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When are non-essential shops allowed to reopen, and which stores are open now?

The top two tiers of coronavirus restrictions now apply to 99 per cent of England, meaning pubs, restaurants and entertainment venues have reopened with constraints or stay closed.

More than 40 per cent of the population have entered Tier 3 and only Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isles of Scilly returned to Tier 1.

Non-essential retail, hairdressers and gyms are open in all tiers, unlike the first system of local restrictions.

Despite a rebellion from dozens of Tory MP’s at the House of Commons vote on the new tiers, and backlash from businesses, Matt Hancock said the restrictions were here to stay for the “forthcoming few months.”

With the exciting news that a vaccine has been approved in England, Mr Hancock encouraged people to “hold their nerve.”

The Health Secretary said: “Between now and then we have to got to hold our nerve, we have got to hold our resolve. We can see the dawn in the distance but we have got to get through to morning.”

The government will review the tiers in each area every 14 days, depending on the case rate, meaning that regions could see restrictions relaxed or strengthened in the weeks to come. The first review will take place on December 16.

Here’s our guide to which shops are open now.

Read more: Find your tier here.

Read More: What exactly is the Pfizer vaccine, who will get it, and is it safe?

What essential shops are open?

Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and retailers providing essential goods and services are open in Tier 3, subject to Covid-secure guidelines.

This means hardware stores, garden centres, banks and post offices are open, but charity shops are not.

You can also go to recycling centres, vets, dentists and opticians.

Non-essential retail can remain open for takeaway, delivery and click-and-collect, but leisure and entertainment facilities are closed.

Read more: How to shop local for all your Christmas gifts

People wearing face masks pass Christmas lights outside shops on Oxford Street, London

What shops can open in Tier 1, 2 and 3?

Restaurants, pubs and bars can reopen, serving until 10pm and closing at 11pm. You can socialise with up to six people indoors and outdoors, and alcohol will only be available via table service.

Hospitality businesses can continue to trade using delivery services, click-and-collect or drive-throughs after 10pm.

Entertainment venues like casinos, cinemas and theaters can open until 11pm, but attendance is limited to either 50 per cent capacity or 4,000 people outdoors and 1,000 people indoors – whichever is lower. 

Non-essential retail, hairdressers and gyms can open, but nightclubs must be closed.

Patrons of pubs and restaurants can only drink alcohol with a substantial meal and may only sit indoors with their household or outdoors with up to six people from different households. 

The same curfews as Tier 1 apply and you can only order using table service. Wet pubs and bars must close.

Entertainment venues must close at 11pm and attendance is limited to either 50 per cent capacity or 2,000 people outdoors and 1,000 people indoors – whichever is lower. 

Non-essential retail, hairdressers and gyms can open.

Unlike in the first tier system, hairdressers and gyms and non-essential retail is open in every tier.

In Tier 3, hospitality businesses must stay closed apart from for takeaway service, click-and-collect, drive-through and delivery.

Indoor entertainment and tourist venues are closed.

Essential businesses like banks, opticians, dentists and garden centres will stay open.

A waitress takes customers' orders at a bar in Leeds on November 4

Are pubs open after lockdown?

Perhaps the most important question in the run-up to Christmas, and the answer is you can drink in Tier 1, drink with food in Tier 2, but it’s a dry month for Tier 3.

You can sit in the pub with up to six friends from different households in the first tier, but you will only be served at your table. 

In Tier 2, you can have a pint so long as it’s with a ‘substantial meal’. Indoors, you can only sit with your household, so if you want to see (up to six) friends you’ll have to brave the cold in the outside seating area.

A Government official has also stated that visitors to the pub in Tier 2 must leave after finishing their ‘substantial meal’. He warned there should be “no lingering” and pub-goers must leave “once their meal is finished”. 

The LGA has suggested a two-hour turnaround as the “maximum amount of time for a meal of multiple courses”. 

Pubs are shut in Tier 3, so patrons will have to stay at home with their household or support bubble if they want a tipple. 

The deal agreed by the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to allow three households to mix at home between December 23 and 27 will not affect pub restrictions.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said there is “every reason” to expect some areas could be moved into a lower tier in their first review on December 16.

Read more: Wetherspoon’s Tim Martin accuses ministers of imposing lockdown ‘by stealth’

Source: When are non-essential shops allowed to reopen, and which stores are open now?

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