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Which B&Q stores are open in coronavirus lockdown and what are other shops doing?
24 April 2020, 14:18
B&Q has become the first retailer to begin reopening its stores during the coronavirus lockdown.
The DIY chain has reopened 155 outlets across the UK this week but said “social distancing controls” will be in force.
On Thursday, other firms such as Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin and house building company Taylor Wimpey also announced they would be back in May.
But almost all retailers remain shuttered after the Government ordered them to close.
Here, we take a look at which B&Q stores are now open and what the official guidelines say on the possibility of other chains opening up.
Which B&Q stores have reopened?
B&Q trialled a phased reopening of 14 stores last weekend, before opening a further 61 sites on April 22 and another 80 on April 23.
In London, reopened branches include Acton, Beckton, Chiswick, Cricklewood, Croydon, Enfield, Greenwich, Leyton, New Malden, Peckham, Sutton & Yeading.
In other major UK cities, stores now back open for business include Birmingham (Erdington, Halesowen & Solihull), Bristol (Longwell Green & Hartcliffe), Cambridge, Exeter, Leeds (Beeston Ring Road & Killingbeck), Liverpool (Aintree & Liverpool Shopping Park),
Newcastle (Scotswood), Nottingham Eastwood, Manchester (Cheetham Hill & Trafford Park), Plymouth, Sheffield (Queens Road), Southampton (Hedge End & Nursling), York (Clifton Moor & Hull Road). For the full list, see here.
Belfast (Holywood Exchange); Lisburn (Sprucefield); Newtownabbey.
Aberdeen - Bridge Of Don & Garthdee Road; Bishopbriggs; Coatbridge; Dundee; East Kilbride; Edinburgh - Hermiston Gait & Newcraighall; Glasgow – Darnley, Great Western Rd & Parkhead; Inverness; Kirkcaldy; Paisley.
Caerphilly; Cardiff; Cardiff (Culverhouse Cross); Merthyr Tydfil; Newport; Swansea.
Is this in line with Government social distancing advice?
The Government has already said that “non-essential” travel outside of the house is banned, meaning anything other than a job, shopping or medical necessity or exercise risks you being fined by the police.
Official guidance outlines that the shops exempt from the ban are food retailers, pharmacies, hardware stores, corner shops, petrol stations, shops in hospitals, post offices, banks, newsagents, laundrettes and pet shops.
After Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the restrictions in March, chain Sports Direct tried to claim it was “essential” and was swiftly ordered to close by ministers.
B&Q is calling itself an “essential retailer”, and indeed it falls under several of the Government’s exempted store categories, including “hardware shops and equipment, plant and tool hire” and “agricultural supplies shops”.
Previously it was just running Click & Collect and delivery services - with an online queue of up to an hour - in line with most other UK retailers, with the Government guidelines saying “online retail is still open and encouraged”.
As for Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin and Taylor Wimpey, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Thursday he was “comfortable” with them reopening if they stick to social distancing rules by keeping 2m apart.
What is B&Q doing to follow social distancing?
The DIY store said it was implementing a raft of measures to protect customers, such as limits on how many customers can enter stores, spacing in queues and designated queuing areas outside stores.
It also said delivery drivers would stand 6ft away from doors when dropping off items.
Opening hours across the 155 reopened B&Q stores will be 8am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am until 4pm on Sundays.
What are other stores doing?
Ministers maintain that it is “still too soon” to change anything about our lockdown, and almost every high street store in the UK therefore remains shut.
B&Q rival DIY stores Screwfix and Wickes remain closed due to coronavirus.
Supermarkets are among those which have stayed open throughout lockdown with reduced opening times.
Sainsbury’s was the latest to email customers on April 24 bringing in four changes: most stores will open from 8am to 10pm, unwanted substituted items will not be accepted on the doorstep, vulnerable shoppers can order over the phone as opposed to online, and protective screens have been installed at checkouts.