What can and can’t stay open in the UK?

Essential stores

Some premises are allowed to stay open. These include:

  • Supermarkets and other food shops.
  • Health shops
  • Pharmacies, including non-dispensing pharmacies
  • Petrol stations
  • Bicycle shops
  • Home and hardware shops
  • Launderettes and dry cleaners
  • Garages
  • Car rentals
  • Pet shops
  • Corner shops
  • Newsagents
  • Post offices
  • Banks
  • NEW: Off-licences and licensed shops selling alcohol, including those within breweries

On Wednesday morning, the government also added off-licences and other shops licensed to sell alcohol to the list of “essential businesses” that can stay open during the coronavirus lockdown, after facing pressure from trade bodies such as the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA). This includes shops that are located in breweries.

The last minute addition could provide some much-needed relief to alcohol retailers. There was some confusion in the retail sector yesterday over what counts as a “corner shop” or “food shop”, which led to many keeping their doors open. Wine retailer Majestic sent a letter to staff to say its stores will be closed to the public, but that it will continue to make deliveries, and has instead opened “dark stores”. In an email sent out to staff on Tuesday, Majestic executive director John Colley said staff will now be expected to work on ramping up the retailer’s delivery sevice.

“To be clear, you will therefore be expected to come to work tomorrow, if you were due to be in.”

Oddbins stayed open yesterday, but sent a note to all staff on Tuesday evening announcing it would close its stores.

A spokesperson for the retailer told db it had now closed, after “much deliberation” over whether it qualified as an essential retailer.

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