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Temporary relaxation to non-essential retailers' opening hours from 12 April

The government would like local planning authorities to continue to take a positive and flexible approach to planning enforcement action to support economic recovery and support social distancing while it remains in place, and has asked that non-essential retailers are given the opportunity to extend their daily opening hours from 7am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, to ensure there is a safe retail environment when non-essential shops reopen from 12 April. 

Where non-essential retailers chose to extend their daily opening hours, the relaxation will help spread footfall, ease transport pressures, and make shopping in a socially distanced way easier for shoppers through greater flexibility in choosing when to shop and avoid peak times.  

Extended retail opening hours will be possible, from Step 2 of the roadmap (no earlier than 12 April) until the introduction of Step 4 of the roadmap (scheduled for no earlier than 21 June 2021). Planning enforcement will not operate in relation to extended non-essential retail opening hours between 7am to 10am, Monday to Saturday, during this time. 

It is recognised that longer retail opening hours may have a temporary impact on local residents, but this needs to be balanced by the significant public interest in ensuring there is a safe retail environment when non-essential shops reopen. The 10pm limitation should also mitigate the impact for residents.   

There will be no change in licensing restrictions on retailers.  

Further information can be found in the government’s ministerial statement (25 March 2021).