BUSINESSES and non-essential shops are preparing to reopen in one of the biggest moves from the government to ease lockdown restrictions.

Outdoor markets and car showrooms are the first to be allowed to reopen from Monday, while other retailers have been given the green light to begin trading from June 15.

But Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this was ‘contingent on progress’.

Cllr Robin Ashcroft, South Lakeland District Council portfolio holder for economy, culture and leisure, said temporary traffic management schemes will be put in place to make more room for pedestrians.

“We have a balancing act to achieve," he said.

"On the one side is the health of our residents and preventing the spread of coronavirus – people will need to social distance when they return to our town centres. On the other side, we will have to find more room along our high streets, beyond the normal pavement space."

Family-owned business Pye Motors - with branches in Kendal (Mint Bridge Road), Barrow and Morecambe - is planning to reopen its showrooms on Monday.

Managing director Nick Payne said ensuring customer and staff safety was the ‘number one priority’ and the business had spent ‘an inordinate amount of time’ on it.

“We have put screens in customer-facing environments. Masks and relevant personal protective equipment (PPE) are available for both customers and staff,” he said.

“We would normally expect customers to browse in a showroom and sit in a car and touch it and feel it. We would not necessarily encourage that (now).”

Mr Payne said the Kendal showroom would be opening at 9am on Monday and that protocols for customer and staff safety would need to be ‘revisited’ as the situation changed.

Another showroom set to reopen on Monday is Alan Myerscough Ltd in Ulverston.

Company director Emily Myerscough said there would be ‘safety measures’ in place such as hand sanitiser stations, a one in, one out policy and stickers on the floor to remind people to maintain two metres of distance.

“It’s difficult for people because no-one knows what’s going to happen I guess, and everyone wants to make it as safe as possible for customers and staff,” said Ms Myerscough.

“We have just got to try and get back to working safely and welcoming our customers back.”

Danielle Wilson, branch manager at department store Boyes on Highgate, Kendal, announced on Facebook that the store would be reopening this Tuesday from 10am and would be operating on reduced hours.

She said: “Prior to opening we will be putting in place various safety measures, including social distancing guidance and till screens.

“Our staff will be provided with PPE to keep them and our customers safe.

“We will be enforcing a limit of customers in store at any given time and an entrance marshal shall monitor this.

“Once in store we request that all customers endeavour to remain two metres apart from other customers and staff.

“We shall only have one member of staff at the front and back tills due to distancing measures.”

In Kirkby Lonsdale, Allan Muirhead, director of the Kirkby Lonsdale and Lune Valley Community Interest Company, said the town’s weekly Thursday market would not immediately be reconvening, despite it being permissible to do so from next week.

He said it was important to ‘get it right’ and wanted to ensure both the public and traders had ‘a sense of security’ .

“We don’t like giving dates because, as we have seen from watching our Government, giving dates is never a good idea,” he said.

Robin Sadler, owner of Chocolat on New Road and chairman of Kirkby Lonsdale Chamber of Trade, said the chamber was going to be providing members with a ‘starter pack’ including sanitiser, gloves, masks and an agreed ‘protocol’ to ensure customers received ‘ the same or a similar’ experience when shopping in most of the town’s stores.