Coronavirus: When are non-essential shops in Islington reopening?

Stock image of Cllr Asima Shaikh and Hak Huseyin

Stock image of Cllr Asima Shaikh and Hak Huseyin - Credit: Archant

Shoppers have been urged to support Islington businesses when a raft of ”non-essential” stores reopen their doors from Monday, June 15.

Islington directory of businesses. Picture: Islington Council

Islington directory of businesses. Picture: Islington Council - Credit: Archant

The government is allowing stores selling: clothes, shoes, toys, all furniture stores, books, electronics, and tailors, auction houses and indoor markets to reopen from June 15 – provided they are “Covid-19 ready”.

Retailers must adapt their stores to implement social distancing guidelines, for instance by limiting the number of customers allowed in at a time and by installing protective screens at tills to protect staff. Where possible, businesses are also expected to have sanitiser or handwashing stations at store entrances.

Markets and car show rooms in Islington and across the UK were allowed to reopen on June 1, while essential stores such as supermarkets, pharmacies and corner shops have traded throughout the pandemic.

Hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, and the hospitality sector, will remain closed until further notice because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher where long periods of person to person contact is required.

Baron St , looking towards Chapel Market. Picture: Polly Hancock

Baron St , looking towards Chapel Market. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Hak Huseyin, of Islington Chamber of Commerce, who also runs Absolute Print in Junction Road, told the Gazette: “Unfortunately, during lockdown most people had no choice but to get into buying online and they need to get out and support their local businesses which, again, support their community in the way we employ locally and source locally, where possible. The money really does need to stay in the borough to get the wheels moving.

“Our shops and businesses in the borough are more than somewhere you purchase from, it’s a place people go to talk about what’s happening in their lives, and for us to speak to them because we have all been caged for quite a long time now.”

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Hak predicts reopening highstreet stores will also benefit people’s mental health, adding: “Don’t get me wrong, if there is no business we won’t be here for long, but we also have our regular clients and, for some of them, we are the only place they will visit once a week, the only interaction they will get.

“We need our clients back as soon as they can, as long as it’s safe for and safe us we look forward to welcoming back into our shops and businesses.”

Easter Farm

Easter Farm - Credit: Archant

The government says businesses can only reopen once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks.

Islington’s business chief Cllr Asima Shaikh said: “We are absolutely encouraging residents to support their local high streets by supporting their local, independent shops. We have, over the lockdown period, and now as we are coming out of it, given support to shops to help them adapt safely and adapt their business models.”

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “The high street sits at the heart of every community in the country. Enabling these businesses to open will be a critical step on the road to rebuilding our economy, and will support millions of jobs across the UK.

“The guidance we have set out provides a vital framework to get shops open in a way that is safe for everyone. It explains how retail workers who are not currently working can go back to work as safely as possible and feel confident in their workplace. And it reassures customers that shops are properly assessing the risks and putting in place measures to protect them.”

Islington Council is launching a discretionary grant scheme to support struggling firms from June 15. The council has compiled a list of practical tips on how businesses can reopen safely, which you can see here.

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