SHOPS across Oxfordshire are set to keep trading throughout the second lockdown by launching ‘click and collect’ services from today.

Boris Johnson announced on Saturday that all 'non-essential' retail business premises would have to shut in the latest lockdown from today.

But a twist in the rules means that all shops could stay open if customers can order before arriving and collect at the door, rather than browse.

Even pubs could stay open after a last minute U-turn allowing the hospitality industry to sell takeaway drinks.

Read more: latest coronavirus figures for Oxford

Regulations published yesterday included the caveat that takeaway alcohol would have to be pre-ordered online, or via phone or post, and could only be sold on the provision ‘the purchaser does not enter inside the premises’ – restrictions that do not apply to coffee shops who can also carry on selling drinks as takeaway only.

Yesterday, hordes of masked shoppers flocked to Oxford city centre ahead of today’s change to the rules.

On Cornmarket Street, queues formed outside popular shops like Boots and Pret-A-Manger at lunchtime and shop capacity limits were reached at places which might have to close such as Vodaphone at the Westgate Centre.

Oxford Mail:

Despite the changes to the rules, pubs also offered discounted booze as a ‘farewell pint’ – including The Crown on Cornmarket Street, which sold pints of Guinness for £2.30 and Wetherspoons chain The Swan and Castle which sold pints of all ale at 99p.

Oxford Mail:

At the Covered Market, which closed completely to visitors in March for the first time, shops and takeaways yesterday stayed busy.

Moo-moo’s milkshake shack had a single queue nearly trailing out of the entrance, while The Garden of Oxford flower shop had customers waiting to buy cheap bunches of flowers.

iScream Gelateria shop owner Graham MacDonald said he was worried as rumours surfaced that Boris Johnson would announce a second lockdown but he and partner Jenny Carter, of the Wicked Chocolate shop, are now prepared for deliveries, takeaway and click-and-collect.

Oxford Mail:

He said: “I’m really positive about it. The city council have been really helpful and most people in here [the Covered Market] will be staying open.”

John Gowing, who runs John Gowing Jewellers in the market, also said he was feeling more positive than before.

Oxford Mail:

He said: “It was horrendous last time and for the last four months, but this month last year was our second-busiest month so I’m really hopeful that will continue.

“We are doing all of the social media, and we’re doing click-and-collect too. Customers can come and look in the windows, when I’m in the shop and the shutters are up, and order something but we’re on our emails and over the phone too where we can give advice.”

Read more: USED sex toys, dirty underwear and cat poo left at charity shops

Elsewhere in the county, retail workers at Bicester Village have said they will be working in the coming month to organise collection orders.

This means that the retail outlet could still be busy with shoppers picking up their purchases.

In the new rules, which will last until December 2, essential retail like supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres and hardware shops will stay open as normal.

Oxford Mail:

Shoppers on Cornmarket Street

Other businesses and public services that will also open without any catches include: schools, colleges, universities, petrol stations, car MOT garages, taxi hire, banks, funeral directors, launderettes, dentists, vets, outdoor playgrounds, car parks, public toilets, motorway services, the NHS, JobCentre sites, courts, passport services, waste and recycling centres.

Read more: LIVE as Oxford gets ready to lockdown

Controversially, gyms will be made to shut again along with cinemas, theatres, hotels, indoor attractions, hair and nail salons, beauty services, tattoo parlours, community centres and places of worship – apart from independent prayers or funerals which can go ahead as planned with 15 people.

People will be able to leave their homes if they are exercising outdoors, going to a funeral, getting a Covid-19 test or going to a medical appointment, going to education (but not extra curricular activities like drama classes), moving home, going shopping or collecting items from shops, working or volunteering.

Part of the rules means that people cannot meet up socially with friends or family unless they are in the same house, support bubble or are meeting outside in public places with one other person.

Children under five do not count as part of the two people.