MILLIONS of businesses in England have been forced to close again during a third national lockdown – but what does it mean for Argos stores?

It's hoped the new rules will help stop the spread of a mutant strain of the virus that's believed to be behind a surge in hospitalisations.

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It's the third time England has been plunged into a national lockdown.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also announced a full national lockdown, while Wales entered a country-wide shut down December 28.

Northern Ireland went into a six-week lockdown from December 26.

Once again, all non-essential shops have been ordered to temporarily close.

Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons must all shut down until restrictions are lifted – only essential shops like supermarkets are allowed to stay open.

Here, we explain what the new rules mean for Argos stores in England:

Is Argos open during lockdown?

Standalone stores across England are closed for shoppers to buy items in-stores, but you can still use them for click and collect.

It means you'll need to pay for your items online first before collecting them in stores.

Shoppers aren't allowed to enter the shops, with staff bringing the items to them outside.

But if you need to return an item, you'll need to do this at Argos shops inside Sainsbury's supermarkets.

Argos shops inside Sainsbury's supermarkets are also only open for the collection of pre-paid online orders only.

The rules apply to Argos shops in Wales too, which entered a new lockdown on December 20.

The same also goes for Argos stores in Northern Ireland, which entered into a lockdown in December 26.

Only the Stornoway branch of Argos in Orkney remains open as usual in Scotland. Otherwise, the same rules apply.

What businesses can stay open during lockdown?

Businesses that are providing an essential service can stay open.

This is the list of businesses that can remain open include:

  • Supermarkets
  • Pharmacies
  • Garden centres
  • Building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • Market stalls selling essential retail
  • Businesses providing repair services but only if they primarily offer repair services
  • Petrol stations
  • Automatic (but not manual) car washes
  • Vehicle repair and MOT services
  • Bicycle shops
  • Taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • Banks and building societies
  • Post offices
  • Short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • Funeral directors
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • Medical and dental services
  • Vets and pet shops
  • Animal rescue centres, boarding facilities, and animal groomers
  • Agricultural supplies shops
  • Mobility and disability support shops
  • Storage and distribution facilities
  • Car parks
  • Public toilets
  • Motorway service areas
  • Outdoor playgrounds
  • Outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
  • Places of worship
  • Crematoriums and burial grounds

Boris Johnson implied that restrictions will stay in place until mid-February at the earliest.

But Cabinet minister Michael Gove warned the lockdown could be extended into March.

He told everyone to stay at home until at least the middle of February, and for people to only leave their homes for essential reasons.

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