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Non-essential stores close in England and Scotland amid new lockdowns


Non-essential stores close in England and Scotland amid new lockdowns

All non-essential retailers in England and Scotland have closed once
again amid new, stricter lockdown measures across both countries.

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced Monday that, as of
midnight, all non-essential stores would close, people should remain at
home and schools would close until February.

A few hours later, prime minister Boris Johnson made a similar
announcement about England.

A review of the restrictions is expected to take place in England in
mid-February “if the situation in hospitals improves”.

Northern Ireland and Wales have already made similar announcements,
meaning all non-essential retailers in the UK are now closed.

It comes amid a drastic increase in cases seen across the UK attributed
to the new variant of Covid-19 which scientists have confirmed is between
50 and 70 percent more transmissible.

Non-essentail stores shut across the UK

On 4 January, there were 26,626 Covid patients in hospitals in England,
an increase of over 30 percent in just one week.

The case rate in England up to 29 December was 478.5 per 100,000 people,
three times higher than on 1 December.

The lockdown announcements, though largely expected, will certainly
sting for retailers who just months ago were hoping to salvage lost revenue
over the important Christmas and January sales periods.

Responding to the announcement of a national lockdown in England,
British Retail Consortium (BRC) CEO Helen Dickinson said in a statement:
“The consequences of these latest restrictions – with non-essential retail
already closed for several weeks – will be severe for many businesses who
yet again face losing 2 billion pounds per week in sales. Already, 178,000
retail jobs have been lost in 2020, and with over 250,000 retail staff
currently on furlough, that number could increase dramatically in the new
year.

“Retailers want to trade their way to recovery but if they are forced to
close then further financial support will be needed or many businesses will
go bust and thousands of viable jobs will be lost. The biggest difference
the government can make is to extend business rates relief from April for
those hardest hit by repeated lockdowns.”

Image: Bond Street via New West Company LinkedIn



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