Islington's 'non essential' businesses to reopen on April 12

Hak Huseyin, chair of Islington Chamber of Commerce and a partner at Absolute Print in Junction Road, Archway

Hak Huseyin, chair of Islington Chamber of Commerce and co-owner of Absolute Print in Junction Road, Archway - Credit: Absolute Print

High-street traders in Islington are excited to reopen, after prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed non-essential shops and outdoor hospitality will reopen on April 12.

“Step 2” of the lockdown easing roadmap still remains on track, as daily national infections fall to just over 2,300 and deaths to about 20 a day.

He made the announcement on Easter Monday to the delight of traders around the country.

Hak Huseyin, chair of Islington Chamber of Commerce and a partner at Absolute Print in Junction Road, Archway, said: “We watch the news everyday, and it's part of our routine now to look at the numbers. We are down to 26 deaths which is still shocking, and any death is too much - but from where we were, we are going in the right direction.”

Although his printing shop has been open for people to collect orders, customers have not been allowed through the doors during the lockdown.

He now “can't wait” to open back up - with face masks and hand sanitiser in tow.

He said: “I'm very excited. It's been awful. Our regulars have been asking when we are going to open. We are creatures who love social interaction, which is why it’s been devastating for mental health. 

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"We’ve been here for 25 or 30 years, and our regulars come in and will talk to us for 15 minutes and that might have been the only interaction for them that day.

“I hope for them they've found other ways of interacting.”

Along with "non-essential" retail outlets, hairdressers, barbers, beauty and nail salons will also be able to welcome customers once again on Monday.

Indoor gyms and spas can also open, and pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers outside where possible. 

Across the country businesses have been hit hard by the Covid pandemic and those in Islington are no exception.

The Gazette has been campaigning and appealing for residents to Shop Local and support traders, whether visiting the shops or buying from local businesses online while they have been closed.

Now is the time to show your support for your local businesses, book tables at outside hospitality venues for the coming weeks and to give our high streets a much needed boost.

Are you reopening? Email so we can profile your business and help you get back on track.

Here is all the information you need about the April 12 ‘Step 2’ phase.

Which businesses can reopen?

Retail outlets deemed "non-essential" will be allowed to reopen their doors from Monday, April 12.

Personal care businesses such as hairdressers, barbers, beauty and nail salons will also be able to welcome customers once again.

And indoor gyms and spas can open, though saunas and steam rooms will have to wait at least another five weeks.

Pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers outside where possible. This time there is no requirement for a "substantial" meal to be served alongside alcohol and no curfew, though people will need to be seated while eating or drinking.

Other outdoor attractions can begin operating again, such as zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas and other drive-in performances.

All of these premises must continue to ensure social distancing is adhered to. Indoor settings must only be visited alone or with household groups, while outdoor settings remain limited to six people or two households.

What else is changing?

Overnight stays away from home in England will be allowed, while self-contained holiday lets and accommodation can reopen. They must only be used by members of the same household or bubble, however.

Residents in care homes can now have two different visitors, where they had previously been limited to just one.

Indoor parent and child groups of up to 15 people – not including children under five – can restart.

Up to 30 people will be able to attend funerals to say a final goodbye to loved ones, while other commemorative events like weddings, outdoor receptions and wakes can have up to 15 people.

And a Covid-status certification system will be developed over the next few months, which the government says will allow higher-risk settings to reopen more safely and with more people.

It will take into account vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity (based on a positive test in the last six months). Pilots will take place from the middle of this month.

What's still to come?

Changes to social contact will still have to wait until at least May 17, when the government says it will look at easing limits on seeing and interacting with friends and family.

It is at this point when the rule of six may be extended to indoor settings.

Pubs and restaurants will have to wait at least another five weeks until they can welcome customers indoors again. It is hoped most other indoor businesses will be able to reopen by the middle of May.

May 17 is also when the rest of the accommodation sector, such as hotels and B&Bs, may be able to reopen.

This is also the mooted date for the resumption of indoor performances – to a socially-distanced crowd – while large outdoor arenas may be able to welcome a crowd up to a quarter of its capacity.

By June 21, it is hoped all legal limits on social contact will be removed, while remaining businesses such as nightclubs might finally be able to welcome customers once again.