Lifting coronavirus lockdown: plans to open shops all day on Sundays

Lifting coronavirus lockdown: plans to open shops all day on Sundays

Sunday trading laws could be suspended for a year under Government plans to stimulate the economy amid the Coronavirus crisis.

Downing Street is said to be drawing up legislation to enable larger supermarkets to open for more than six hours on Sundays, according to The Times.

The paper also said cafes and pubs would be given fast-track approval to serve food and drinks outside, doing away with the need for the 28-day minimum statutory consultation period.

The Prime Minister’s main advisor Dominic Cummings, the chancellor Rishi Sunak and the business secretary Alok Sharma are all allegedly in favour of the new proposals.

It comes as leading scientists said an inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK is vital before a second wave hits, as the death toll rises to over 40,000.

The altered Sunday trading laws would coincide with a larger bailout intended to boost retail and hospitality businesses as lockdown restrictions are eased.

This will include licensing laws being streamlined so that cafés and restaurants can serve food outside, removing the present 28-day minimum statutory consultation period.

Ministers have also turned their attention to pubs, and want them to remodel so they’re able to serve customers outside.

Planning restrictions on high street properties will also be simplified, so it’s easier to switch between shops, retail and residential uses.

The new Sunday trading measures and planning laws could be introduced as soon as restrictions end, with ministers convinced the changes will better equip high streets to adapt to a post-coronavirus economy.

In addition, councils will be encouraged to pedestrianise more streets and to allow more outdoor markets so that businesses can adapt to social distancing measures.

The Sunday Trading Act of 1994 allows large stores to open for no more than six consecutive hours between 10am and 6pm, although a cross-party group of 40 MPs is pushing the government to scrap them.

Commenting on plans to relax Sunday trading laws to help businesses trade through the Coronavirus crisis, as reported in The Times, BCC Director General Adam Marshall said: 

“Businesses need to be given every possible opportunity to start to generate sales again.

“If there are rules that can be relaxed to give more companies a fighting chance to trade their way through this crisis without compromising safety, ministers should do everything in their power to make it happen.”

“Businesses need to be given every possible opportunity to start to generate sales again."

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