Allowing shops to reopen next week from lockdown will help preserve jobs, the British Retail Consortium has said.
The government’s Covid-19 winter plan ensures the current national restrictions can be lifted on 2 December.
That means non-essential retailers that had to close earlier this month, many of which have missed out on important sales in the run-up to Christmas, can reopen from that date.
High street brands, including clothing and jewellery firms, had been waiting for confirmation on whether they could start welcoming customers back to shops from next month.
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “SAGE data has always highlighted that retail is a safe environment, and firms have spent hundreds of millions on safety measures including perspex screens, additional cleaning, and social distancing and will continue to follow all safety guidance. As a result, customers can be reassured that retail premises are Covid-secure and safe to visit over the festive period.”
Dickinson added: “Shops - from high streets to retail parks - play an integral role in the run up to Christmas. While retailers have stepped up their online delivery over the course of 2020, the bulk of Christmas shopping tends to be done in store.”
The BRC boss added the Government's decision to keep all of retail open will help to preserve jobs.
Roger Barker, director of policy at the Institute of Directors, said: “Opening non-essential retail is a huge boost. The run-up to Christmas will be vital for companies, many of whom have invested significantly in becoming Covid-secure. It is now imperative that directors ensure their organisations and customers stick to the distancing guidelines.”