Wyre Forest District Council has confirmed that retail shops and supermarkets may open for longer on Mondays to Saturdays during December and January. Most shops are not subject to planning conditions that limit their hours of opening.

Following the Government’s announcement, the council will not seek to enforce any planning conditions that limit opening hours of retail shops and supermarkets during December 2020 and January 2021. This approach does not include restaurants, public houses, takeaways or any class of business other than retail shops.

It is hoped these changes will encourage residents to shop locally and help retailers who have been forced to close during the national restrictions. When shopping in the district, shoppers should keep protecting each other by regularly washing their hands, wearing a face mask and social distancing. Residents are also advised to stay in the district as much as possible and avoid travelling to a Tier 3 area.

The changes do not affect the limits on Sunday opening hours which Parliament has imposed; and there is no change to the hours during which shops may sell alcohol.

Councillor Graham Ballinger, Leader of Wyre Forest District Council said: “Maximising flexibility for shops to extend opening hours means that they can choose to spread shopping for customers over more hours in the day than usual and help to minimise the spread of COVID during the busy period leading up to Christmas and in the New Year. While we are happy to assist shops at this time, it is a pity that the Government has not addressed the desirability of lengthening shopping hours on the three Sundays before Christmas, to reduce crowding on those days.”

Councillor Fran Oborski, Deputy Leader of Wyre Forest District Council said: “For December 2020 only, we are also reintroducing the relaxation of enforcement on delivery hours for retail shops.

“We hope that this move will help retail shops and supermarkets if they need greater flexibility than normal in restocking and so that communities can access the full range of goods. We will encourage shops to maintain normal delivery hours where possible and to take due consideration of residents when conducting ‘out of hours’ deliveries, but we believe that the interests of residents in having essential supplies in shops outweigh any temporary inconvenience that might be experienced if some deliveries are outside normal hours.”