THOUSANDS of fun-seekers defied the April snow showers and freezing temperatures as life took a step towards normality yesterday – with people going back to the places that “stitch and thread our communities together”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the nation to “behave responsibly” as shops, indoor gyms and swimming pools, nail salons and zoos welcomed customers back as part of the latest stage of his reopening plan.
The Centre for Economic and Business Research said there will be a £700million boost to the UK economy this week as a result.
Footfall across all retail destinations in the UK was up 101 per cent by midday on Monday compared with a week earlier, figures from Springboard showed.
Footfall at all UK retail destinations had risen by 146 per cent by 5pm on Monday compared with a week ago.
Shopping centre numbers rose by 217 per cent, while high street footfall increased by 174 per cent.
However, the figures were still down 16 per cent compared with Monday April 15, 2019. But it rose by 481.5 per cent compared to Monday April 13, 2020 – the height of the first lockdown.
Shoppers started queuing in the early hours yesterday. Gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools also reopened, with bosses describing it as “a little bit like Christmas”.
Mr Johnson said: “I’m sure it will be a huge relief for business owners who have been closed for so long, and for everyone else it’s a chance to get back to doing some of the things we love and have missed. I urge everyone to continue to behave responsibly and remember ‘hands, face, space and fresh air’ to suppress Covid as we push on with our vaccination programme.” Ross Bailey, who started the Save the Street campaign, said: “Covid made us realise how much we need our local shops and how much they mean to us.
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