Coronavirus: Customers 'should not try clothes on' when shops reopen, says Gove

James Morris
Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK

The government has said customers should not try on clothes when shops reopen next month.

Senior cabinet member Michael Gove said shoppers will need to “exercise restraint”.

It comes after Boris Johnson announced all non-essential retail shops will be allowed to reopen on 15 June, provided the daily number of coronavirus cases and deaths continues to fall and businesses are “COVID secure”.

But Gove warned on Monday that shopping habits will have to change compared to before the lockdown was imposed in March.

Michael Gove said customers need to 'exercise restraint' when shops reopen next month. (BBC)
High streets, such as New Street in Birmingham city centre, have been empty since the coronavirus lockdown forced retail stores to close. (In Pictures via Getty Images)

He told BBC Breakfast: “When it comes to touching and testing goods, when it comes to trying on clothing, when it comes to trying make-up and so on – all of us [need to] exercise restraint in not doing that and recognising that as these stores reopen, it is a new normal.”

Gove added social distancing measures used in supermarkets during the lockdown will also be applied in retail stores, raising the prospect of high streets being filled with lines of queuing customers.

He also said stores will need to “have high-quality hygiene” by offering hand sanitiser and ensuring the “highest level” of overnight cleaning. 

The chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Cabinet Office minister said the mass reopening of shops “will allow us to ensure there are a wider range of goods, and will also ensure the economy can return to a new normal – that’s absolutely vital for people’s jobs.

“It’s particularly vital because some of those in our society who are poorer work in retail and we need to provide them with economic security.

“We also need to make sure our economy is restored to greater health because a healthy economy is necessary in order to ensure that our NHS gets the resources it needs in order to keep people well.”

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