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Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick has today, 30 November 2020, announced that retailers will be able to extend their daily opening hours from Monday to Saturday in the run up to Christmas and through January.

As England returns to a tiered system, from Wednesday 2nd December, all non-essential retail will be able to open and planning rules to limiting opening hours will be eased.

These measures will not only help boost business, it will ease transport pressures and make socially distanced shopping much easier, giving customers flexibility to choose when they shop, avoiding peak times.

Allowing opening hours from Monday to Saturday to extend will mean even safer shopping in the run up to Christmas and through the January sales, when shops are usually much busier.

This builds on the extra government support to help businesses and protect jobs. Including an extension to the furlough scheme at 80% until the end of March, grants of up to £3,000 for premises that must close, and £1.1 billion for councils to enable them to support businesses in their area.

Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

“None of us entirely enjoy navigating the crowds, especially now when social distancing is so important for controlling the pandemic. So with these changes your local shops can open longer, ensuring more pleasant and safer shopping with less pressure on public transport.

“How long will be a choice for shopkeepers and at the discretion of the council. Councils should offer these hard pressed entrepreneurs and businesses the greatest possible flexibility this festive season.”

Consumer Minister Paul Scully said:

“Our number one priority over the Christmas period is to keep the public safe, while ensuring businesses can reopen in a safe and Covid-secure way.

“Extending opening hours for retailers across England will give people more choice about when they can shop, and businesses will have more time to serve their customers safely during the busy festive period.”

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:

“With just over 3 weeks until Christmas, shoppers will welcome the additional opportunities to shop that the government’s statement supports. Such measures will give more flexibility for shoppers about when and how they shop and we’d encourage everyone to avoid peak times where possible, not leave it all to the last minute and follow all the safety guidelines.”

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