Extended Monday to Saturday opening hours will help people return safely to the main streets when non-essential shops reopen in England from April 12 at the earliest, according to ministers.
The temporary measures will give customers greater flexibility to avoid peak hours and ease transport pressures.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “To help businesses reopen and recover, I have expanded measures to allow stores to stay open longer.
“This is part of a package of support to help reopen our stores and shopping streets safely – backed by £ 56million.
“This will give a much needed boost to many businesses – protecting jobs, reducing pressure on public transport and helping people and communities continue to safely visit their main streets and shop locally.” . ”
Mr Jenrick also wants councils to continue to support social distancing measures and relax planning rules where possible to ensure people can always keep a safe distance on main streets.
And the government is extending flexible working hours on construction sites and allowing food deliveries to supermarkets for longer periods.
It also allows pubs and restaurants to set up marquees to help increase seating capacity in a COVID– in a secure manner.
From April 12 at the earliest, shops, hairdressers, gyms, nail salons, libraries and outdoor attractions such as theme parks will be allowed to reopen.
But no indoor mixing of different households will be allowed.
It is also hoped that from April 12, outdoor hospitality will reopen, including pubs and restaurants – with the rule of six or a larger group of two households.
Customers will not have to purchase a substantial meal to have an alcoholic beverage and there will be no curfew, but people will need to be seated when ordering and eating or drinking.