With most stores across the UK currently closed for business, shoppers have been limited in the locations they can visit, with trips restricted to essential visits only.
However, along with supermarkets, hardware stores were among the few businesses exempt from the government’s order to remain closed - and now Homebase is planning to reopen its doors.
Why is Homebase reopening its stores?
The DIY and garden store is opening up 20 of its stores on Saturday (2 May), after being closed since March.
Homebase kept operating a click and collect service, but many customers were met with delays as the website struggled to keep up with demand.
But customers will now be allowed back into some stores from this weekend, with many more planned to reopen if the trial proves a success.
The news comes following the recent reopening of 155 B&Q stores.
In a statement, Homebase chief executive Damian McGloughin said: “With the safety of our customers and teams as our first priority, we took the decision to temporarily close our stores and operate online only.
"We have taken this time to carefully review and make a large number of changes to our operations in preparation for a safe, phased reopening, in line with government guidance on social distancing.
“And that means the doors can now reopen.
"We will be trialling the opening of 20 stores, with strict controls in place to ensure shopping is safe for everyone.
"Our remaining stores in the UK will continue to offer a collection and counter service."These are the stores reopening on Saturday:
Which Homebase stores are reopening?
The following Homebase stores across the UK will reopen to customers on Saturday 2 May:
- Sheffield Chesterfield Road
- Norwich Sprowston
- St Albans
- Streatham Vale
For more information visit homebase.co.uk/stores
When will lockdown be lifted?
Details of exactly how lockdown restrictions will eventually be lifted still remain unclear, but Boris Johnson said the UK is now “beginning to turn the tide” on the virus.
However, the Prime Minister said that now is the moment of “maximum risk” because of the danger that people will start to ease up on social distancing measures.
The Government first needs to be satisfied of five things before considering it safe to adjust the current measures.
– Protect the NHS’s ability to cope and be confident that the NHS is able to provide sufficient critical care across the UK
– A sustained and consistent fall in daily death rates to be confident the UK is beyond the peak
– Reliable data from Government scientific advisers showing rate of infection is decreasing to manageable levels across the board
– Confidence that testing capacity and personal protective equipment (PPE) are in hand with “supply able to meet future demand”
– Confidence that any adjustments to the current measures would not risk a second peak in infections