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What are the rules for non-essential shops in tiers 1-4?

Many areas across England will enter Tier 4 from 00.01 on Boxing Day, Matt Hancock announced on December 23.

Tier 4, the highest level of restrictions, was announced on December 19 in an emergency press conference held by Boris Johnson. London and areas of the South East of England have been in Tier 4 since December 20.

Under the new Tier 4 restrictions, non-essential shops were ordered to close from midnight on December 19.

In Tier 1, 2 and 3 areas throughout the rest of England, shops can remain open.

Wales also entered into a Tier 4 lockdown from Sunday, meaning non-essential retailers have closed in the country. In Scotland, non-essential shops have just reopened following three weeks of closures. In Northern Ireland, shops are expected to close for six weeks from Boxing Day

Find your tier here.

The closure of non-essential retail is a blow to stores in what is usually one of the busiest weeks of the year in the run-up to Christmas.

The Prime Minister introduced the strict new measures after seeing evidence of the rapid spread of Covid-19 in London and the South East, with a more infectious new strain of the virus causing a spike in transmission rates.

The new shop closures come after a challenging year for retailers, who were forced to shut shops between March and June in the first nationwide lockdown and again during November’s second English lockdown.

Some of England’s busiest shopping areas, including Bond Street and Oxford Street, will now be closed in the final days before Christmas. 

Many household names, including the Arcadia group (which includes Topshop and Burton), Laura Ashley, Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Cath Kidston have gone into administration as a result of the pandemic. 

The government has not yet announced any additional support for businesses affected by the tier four closures, aside from existing measures such as the furlough scheme, which Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended until April 2021.

Tier 4 restrictions apply across the South East, including Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings.

They also apply in London and the East of England (Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire, Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring).

Here’s our guide to which shops are open now…

Which shops must close in Tier 4?

All non-essential retail in Tier 4 must close. This includes department stores – though food halls will be exempt – fashion, home, book shops, technology stores and more high street stalwarts will have to shut from 19 December. A review of the measures are expected to take place on December 30.

The full list of non-essential shops includes: clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, and market stalls selling non-essential goods.

Charity shops must also close. 

Non-essential shops can continue to offer delivery and click-and-collect services (items must be pre-ordered and collected off the premises).

Read more: 43 of the best online fashion sites that offer home delivery

What essential shops are open in all tiers?

Food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres and Christmas tree retailers, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences are deemed essential retailers. 

Market stalls selling essential goods, businesses primarily offeingr repair services, petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, taxi and vehicle hire businesses, short-term loan providers, money transfer businesses, funeral directors, laundrettes and dry cleaners can also stay open.

Banks, building societies and post offices do not need to shut. 

Medical and dental services, vets, pet shops, dentists and opticians are also exempt.

What does the closure of non-essential retail mean for your Christmas shopping?

For anyone living in a tier four area, Christmas shopping in non-essential bricks-and-mortar stores is now off the cards, with shops ordered to remain shut from midnight on December 19.

If you live in a tier four area, you must not leave to shop in other areas, the guidelines state. 

Therefore, last-minute shoppers have several options.

Non-essential shops can stay open for click-and-collect services so check what is available in your local area. You could purchase gifts at essential retailers, like supermarkets. Shopping online remains a possibility, although postal delays mean it is not guaranteed that parcels will be delivered in time. E-mail gift cards or experiences may now be the best idea. 

Read more: Last minute Christmas gift ideas that you can still buy – even in tier 4 

What shops can open in Tier 1, 2, 3 and 4?

Restaurants, pubs and bars can reopen, serving until 10pm and closing at 11pm. You can socialise with up to six people indoors and outdoors, and alcohol will only be available via table service.

Hospitality businesses can continue to trade using delivery services, click-and-collect or drive-throughs after 10pm.

Entertainment venues like casinos, cinemas and theaters can open until 11pm, but attendance is limited to either 50 per cent capacity or 4,000 people outdoors and 1,000 people indoors – whichever is lower. 

Non-essential retail, hairdressers and gyms can open, but nightclubs must be closed.

Read More: What exactly is the Pfizer vaccine, who will get it, and is it safe?

Patrons of pubs and restaurants can only drink alcohol with a substantial meal and may only sit indoors with their household or outdoors with up to six people from different households. 

The same curfews as Tier 1 apply and you can only order using table service. Wet pubs and bars must close.

Entertainment venues must close at 11pm and attendance is limited to either 50 per cent capacity or 2,000 people outdoors and 1,000 people indoors – whichever is lower. 

Non-essential retail, hairdressers and gyms can open.

Hairdressers and gyms and non-essential retail is open in tier 3.

In Tier 3, hospitality businesses must stay closed apart from for takeaway service, click-and-collect, drive-through and delivery.

Indoor entertainment and tourist venues are closed.

Essential businesses like banks, opticians, dentists and garden centres will stay open.

Tier 4 restrictions resemble the first and second lockdowns in England, with non-essential retailers forced to close. 

Personal care services, including hairdressers and beauty salons must not operate. 

In Tier 4,  hospitality businesses must stay closed apart from for takeaway service, click-and-collect, drive-through and delivery.

Indoor entertainment and tourist venues are closed.

Essential businesses like banks, opticians, dentists and garden centres will stay open.

Original Source

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