The government’s ‘Plan B’ Covid-19 measures will hit footfall for many retailers as commuters will now be encouraged to work from home.

Home work school

The new restrictions say that office workers should once again work from home “if you can”.

They will come as devastating news to many retailers in big city centres and office locations that rely on passing trade.

Food-to-go chains such as Pret a Manger will also be knocked by the new restrictions with fewer office workers stopping in for lunch or coffee.

The new rules come into effect from Monday, in addition to the regulation to wear face coverings in shops and on all public transport that came into force last week.

PwC estimates that the economic impact of home working costs around £15bn a year from lost custom at shops, restaurants and bars.

British Retail Consortium director of business and regulation Tom Ironside said: “The decision on whether to implement stricter Covid regulations is a public health decision to be made on a scientific basis. 

“Retail has remained a safe space during the pandemic and retailers will continue to do everything necessary to keep their customers safe.

“Nonetheless, it is inevitable that the move to reintroduce advice to work from home will have a significant impact on footfall for some retailers who have only just begun to find their feet after the pandemic.”

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