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Spending spree predicted on ‘Mega Monday’

Written by: Emma Lunn
People in England can have haircuts, go to the gym, enjoy a pint outside, and hit the high street from today.

The day many of us have been counting down to has finally arrived. The next phase of lockdown easing has begun, meaning England’s pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes will be allowed to re-open, albeit only for outdoor service.

Pubs will have a limit of six people or two households per group. But unlike previous rules, there is no requirement to buy a ‘substantial meal’ or leave by a set curfew.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) expects pubs and restaurants and other dining across England to rake in £314m from outdoor customers this week alone. A quarter of adults said they plan to visit a pub within the first week of restrictions being lifted, and a tenth said they will visit a pub today, according to a survey.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) says the pub industry has invested more than £285m to keeps pubs going. Some of the money has been used to help make sure pubs are Covid-secure, as well as buying marquees, outdoor heaters, outdoor beer pumps and fridges.

Non-essential retail, gyms, swimming pools, nail salons, hairdressers, libraries, and outdoor attractions are also all allowed to reopen from today.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retailers are excited about welcoming back their customers. They have spent hundreds of millions on making their premises Covid-secure; weeks preparing shops for reopening; and countless hours training staff on the latest safety measures. The three lockdowns have cost non-food stores approximately £30bn in lost sales – and it vital that they are able to make their contribution to the UK’s economic recovery.

“While we expect an initial surge in spending when shops first open, the real test will be how this holds up. Many of us will be looking forward to returning to our favourite shop in the coming weeks, and we all have a duty to keep each other safe. Everyone should be considerate and respectful to their fellow shoppers and hard-working shop staff. This way we can all enjoy shopping and support our local communities.”

Overnight stays away from home in England are now permitted and self-contained accommodation can also reopen, but these must only be used by members of the same household or support bubble. Two specified people can visit care home residents.

All children can now attend any indoor children’s activity, including sport. Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five-years-old) can now restart indoors.

Funerals can continue with up to 30 attendees, while weddings, outdoor receptions, and wakes can take place with up to 15 attendees. Driving lessons can also re-start from today, but tests cannot take place until 22 April.

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