Non-essential retailers across England will be able to order free Covid-19 tests for employees until the end of June, the Department for Health and Social Care has confirmed this week.
Businesses of all sizes, including smaller operations with fewer than 50 employees, will now be able to register to order lateral flow tests for employees. These tests are understood to provide results in around 30 minutes, rather than the usual 24 hours required by the PCR test.
As reported by the Retail Gazette this morning, retailers looking to order testing kits will be required to register by March 31st. These workplace testing kits will remain free of charge until the end of June.
More than 3,500 businesses have already signed up to offer workplace testing programmes, while over 14,000 have registered their interest in the rapid testing.
“Regular workplace testing is a vital part of our route back to normal life, which is why I’m very pleased that we’re now expanding our offer of free workplace testing to businesses of all sizes, including SMEs,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
Non-essential retailers in England were told last month by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that they will be able to reopen from April 12.
The shop reopenings will be part of “step two” in the government’s lockdown exit roadmap, which will also see the opening up of all indoor leisure centres and gyms, outdoor hospitality, and personal care services such as hairdressers and nail salons.
Meanwhile in Scotland, non-essential retailers will be allowed to reopen from April 26.
While the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said last month that she expected the stay-at-home order would have to remain in place until April 5, she added that from March 15 the next phase of children returning to the classroom can take place, along with allowing up to four people or two households to meet outdoors.