consults

Whitehall consults shopkeepers on how to relax the lockdown

Retailers have been asked to draw up plans to reopen stores as ministers begin considering how to gradually ­relax the lockdown.

Industry figures were asked to develop blueprints during a conference call with Whitehall officials, according to participants. No date has been set for reopening non-essential stores. However, sources said the Government is keen to hear from retailers as soon as possible on how the process could be managed following the preliminary discussions on Thursday.

Shops are likely to reopen in phases, with garden centres, toy, electrical and DIY shops thought to be among the first in the queue.

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