As retail looks towards re-opening, the public should expect things to be very different.

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As the Prime Minister announced a phased re-opening of non-essential retail, beginning with outdoor markets and car showrooms, from the 1st June, followed by others, including indoor markets and shopping centres from 15th June, this is far from going back to normal.

Businesses will have to ensure they are “COVID-safe” for customers and staff.

So what is that likely to mean in practice?

The queues to get into supermarkets are likely to be a key feature of all retail outlets, with many strictly restricting numbers. So from a small bookshop, that may only be able to accept 2 customers at a time upto a shopping centre that may be able to accept a few hundred. It will all be done, taking into account, the ability of people to have the space to social distance.

In larger stores and shopping centres, one-way systems are likely to be put in place, with additional staff to ensure people follow the new ways of shopping. The Mall in Blackburn have already installed the signage for a one way system in the shopping centre.

Hand sanitising stations will be appearing in lots of locations and there will probably be more signage about the 2 metre social distancing guidance, than signage for sales or anything else.

Many businesses may well even be asking that you shop alone, or at least in small groups, and depending on the guidelines at the time, you may still only be allowed to shop with people from your own household.

We’ll have to wait and see!

And, for those of you, who need a haircut, your nails done or a meal out with friends or even a drink in the pub or a few nights away, the wait is likely to be longer as these businesses are not included in the first phases of reopening.