Wednesday 25 March 2020 4:37 pm

UK coronavirus: Which retailers are open under lockdown rules?

The government announced a UK coronavirus lockdown on Monday evening, putting limits on work, socialising and going outside.

Addressing the nation, the prime minister said “I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home”.

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Boris Johnson said police will break up public gatherings of more than two people, not including people from the same household, and all weddings and baptisms will be cancelled.

The prime minister said people were still allowed to “go shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible” and non-essential retailers, such as clothing and electronics stores, have shut down in a bid to delay the spread of the virus.

Which retailers are open under the UK coronavirus lockdown?


All supermarkets can remain open under the new UK coronavirus lockdown rules, although some have altered opening times to allow staff enough time to restock shelves and to give NHS staff and elderly and vulnerable specific times to shop.

Grocers have been trying to enforce social distancing rules, with some operating queueing systems and installing plastic barriers to protect staff and shoppers. 


Pharmacies have been classed as essential retailers and are able to stay open during the UK coronavirus outbreak. High street chemists Boots and Superdrug are among the retailers to stay open, although trading hours are reliant on staffing levels and demand in the community. 

“From today our focus will be on keeping open stores where we are necessary to support the local community,” Superdrug said.

“We won’t open if we don’t have enough people to do this safely. We will be reviewing the situation on a store by store basis and as soon as we can each day, will clarify on our website and our social channels what stores will be open. 

“Any open stores will be operating on reduced hours of 10am to 5pm to ensure there is enough time for deep cleaning, stocking shelves and for our colleagues to rest.”

Both chains are experiencing high demand for online shopping services, with Boots operating a virtual queuing system. 


High street banks are allowed to remain open to help customers who do not use online banking, although most have reduced operating hours and services.

“We’re doing our best to keep as many branches open as possible, but many are on reduced hours or closed because of the coronavirus outbreak. All branches are now closed at the weekend until further notice too,” HSBC said. 

Customers are able to make cash deposits and withdrawals, international payments, changes of address and certain other services. 

However the bank cannot offer new products or set up appointments during the UK coronavirus outbreak.

Lloyds has also reduced its opening hours to 10am to 2pm, Monday to Friday. 

Bike shops

Cycling stores have been classed as essential retailers under the government’s lockdown plan. Halfords, which closed all of its stores after Monday’s announcement, announced today that it plans to reopen some branches by the end of this week. 

Halfords said it will offer cycling and motoring services and collection from the front of its stores, while maintaining Public Health England’s two-metre social distancing rules. 

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Meanwhile Evans Cycles, which is owned by Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, has also shut its stores but said it will “make an announcement soon”. 

Veterinary surgeries, pet shops, petrol stations, post offices and launderettes are all allowed to stay open under the UK coronavirus lockdown rules.