Controversially, hardware store B&Q have chosen to reopen some of their stores which had previously been closed amid the coronavirus lockdown, prompting questions regarding whether they offer an essential service.
The closure followed the Prime Minister‘s announcement of the UK’s lockdown, and after all non-essential businesses were ordered to close.
B&Q were in fact permitted to remain open, as they offer trade materials essential to many of the construction workers who were still able to go to work.
They were included on the government’s list of essential retailers that were allowed to trade under the restrictions.
But, at the end of March, they then reduced their service to contactless click-and-collect.
After a trial period, 61 shops, have been allowed to reopen.
The DIY group said it has brought in “social distancing controls”, such as capping the number of customers in-store.
In the newly re-opened stores, perspex screens will be fitted to checkouts and two-metre floor markers will indicate the distance shoppers should maintain from each other.
Despite many Britons being eager to access materials to continue their lockdown DIY projects, the decision has been met with disapproval from many who do not feel it is essential for the store to open, and that it encourages people to leave their homes without need.
Others have argued that the preservation of an individuals mental health is as important as their physical health, and that for many, this means keeping busy and completing DIY projects during lockdown.
The announcement also saw complaints that the retailer would be allowed to sell plants at its sites which have garden centres.
On Thursday, other UK firms, such as Aston Martin and Taylor Wimpey, said they would return to work in May, as did numerous UK manufacturers and housebuilders.
Plans have been announced to kickstart construction during the lockdown, necessitating access to hardware suppliers.
What are your thoughts? Should B&Q be allowed to reopen their stores, do they provide an essential service?