First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that the next easing of restrictions will go ahead in April, including plans for the reopening of shops.
Addressing the Scottish Parliament on 20 April, the first minister reiterated plans for the further relaxation of lockdown rules on 26 April, with the reopening of non-essential retail among the restrictions being eased.
Garden centres and home furniture shops already reopened their doors on 5 April, but other stores have remained shut in the meantime.
Here is when restrictions will be lifted for shops – and which stores will reopen.
When can non-essential shops reopen?
Sturgeon has confirmed that all non-essential stores can reopen from 26 April.
From 5 April, retail restrictions eased with the return of click and collect services and the reopening of garden centres and homeware stores.
And from 26 April, all non-essential will be able to reopen under level three guidelines. Close contact services such as beauty salons can also reopen, in addition to indoor attractions and public buildings such as galleries, museums and libraries.
Which shops closed during lockdown?
Between the start of lockdown on Boxing Day until 5 April, only essential stores such as those selling food, pet supplies and medicine, as well as post offices, fuel stations and DIY stores had remained open.
All other non-essential shops were closed, including clothes stores, toy shops, homeware and electronic goods stores.
This approach was taken across all four nations of the UK, and businesses across the country were forced to close down their stores and only trade online.
Which stores will reopen after lockdown?
From 26 April, non-essential shops allowed to reopen include:
- Clothes stores
- Car showrooms
- Tobacco and vape shops
- Electronic goods shops
- Toy shops
- Gift shops
- Auction houses
Market stalls selling any non-essential items will also be allowed to reopen.
What rules are likely to be in place when shops reopen?
While the First Minister said some changes to the tiered structure could be made prior to stores reopening, level three restrictions will largely be in place when shops reopen until a review of easing further restrictions is announced.
Rules such as mask wearing in shops, shopping centres and fitting rooms remaining closed are likely to be reintroduced. We might also see numbers in shops being limited so queues could be necessary outside shops.
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has commented previously that in general non-essential retail is ‘low risk’ when social distancing measures are in place and face masks are worn.