Boris Johnson has confirmed that non-essential retailers can open their doors on April 12 as planned.

Alongside non-essential retail, pubs and restaurants serving food outside, as well as gyms and hairdressers, will be able to reopen in the next step of the roadmap easing England out of lockdown.

Johnson said moving to the next stage of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown was “fully justifiable” due to the success of the vaccine rollout and drop in Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations.

This will mark the first time in over three months that non-essential retailers will be able to open their doors. 

However, the prime minister cautioned that the UK “cannot be complacent” and would not be drawn on whether international travel would be allowed on May 17, as previously planned. 

Johnson said the government is also considering using Covid status certificates that could allow venues such as pubs to ditch social distancing guidelines provided customers could confirm they had been vaccinated, recently tested negative or had natural immunity.

Scotland reopened some non-essential shops such as garden centres and homeware stores on April 5 as part of its lockdown easing measures.

Confederation of British Industry policy director John Foster said: “Knowing the Covid roadmap is on track can help create the economic momentum the country needs as the second phase of reopening begins.

“The retail and outdoor hospitality sectors can now gear up with certainty and confidence for a safe start.”