DIY chain B&Q has confirmed it has now reopened 155 of its UK stores as lockdown measures remain in place, and Catholic churches remain closed.
After a trial at 14 stores at the weekend, 61 outlets reopened on Wednesday and another 80 on Thursday.
B&Q has introduced “social distancing controls”, such as capping the number of customers in-store.
On Thursday, other firms including Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin and Taylor Wimpey said they would return to work in May.
B&Q had closed its shops since the end of March after the government introduced lockdown measures to try to contain the spread of Covid-19.
However, hardware shops were included on the government’s list of essential retailers that were allowed to trade under the restrictions and B&Q customers could continue to shop online.
The DIY chain said on Saturday that 14 of its stores would reopen, followed by a further 61 sites announced on Wednesday.
Earlier this week The Catholic Universe wrote a formal request to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking the government to re-open Catholic churches for very limited periods of time, and under strict social distancing rules. The letter said that its was essential that Catholics be allowed limited access to their churches for reflection, and to pray for the sick and the dead.
The letter went on to say that large retail and other business outlets had shown the way in responsible social distancing, and this was an example that Catholic parishes could follow easily.
The request was refused, with the government stating that Catholic churches will remain closed for at least a further three weeks.