PM gives go-ahead for Brent shops, beer gardens and hairdressers to reopen on April 12

Hair salon owner Christine Harvey

Christine Harvey, who runs Through the Looking Glass hair salon, is looking forward to reopening on April 12. Picture: BRENT COUNCIL - Credit: Brent Council

High-street traders in Brent were given a boost as prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed non-essential shops and outdoor hospitality would reopen on April 12. 

He held a press conference on bank holiday Monday as his lockdown easing roadmap remained on track following the Covid pandemic. 

The announcement came with a reminder for residents to Shop Safe, Shop Local – the name of the Brent Council campaign to reawaken the high street. 

Throughout the Covid pandemic the Brent & Kilburn Times has also been campaigning and appealing for residents to Shop Local and support traders whether visiting the shops or buying from local businesses online during shop and business closures. 

Brent-based businesses are encouraging clients to get in touch ahead of the national “step 2” reopening date of April 12. 

Christine Harvey, who runs Through the Looking Glass hair salon in Watford Road, Sudbury, said she was inundated with messages and phone calls as soon as the roadmap announcement was made. 

“I took everyone’s details and sat down with a spreadsheet like a jigsaw and plotted when they could all come in,” Christine said.  

“I could work seven days a week but I think it would probably kill me after being off for so long. I’m fully booked until the middle of May, but people can still get in touch, either by Facebook or phone, if they want an appointment.” 

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Mal Preedy, the landlord of The Greenman Pub and Hotel, is also looking forward to reopening and is taking bookings for tables in the garden at the top of Wembley Hill in Wembley. 

“We are getting quite a lot of bookings, especially for the first week,” Mal said. “We have run out of money and need to reopen.” 

The Greenman Pub and Hotel has a large outdoor area, and Mal is confident that they won’t run out of space. “We have got plenty of room outside,” he said. “Because we are shut, I have changed the phone number on the website to my number so people can call me directly and make a booking.” 

Across the country businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic and those in Brent are no exception.  

Now is the time to show your support for your local businesses, secure your bookings, and save money, in advance of national restrictions easing on April 12. 

We want to give our town centres, high streets, retailers, small businesses and markets across the borough the best chance possible of bouncing back as the lockdown restrictions are eased, but we must stay safe. 

Shop Safe, Shop Local is a Brent Council campaign aimed at encouraging businesses and shoppers alike to do their bit to stop the further spread of the virus, avoid a third peak, help Brent businesses to bounce back and see life return as much as possible back to normal. 

And here is all the information you need about the April 12 ‘Step 2’ phase. 

Which businesses can reopen? 

Retail outlets deemed "non-essential" will be allowed to reopen their doors from Monday, April 12. 

Personal care businesses such as hairdressers, barbers, beauty and nail salons will also be able to welcome customers once again. 

And indoor gyms and spas can open, though saunas and steam rooms will have to wait at least another five weeks. 

Pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers outside where possible. This time there is no requirement for a "substantial" meal to be served alongside alcohol and no curfew, though people will need to be seated while eating or drinking. 

Other outdoor attractions can begin operating again, such as zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas and other drive-in performances. 

All of these premises must continue to ensure social distancing is adhered to. Indoor settings must only be visited alone or with household groups, while outdoor settings remain limited to six people or two households. 

What else is changing? 

Overnight stays away from home in England will be allowed, while self-contained holiday lets and accommodation can reopen. They must only be used by members of the same household or bubble, however. 

Residents in care homes can now have two different visitors, where they had previously been limited to just one. 

Indoor parent and child groups of up to 15 people – not including children under five – can restart. 

Up to 30 people will be able to attend funerals to say a final goodbye to loved ones, while other commemorative events like weddings, outdoor receptions and wakes can have up to 15 people. 

And a Covid-status certification system will be developed over the next few months, which the government says will allow higher-risk settings to reopen more safely and with more people. 

It will take into account vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity (based on a positive test in the last six months). Pilots will take place from the middle of this month. 

What's still to come? 

Changes to social contact will still have to wait until at least May 17, when the government says it will look at easing limits on seeing and interacting with friends and family. 

It is at this point when the rule of six may be extended to indoor settings. 

Pubs and restaurants will have to wait at least another five weeks until they can welcome customers indoors again. It is hoped most other indoor businesses will be able to reopen by the middle of May. 

May 17 is also when the rest of the accommodation sector, such as hotels and B&Bs, may be able to reopen. 

This is also the mooted date for the resumption of indoor performances – to a socially-distanced crowd – while large outdoor arenas may be able to welcome a crowd up to a quarter of its capacity. 

By June 21, it is hoped all legal limits on social contact will be removed, while remaining businesses such as nightclubs might finally be able to welcome customers once again.