Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered a month-long lockdown from November 5 after being told the NHS was on course to become overwhelmed within five weeks amid a national resurgence of Covid-19.
People in England will be asked again to “stay at home”, with members of the public only allowed to leave their homes for a series of specified reasons, including “essential” shopping.
Here’s our guide to which shops are staying open and which are being locked down.
What essential shops are open?
Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open.
Essential retail should follow Covid-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.
Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.
Grocery stores will remain open and, unlike Wales, none of their aisles selling non-essential goods will be closed off.
Hardware stores and garden centres are expected to be allowed to remain open, as long as they can operate in a Covid-secure way.
What shops will be forced to close?
To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close.
All non-essential retailers will have to close from Thursday, meaning many shops will be closed during one of their most profitable months of the year.
These include all non-essential retail including – but not limited to – clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops.
Non-essential retailers will still be allowed to offer click and collect services if they can be Covid-secure, as well as being able to trade online.
Are takeaways open?
Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.
Why do shops have to close?
As with pubs, restaurants and other places of social activity, the Government wants to stop any chance the virus has of spreading between people, particularly people in groups.
Shops can help the virus to spread because it can live on surfaces for some time – so the items you pick up in the shop could be carrying the virus; you could then become infected yourself or pass it on to someone else. Scientists say that closing shops greatly reduces the risk of spreading the virus.
If fewer people get infected, there will be less strain on the NHS and more lives can be saved.