Retailers forced to close as the UK goes into Coronavirus lockdown

The UK has gone into full lockdown amid the Coronavirus pandemic, meaning the British public are only allowed to leave their homes for essential trips.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the decision after a surge in Coronavirus cases suggested the UK was only two weeks behind the outbreak level in Italy.

“You must stay at home,” he said in a televised statement on yesterday (Monday) evening.

Non-essential retailers – including electrical retailers, which were pin-pointed by the Prime Minister – were ordered to close their doors.

However, retailers will still stay open for online orders and consumers can have items delivered to their homes.

“You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine,” Mr Johnson added, “and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.”

A number of high street retailers, including John Lewis, had already shut prior to yesterday’s announcement, leaving tens of thousands of people temporarily without work.

Mr Johnson said: “I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.

“And that’s why we have produced a huge and unprecedented programme of support both for workers and for business.”

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement, Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retailers understand the need for government to act quickly and decisively to protect public health and combat Coronavirus. The safety of customers and staff is paramount, which is why retailers have responded swiftly and positively to evolving government guidance on social distancing and other hygiene matters. Indeed, many retailers had gone further and already closed shops temporarily.

Others have continued to provide essential products and services to their customers, both from physical stores and online. Any retailers that remain open will be following the very latest government public health guidance to ensure they do everything they can to ensure the safety of customers and staff.”