However, publishing a full list of stores that can stay open for business hasn’t dissipated the confusion.
This uncertainty was made clear when Michael Gove was forced to clarify that Sports Direct stores could not remain open, despite owner Mike Ashley claiming that the provision of sports equipment was a vital asset.
Although the government has urged the public to only go to the supermarket when necessary, the advice remains ambiguous and there is no set limit on the number of visits people can make to their local store.
Without such guidelines, it is unclear how this advice is supposed to be applied by supermarkets or the competent authorities.
The guidelines state that purchases should only be for “basic necessities” and should be as infrequent as possible. How many times is this?
Ultimately, it is a judgment call for individual households. Food, Energy and Rural Affairs (Defra) officials said the needs of a large family will be different from that of a childless couple.
However, it is hoped that the boards will encourage people to plan for the week rather than picking up items on a daily basis.
Here is our guide to find out which stores remain open and which are closed.
What essential stores are open?
Stores that are exempt from government bans are food retailers, pharmacies, hardware stores, convenience stores, gas stations, hospital stores, post offices, banks, newsagents, laundromats and pet stores.
Which stores will be forced to close?
Stores deemed non-essential will now be closed. These include stores selling clothes, books and electrical appliances, as well as hairdressers, guesthouses and markets, both indoors and outdoors.
What happens to stores that do not conform?
The government has said stores that open in defiance of the ban could be prosecuted by trade standards officers.