hand, keep social distance, and isolate if you have symptoms and get a test". "The industry stands ready to play its part in getting the economy moving again".

Before retailers can reopen, they must complete a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and have measures in place to manage the risks of coronavirus transmission.

"The high street sits at the heart of every community in the country", Business minister Alok Sharma said in a statement.

"Enabling these businesses to open will be a critical step on the road to rebuilding our economy, and will support millions of jobs across the UK".



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