The UK government has provided some much-needed relief to English stores and salons by announcing that non-essential stores will be able to reopen after the current lockdown ends on December 2. This news comes as a sigh of relief for retailers who were concerned about the potential intensification of the three-tier restrictions, which could have resulted in significant losses during the crucial Christmas shopping season. With this announcement, retailers now have the opportunity to reopen their physical stores just in time for the holiday rush.

In addition to non-essential stores, beauty salons and hairdressers will also be permitted to resume operations. The salon industry has been particularly hard-hit this year, with many independent establishments being forced to close their doors. Recognizing the hardships faced by these businesses, the prime minister expressed sincere apologies for the impact of the coronavirus control measures.

Furthermore, gyms, pubs, and restaurants will also be allowed to open, which is expected to boost sales of activewear and clothing for socializing. The occasionwear market has suffered greatly this year, and with the festive season being a crucial time for party looks, retailers are optimistic about a surge in December sales for these styles. Additionally, the temporary allowance for families to socialize during Christmas week is anticipated to provide a much-needed uplift for the fashion sector.

However, despite these positive developments, there remains uncertainty about the potential for future lockdowns for non-essential retail in the coming year. To prioritize the avoidance of future lockdowns, the UK government plans to implement a new mass testing program alongside the tier system. Learning from the shortcomings of the previous test and trace system, rapid mass testing will be introduced in areas categorized under the highest tier to prevent the need for another complete lockdown. The specific areas assigned to each tier will be announced on Thursday.

Useful links:
1. Government Guidance on Local Restriction Tiers
2. BBC News Article on Reopening of English Stores and Salons