Which shops can stay open during England’s second national lockdown? Full list of essential shops


SOME shops have been ordered to close during England’s second national lockdown, while some are allowed to stay open – but what shops are they?

Just like the previous coronavirus lockdown, some stores can operate like normal because they are considered to be essential.

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Supermarkets will be open as usual and can sell any items they have in stock

Supermarkets and chemists are among the places that can stay open so shoppers can still access groceries and medicines.  

But clothes shops and toy stores are among those forced to close, because the items they sell are not essential. 

Instead, many of them are offering click and collect services and online delivery.

The government hopes the strict new measures will curb new coronavirus infections, which are rising at an alarming rate. 

But unlike the previous lockdown, schools and nurseries will remain open so children can continue to get their education and parents can still rely on childcare. 

People in England will face a £200 for leaving home without a reasonable excuse.

You must not leave home unless it’s for work, exercise, medical need, to get food, or a string of other reasons.

These are the shops that are allowed to stay open during the four-week national lockdown.

What shops and businesses can remain open?

Supermarkets will be allowed to remain open as usual so shoppers can still get hold of their groceries, including food and household items like cleaning products and toiletries. 

The Prime Minister has said that the lockdown won’t affect supply chains so there’s no need to stockpile items or buy more than you usually do.

And supermarkets have asked people to shop considerately and only buy what they need.

Some of the supermarkets still have buying limits in place on some items and all of them have rules you should follow when going into stores, such as following social distancing signage and wearing a face covering, unless exempt.

We’ve rounded up the rules and restrictions for you so you can be prepared when going shopping.

Banks and Post Offices will stay open as well, so customers will be still be able to manage their finances. 

In general, shops that are closed under the rules, like Argos, are still offering delivery and click-and-collect.

The government has published a short list of all the businesses that are allowed to stay open over the next month.

It is largely the same as the list of those which were allowed to stay open during the March lockdown. These include: 

  • Supermarkets
  • Newsagents
  • Convenience stores
  • Food markets
  • Corner shops
  • Takeaways and food deliveries
  • Off licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol (including breweries)
  • Pharmacies and chemists
  • Hardware stores
  • Building merchants and building services
  • Petrol stations
  • Car repair and MOT services
  • Bicycle shops
  • Taxi or vehicle hire businesses
  • Banks
  • Building societies
  • Credit unions
  • Short term loan providers
  • Savings clubs
  • Cash points
  • Currency exchanges
  • Money transfer shops
  • Post offices
  • Funeral directors
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • Dental services
  • Opticians
  • Hearing services
  • Chiropody
  • Chiropractors
  • Osteopaths
  • Mental health services
  • Vets
  • Pet shops
  • Agricultural supplies shop
  • Storage and distribution facilities
  • Car parks
  • Public toilets
  • Garden centres
  • Retail shops in hospitals

What shops and businesses have to close?

Most of us will need to resort to internet shopping to buy things like clothes, electronics, books and Christmas presents as non-essential shops are closed until lockdown is lifted, which is expected to be 2 December.

This includes stores that only sell clothes, electronics, books, gifts and homeware. 

All pubs, bars and restaurants in England have also been ordered to temporarily close for a second time. 

The hospitality industry is said to be “devastated” after leading industry trade body, UKHospitality, warned that another lockdown would force businesses to close.   

They will be allowed to continue operating for takeaways and deliveries of food.

And the government has confirmed that you can still get a takeway pint, but only if you have ordered in advance. Socialising with one other person from outside of your household outdoors is allowed, so you can meet a friend for a pint on a park bench. 

Gyms and other fitness centres will also close, even though they were the last to reopen after the first lockdown lifted. 

These are the businesses that have to close until December 2:

  • Restaurants

  • Cafes, unless canteens or hospital kitchens

  • Pubs

  • Bars

  • Non-essential shops
  • Social clubs

  • Cinemas

  • Theatres

  • Nightclubs

  • Bingo halls

  • Concert halls

  • Museums

  • Galleries

  • Casinos

  • Betting shops

  • Spas

  • Nail shops

  • Beauty salons

  • Hair salons

  • Barbers

  • Tanning salons

  • Massage parlours

  • Strip clubs

  • Hostess bars

  • Tattoo and piercing studios

  • Skating rinks

  • Dance studios

  • Fitness studios

  • Gyms

  • Sports courts

  • Swimming pools (outdoors and indoors)

  • Bowling alleys

  • Amusement arcades

  • Playgrounds or soft play areas

  • Circuses, funfairs and fairgrounds

  • Theme parks and adventure parks

  • Outdoor sports centres or amenities, including water sports, stables, shooting and archery, gold courses, driving ranges, outdoor gyms and water parks

  • Outdoor markets (apart from livestock and those selling food)

  • Car showrooms

  • Auction houses

  • Model villages

  • Visitor attractions at film studios

  • Aquariums 

  • Zoos

  • Safari parks

  • Farms

  • Indoor attractions

  • Conference centres and exhibition halls


Support groups, such as those for victims of crimes, people in drug and alcohol recovery, and new parents, will be allowed to continue. 

Job Centre Plus sites, courts and civil registration offices will also stay open.

Anyone breaking the rules will be liable for fines from at least £30 – and up to £1,000.

What else is not allowed?

Other activities that will be banned include:

  • Pubs and restaurants will shut but will be allowed to do takeaways and deliveries
  • International travel will be banned – except for work
  • No overnight stays and internal UK-wide travel is discouraged
  • All non-essential retail will close, but supermarkets will be able to sell any and all goods they like
  • There will be a nationwide ban on people mixing indoors – except for childcare

Nurseries and schools are allowed to stay open, and exercise is allowed – but only outdoors. 

How long will the second national lockdown last?

The new measures will last for a month. It will begin on November 5 and last until December 2, when it will be reviewed. 

However, there is already speculation that the measures will last even longer than planned. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said he only “hopes” the national shutdown can end on December 2 – as minister warned “all bets are off”.

The government hopes to revert back to the localised tiered lockdown system depending on the rates of infection in December. 

Mr Sunak announced the furlough scheme will be extended until MARCH 2021 to support jobs beyond the second lockdown.

The Prime Minister vowed lockdown will end on 2 December after the extension of the furlough scheme sparked fears it could go on longer.

All areas across the UK are expected to enter Tier 3 — with some facing even stricter controls

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