By Luthien Evans | News Editor
It has been confirmed that over the Christmas period shops will be granted the permission to remain open and trade 24 hours a day. This has been granted for the economic purpose of recovering some of the losses caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This has helped the bypassing of the normal procedure for extending the trading window going through the local authorities. The process will allow a temporary waiver of these rules, although businesses are not obliged and can remain open within the normal window solely.
In addition to the economic relief this change may bring for businesses, it has been discussed that it may bring relief for the shoppers too. Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has discussed with the Daily Telegraph, that “with these changes local shops can open longer, ensuring more pleasant and safer shopping with less pressure on public transport.”
Allowing the extension may reduce the heavy traffic in peak times, allowing for a spread through the day, allowing greater adhering to social distancing rules.
Jenrick continued by stating, “As local government secretary I am relaxing planning restrictions and issuing an unambiguous request to councils to allow businesses to welcome us into their glowing stores late into the evening and beyond.”
The economic pressures caused by the COVID lockdowns has caused immense stress on the highstreet. The inability to open has left many companies and groups, such as the Arcadia Group, to be on ‘the brink of collapse’.
Primark has been one of the most vocal businesses around the subject of the new 24 hour regulations. They have stated they intend to have eleven shops open for extended hours during the Christmas period. Primark faced huge losses during the pandemic due to not having an online store. The stores staying open longer are: Trafford, York Monks Cross, Leeds White Rose, Bluewater, Lakeside, Birmingham Fort, Meadowhall, Stratford, White City, Charleton, and Gateshead Metrocentre.
Many supermarkets are also using this period to extend their hours. Sainsbury’s and Marks and Spencer will extend their hours of trade. Tesco have stated that 300 stores will use the entire 24 hour period to be open.
This 24-hour capacity comes in the wake of pubs and restaurants being required to close at 6pm as well as to stop serving alcohol. The two industries will be facing very different economic climates during this holiday season, and likely into the new year.