With lockdown restrictions easing, some of us are eager to visit our favourite shopping destinations in the capital. But when exactly will the shops open again in London, and what will the “new normal” shopping experience be like?
When will the shops in London open again?
Non-essential retail outlets are officially permitted to open from June 15. “Non-essential” covers pretty much everything including fashion retailers and department stores. However, it’s yet to be confirmed (at the time of writing) when salons, nail bars, hairdressers and restaurants are to re-open.
However, just because shops can open doesn’t mean that they all will. Some retailers that have confirmed they will open some or all of their store locations from June 15 include Marks & Spencer, Next, Debenhams, Primark, H&M, John Lewis, and the Arcadia group (Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins and Burton).
How will shopping be different after COVID-19?
We’ve all got used to queuing for our weekly food shop and sticking to the one-way system in supermarkets. But will this shopping experience extend to the high street?
Like essential retail, all shops that open on June 15 must take appropriate measures to ensure social distancing is maintained and that their staff and customers are safe. This may include:
Limiting the number of people inside the shop at one time, meaning queues for many shops at popular times
* Hand sanitizer and hand washing stations at entrances
* Protective screens at checkouts
* No testing of beauty products
* Changing rooms to remain closed in fashion retailers
* Additional cleaning of retail spaces
* Shoppers may be requested to wear a mask in some shops
It’s likely that shops will also discourage customers from touching items. Waterstones has stated that any books touched by browsing customers will be placed in “72-hour quarantine”. John Lewis has also proposed quarantine for clothing that customers have tried on.
Can I Use Public Transport to Go Shopping in London?
All public transport is currently up and running more or less a normal timetable. However, using it is still strongly discouraged unless travelling for work or other essential purposes.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is encouraging Londoners to walk or cycle when possible. Additional cycling lanes have also been added to some streets.
If you do choose to use public transport, it’s sensible and safest to avoid peak travel times. People travelling on London’s public transport network are asked to wear a face covering and maintain social distancing.
Is it Safe to Shop in London in 2020?
As we settle into the post-coronavirus world, it’s going to take some time before shopping trips are as pleasurable as they once were. But is it safe to go out shopping?
Research suggests that your chances of contracting the virus from being in a supermarket or other shop for a short period of time are very low. The risks are higher for staff.
To keep yourself safe while shopping, be sure to maintain at least 2m distance between other shoppers, follow the guidance of staff and signage in each shop, and sanitize your hands before entering and when leaving a shop. Wearing a mask or other face covering is also now recommended when in an enclosed space.
If you don’t feel comfortable returning to the shops just yet, ordering online is still an option. Many shops are also running click and collect services so you can minimize your time spent in-store but buy your items quicker than online ordering.