The Covid restrictions that will change for retailers on 17 May – and what they mean for shoppers

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 9:34 pm
A trip to the shops won’t look quite the same as it did pre-pandemic (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
A trip to the shops won’t look quite the same as it did pre-pandemic (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Under more relaxed coronavirus restrictions due to take effect from 17 May, people will be free to meet friends and family in parks, gardens and other outdoor areas, as the legal limit on outdoor gatherings is raised to 30 people.

Gatherings inside homes are allowed once again, with a limit of up to six people or groups from a maximum of two households.

Indoor recreation also returns, with the reopening of cinemas, sports and indoor seating at pubs and restaurants.

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But what does that mean for England’s shops?

Here’s what a trip for a spot of retail therapy might look like from 17 May.

What Covid guidance is in place for shoppers?

Despite shoppers theoretically being able to go on a spending spree with up to five other people, a trip to the shops won’t look quite the same as it did pre-pandemic.

Guidance for social distancing will remain in place (though it is hoped the ‘1 metre plus rule’ will be able to be scrapped from 21 June), and shops will retain the floor markings many have used to give patrons an idea of the space they should be leaving between each other when queuing, for example.

Shops will also still be operating under reduced capacities, so you may be expected to queue outside and wait for numbers inside the store to drop before you are allowed in.

According to the Mirror, a shop’s Covid-19 guidance must be clearly displayed at the entrance, and shoppers are advised to familiarise themselves with the measures in place before the enter.

Face masks will still be mandatory by law in shops, unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.

Will changing rooms be open?

Face masks will still be mandatory in shops, unless you are exempt or have a reasonable excuse (Photo: Peter Summers/Getty Images)

Changing rooms are able to reopen where it is safe to do so, if an individual shop can operate them under Covid-secure conditions with allowances made for social distancing.

This is at the store’s discretion, and shops that do choose to open their fitting rooms may adopt a limited entry approach, using a one in one out rule, except for where customers require specific assistance.

Use may be limited to individual cubicles within fitting room areas and only alternating cubicles may be opened. The Government says multi-occupancy fitting rooms should remain closed.

What else can open?

Outdoor arenas will be able to host live events with a maximum number of 4,000 attendees, or for large outdoor seated venues where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000.

Gatherings inside homes are allowed once again, with a limit of up to six people or groups from a maximum of two households.

Indoor recreation also returns, with the reopening of cinemas, sports and indoor seating at pubs and restaurants.

As well as doing away with the 10pm curfew, no substantial meal will be required for patrons to enjoy a pint, but they must order, eat and drink while seated to avoid queues at the bar.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also confirmed that from next Monday, hugs between people from different households in England will be allowed for the first time in months.

Travel to a handful of approved “green list countries” – including Portugal – without having to quarantine, will be permitted, provided travellers take one post-arrival test.

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, NationalWorld