While shops were shuttered in the nationwide lockdown earlier this year, it is unlikely that all retail will be forced to close in any initial “circuit-breaker”.
In September, Sage advised the Government that a limited lockdown, with shops remaining open but hospitality closing, could save 4,300 lives. However, the scientific advisers recommended halting close contact services, such as hairdressing and beauty treatment.
In the Government’s three tiers, retail broadly remains open across all levels. But on top of the “baseline” measures for the most restrictive Tier 3, some additional measures, such as shutting venues including betting shops and casinos, are listed.
When Northern Ireland embarks its four week “circuit-breaker”, most shops will stay open but off-licences will be required to shut at 8pm and supermarkets will be banned from selling alcohol after this time.
Professional and amateur sport
It is likely that professional and amateur sport will be impacted differently by any “circuit-breaker”. In Northern Ireland, indoor sporting activities will be banned from Friday, while outdoor contact sports will be limited to elite athletes.
Under the “rule of six”, indoor team sports with more than six players have been banned since September, affecting netball, basketball and five-a-side football.
Opinion seems to be split on whether to close gyms. These have been forced to close on Merseyside as part of additional measures on top of Tier 3 restrictions, but will stay open in Northern Ireland for individual use.