A shop keeper in her 70s says Government guidance has left her "in the dark" about whether to reopen her shop on Monday. 

Non-essential stores - which were told to close at the end of March - are allowed to open from June 15, the Government has announced.

But Jean Harper, owner of the Masquerade Fancy Dress shop located on Langley Road, Watford, said she is facing a difficult decision.

Keeping her business shut for longer would put her in an even more difficult financial situation. But reopening her shop means she is putting herself and her husband at risk of Covid-19.

Watford Observer:

Jean and her husband Robin outside their shop. Credit: Jean Harper

But Mrs Harper - who has worked with her husband Robin in the shop for 30 years - said she hopes to open her store at the end June and said as a result it will be tight for her financially

She said: "Obviously while our shop has been closed we still have overhead costs to pay each month - for almost three months now.

"It's an unknown situation at the moment, it's difficult to know what to do for the best.

"We're in the dark. All we can do with our limited knowledge is be very careful.

"Although me and my husband feel fine, we're in our 70s so we've got to be extra careful.

"I miss the shop so much. I've never not worked in my life, to be home day after day is absolutely mind bending."

If she reopens she said she will include measures such as opening three days a week, only letting one customer in at a time, and temporarily stopping her costume for hire service.

She added: "Usually, when people buy something and they want to take it back, we're flexible. But now, if it does not fit and they want to return it, we can't take it back."

Mrs Harper says official guidance needs to be sorted for small businesses like hers so they can "do the right thing".

Watford Observer:

Jean Harper and her husband Robin. Credit: Jean Harper

She said: "Somebody needs to tell shop owners like myself exactly what we have to do in regards of having costumes, it would even cover wedding and gown shops.

"Concentrating on the distancing is important. The best I can do to keep myself and my customers safe is to only allow one person in the shop while another customer waits outside for 10 minutes.

"It's a difficult time but I hope bigger businesses will do the same.

"We will be back to work one way or another, even if we have to wear a space suit."