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Live Reporting

Jennifer Meierhans, Jay Vydelingum, Rob England and Chris Heard

All times stated are UK

  1. Thanks for joining us

    Rob England

    BBC News

    We've seen joy and frustration from shoppers, and queues, lots of queues, as retailers across England reopened for the first time since lockdown began in March.

    But, as all things must, our live coverage has come to an end for the day.

    Join us again tomorrow morning at 07:30 for all the latest coronavirus news and updates.

    Stay safe.

  2. In pictures: Shops in England reopen

    Shoppers queue for a Primark store

    Here's the view from across England as non-essential shops opened today for the first time since lockdown began in March.


    Nike shop


    Birmingham Primark queues


    Shoppers on a Southampton High Street
  3. Shops reopen: Hand sanitiser, masks and protective shields

    It is the first day in nearly three months that shops selling non-essential goods, such as clothing and electronics, have been allowed to open.

    Here's a quick roundup of what the first day of shopping looked like:

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: Shoppers in England rush back to the High Street
  4. Shop job adverts down three quarters on last year

    Daniel Wainwright

    BBC England Data Unit

    With millions of workers on furlough and workplaces closed due to lockdown, bosses across many industries stopped hiring.

    According to analysis by the Office for National Statistics, the volume of job adverts posted in the last month is less than half the average for 2019.

    Catering and hospitality and manufacturing have seen the biggest slumps – down to 18% and 21% of their average for last year.

    Retail and wholesale job adverts have also fallen to below a quarter of last year's average.

    The ONS compiled the figures by analysing the jobs website Adzuna.

    A chart showing how retail job adverts have fallen sharply
  5. What have people been buying?

    Rob England

    BBC News

    As people joined queues outside many shops across England, what were they looking to buy after three months of lockdown?

    Retailer John Lewis reported the first products sold at the two stores it reopened today was a china tea set, in Kingston, and an iPhone 11, at its Poole store in Dorset.

    Today's top sellers included buttons, face masks, towels, sofas, egg cups and baby sleepsuits.

    John Lewis in Kingston

    The company said the popularity of buttons appeared to be down to the items being used in conjunction with face masks to stop the elastic straps rubbing behind the ears.

    They are also thought to have been wanted by people who have taken up sewing and knitting during lockdown, requiring buttons for their handmade goods.

    Other popular items sold on Monday were pillowcases and bed sheets, televisions and printer cartridges, it added.

  6. 'Jobs at risk' if two-metre rule stays in place

    Rob England

    BBC News

    Despite a good start for shops on Monday, social distancing rules must be relaxed or thousands of jobs could be at risk, a retail boss has said.

    It comes as non-essential stores complying with government coronavirus guidelines welcomed customers for the first time since lockdown began.

    Zara store on the West End

    Jace Tyrrell, chief executive at New West End Company - a partnership of 600 retail, restaurant, hotel and property owners - said: "The businesses that have opened have a nice customer trade coming in, people are queueing, which is very good."

    Mr Tyrrell added that the two-metre (6ft) rule could cause up to 50,000 jobs to be at risk if it stayed in place due to loss of sales.

    "There's no doubt this year will be one of the most challenging ever we have experienced in retail in the West End," he said.

    "If we don't address social distancing and the international quarantine, we could easily see over 50,000 job losses here... alone. We could lose about £5 billion in sales, so of course it is going to be a long recovery."

  7. Shops face balance between shopper experience and safety

    Marc Ashdown

    Shop reopening

    From tiny traders to billion pound behemoths, the lockdown saw businesses across London plunged into a sudden deep freeze.

    Now the task of reviving them from hibernation begins.

    It’s not as simple as flinging the doors open and welcoming a shop full of eager customers once again. There are serious questions for shops of all shapes and sizes around how to keep staff and customers safe, but also how viable they genuinely can be in this radically different trading climate.

    For London’s beleaguered smaller high streets, those who survive the thaw may actually see a boost in trade. Bargain offers could whet the appetite, as long as social distancing measures convince shoppers to venture out.

    But with the message to avoid public transport still ringing loud and clear, a walk down the local parade or town centre may seem a much more attractive proposition now than kitting the family in masks and dragging them to the West End for a day out.

    The trick will be balance and flexibility.

    The balance between the shopper experience and safety will be delicate and needs to be attractive enough to entice people in. So queuing systems, protective equipment and distancing has to be managed in a sensible way to maintain confidence and enjoyment.

    But if it all starts to go wrong, those who show the flexibility to adapt and change things up quickly will have a better chance of surviving and even thriving.

  8. What are people buying?

    Shantel Brown and daughter Tee

    Shantel Brown, 35, was shopping in Milton Keynes with her daughter Tee, who is 16.

    Shantel said: "I bought nightwear and baby clothes because Primark was open. I'm pregnant and I've been waiting to get some baby stuff.

    "Everyone keeps their distance. They've got sanitiser at the entrance. As long as we've got our masks on we're fine."

    Tee added: "I bought tops, shorts and summer clothes. I came because mum forced me."

    Greg Dulson

    Greg Dulson, 68, was shopping for a new watch strap.

    "The strap on my favourite watch broke and I brought it in to the watchmaker's the day before lockdown," he said.

    "They said come back tomorrow, but it was closed!"

    Katie Kirby and Zac Hopkins

    Katie Kirby, who is 18, was shopping with her 21-year-old boyfriend Zac Hopkins.

    "I bought a jumpsuit because Primark was open and the weather's getting better again," said Katie. "I did go just to get some essentials like pants and socks, but I when I saw the jumpsuit I had to treat myself because the shops haven't been open for so long."

    "We do keep our distance in the store. We thought it would be a different shopping experience but once we were in there it was just the same."

    Zac Hopkins added: "I bought a skipping rope, so I can do some exercise at home."

  9. 'Good to get economy going' - Shoppers welcome reopening

    James Dawson

    BBC Yorkshire

    As thousands of people head back to high streets across the country for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic started, I've been speaking to shoppers in Leeds.

    Bertran Hardy and Lauryn Wiley

    Bertran Hardy and Lauryn Wiley (pictured above), both 18, have been out shopping in Leeds today while trying to maintain social distance from each other.

    "How they’ve done it is really [good], how everything is socially distanced,” Bertran said of the re-opened stores.

    “I like that all the shops have got hand sanitiser. It think it’s good to get the economy going again.”

    Lauryn added that the pair have “avoided the queues” by shopping at quieter retailers.

    Bertran also says he now feels less worried about coronavirus than he did at the beginning of lockdown.

    “As the measures have become less strict, everyone’s forgotten about it and it’s now less of a worry," he said.

  10. Traffic light controls sprayed in the West End

    View more on twitter

    Pedestrian controls at traffic lights in Oxford Street are being sprayed to try to protect people as shops reopen in London's West End.

    Hand sanitising points, markings on pavements and signs reminding people to keep 2m (6ft) apart are among other measures which have been introduced.

  11. 'I can't let my family's 200-year-old shop close'

    A shoe shop run by eight generations of the same family for more than 200 years has reopened today.

    WJ French & Son has been trading in Southampton since 1803, but estimates it has lost more than £100,000 during the lockdown.

    Social distancing measures include plastic screens so shoes can be safely fitted by staff.

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: 200-year-old family shoe business set to reopen
  12. Shoppers brave the queues as stores reopen

    Eager shoppers have rushed to the high street as non-essential shops reopened for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown was imposed.

    Queues have formed outside stores, retail parks and shopping centres across the north west region including Cheshire Oaks and Liverpool One.

    Video content

    Video caption: High streets, retail parks and shopping centres have been given the green light to reopen
  13. Footfall across high streets 'up 50%'

    Shoppers in Primark

    The number of people visiting shops in England was up by almost half on Monday morning, the latest data from retail experts has suggested.

    It comes as shoppers rush to non-essential stores across the country after three months of closures due to lockdown.

    Springboard, the firm which collects the data, said retail footfall across high streets, shopping centres and retail parks in England increased by 41.7% in comparison to last week.

    Footfall in England's high streets alone was up by 51.7%, the company said, although it added that footfall across all retail destinations in England was about a third less than on the same day last year.

  14. Shoppers rush back to the High Street

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: Shoppers in England rush back to the High Street

    Shoppers in England rush back to the High Street, as retailers reopen for the first time in nearly three months.

  15. Hundreds queue as shops reopen in Yorkshire

    Hundreds of people queued outside shops in Yorkshire this morning as they opened for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Video content

    Video caption: It's a waiting game for shoppers in Leeds and Sheffield as retailers reopen their doors.
  16. Shoppers flock to Coventry city centre

    Queues have formed outside several city centre shops in Coventry, where some non-essential stores have reopened in line with the rest of England.

    City centre
    Sports Direct
    JD Sports

    Sports Direct and JD Sports in the city centre have opened for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown, along with Primark.

    Improvement work around the city centre is continuing, said the council, with a few issues "still to be ironed out," as the spaces open back up again.

  17. 'It's great to be back in business'

    Tony Wade, who runs jewellery shop A Simmonds in Canterbury, said he was pleased to be back at work, as many non-essential stores in England reopened for the first time in three months today.

    Much to his delight, he was welcomed back by a queue of 10 customers when his shop opened this morning.

    Shop owner

    Mr Wade said: “It’s great to see people come back. The phone hasn’t stopped.

    “We suspected it would be busy because we have loyal customers.

    “We have lost three months of trading and there is no way of telling the impact until three months’ time. I’m optimistic.”

  18. Hundreds queue for Primark in Nottingham

    Sandish Shoker

    BBC News

    Queues in Old Market Square

    Another city that's seen huge queues outside retailers is Nottingham.

    Hundreds of people waited to get into Primark, with the queue winding back into nearby Market Square.

    Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester have also seen similar-sized queues for the retailer, which unlike other clothes stores, does not have an online arm.

    Old Market Square queues