Monday 25 May 2020 7:19 pm

Boris Johnson sets out plans for shops and markets to reopen

The Prime Minister has set out plans for the second phase of easing lockdown restrictions from next week, which includes opening non-essential shops from 15 June.

Boris Johnson said there will be a formal assessment of easing the coronavirus lockdown restrictions on Thursday as part of the legal review. However, he has revealed plans to allow outdoor markets and car showrooms to open from 1 June.

He said: “We know transmission is lower outdoors and it is easier to follow social distancing guidelines in open spaces.”

“We can also allow open markets to reopen in a safe way that does not risk causing a second wave.”

The PM also said he intends to allow all other non-essential retail, including department stores and independent shops, to reopen from 15 June. He added: “This is contingent on progress against the five tests and will only be permitted for premises that are Covid-secure.”

Updated workplace guidance for the retail sector to meet social distancing and hygiene criteria will be published.

A further 121 people in the UK have died with coronavirus, bringing the total to 26,914.

The increase in deaths is the second-lowest 24-hour increase since March, and includes deaths in hospitals, care homes and the wider community.

Listen to our daily City View podcast as we chart the economic fallout and business impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Boris’ aide doesn’t regret breaking coronavirus lockdown

It comes just after the PM’s adviser Dominic Cummings made a statement in Downing Street. He said he did not regret breaking lockdown measures to drive to Durham, saying it was an “exceptional circumstance”.

Cummings said his wife had fallen ill on 27 March and, worried he had also been in contact with people with coronavirus symptoms as well as safety issues at home due to “media reports”, Cummings drove to Durham to his parents’ property with his wife and young son.

The PM came out in support of Cummings in Sunday’s press briefing, saying he had acted “legally, reasonably and with integrity”.

However, it emerged on Saturday that Cummings had been spotted on two other occasions in Durham in April.

Cummings clarified today that the drive to Barnard Castle with his wife and son, which was denied by Number 10 on Sunday, was intended to “test” his eyesight after suffering with coronavirus symptoms.

Johnson is facing criticism for his handling of the crisis from his own backbenchers as well as from senior Church of England figures and scientists advising ministers on the crisis. 

Cummings clarified he had not told the PM after travelling because Johnson had just tested positive for coronavirus and “had a million things on his plate.”

Today, Johnson said he thinks Cummings mentioned the trip but “had a lot of things on [his] plate”. He added he “regrets the confusion, the anger and the pain” over the situation.

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