Shops are best serving customers and society by staying closed, writes Chris Choi

Shops that have opened up and served customers for decades have now got the clear message that not opening is the best way to serve customers and society.

This is the list of shops now allowed to open.

  • Supermarkets/food shops

  • Health shops

  • Pharmacies

  • Petrol stations

  • Bicycle shops

  • Home/hardware shops

  • Laundrettes/dry cleaners

  • Garages

  • Car rentals

  • Pet shops

  • Corner shops

  • Newsagents

  • Post offices

  • Banks

  • Market food stalls

The strengthened stay-at-home measures were reinforced texts sent to millions across the country. Credit: PA

The instruction from government is to visits shops as infrequently as you can only when needed.

Supermarkets are scrambling to offer more online delivery slots - and expanding click and collect.

Still, many people are struggling to get food delivered before the end of the month.

A chain of Greggs advises customers of new takeaway and payment rules. Credit: PA

On Tuesday, retailers increased efforts to keep people two metres apart in shops and in any queues.

Morrison's says it is installing clear screens at checkouts. Aldi has the same.

Tesco says it's introduced "distancing measures" around checkouts, while Sainsbury's is putting up reminder posters.

Marks & Spencer is implementing "customer limits and floor markings" to show distancing.

Shopper queue at a Sainsbury's on the outskirts of Leeds the day after the Prime Minister's announcement. Credit: PA

The spending limit for contactless card payments will rise from £30 to £45 starting on 1 April.

In this pandemic, a lot of customers prefer to minimise handling of cash and avoid punching PINs into units being touched by hundreds of others.

While ATM cash use has fallen by around 50 per cent as people follow instructions to stay home.

A lone shopper stands in a deserted Bath city centre following the updated measures. Credit: PA

Consumer group, Which? is worried that an increasing number of shops are asking for card only payments due to the risks of coronavirus.

Which? says it is "concerned this will leave many vulnerable people unable to pay for basics".

We have often been called "a nation of shopkeepers" - but now it's clear just how important shops are to this nation.

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