Thousands of non-essential shops across England are reopening their doors to customers for the first time in almost three months in the latest easing of the coronavirus lockdown rules.

Zoos and safari parks are also welcoming back visitors, places of worship can open for private prayer while some secondary school pupils will begin returning to their classrooms.

At the same time passengers on public transport will be required to wear face coverings as the pace of activity begins to pick up.

With official figures showing the economy shrank by a fifth in April, ministers are desperate to get businesses going again to stave off another wave of job losses.

Boris Johnson said he did not know whether to expect "a flood or a trickle" when the shops reopened but that he hoped people would return in "sensible" numbers.

Visiting Westfield shopping centre in east London on Sunday, he acknowledged some people may be nervous about returning to the high street after so long away but insisted they "should shop and shop with confidence".

Meanwhile, Monday will also see secondary schools in England reopening to some pupils with Year 10 and Year 12 students returning to get some time with their teachers ahead of their GCSE and A-level examinations next year.

The Government has faced criticism that it has not done more to get schools reopened with some children facing the prospect of having been out of the classroom for almost six months by the time they return in September.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson was last week forced to abandon plans for all primary pupils to return for at least a month before the summer break admitting it would not be possible while social-distancing rules remain in place.

Currently, primary schools in England are open to pupils in reception, Year one and Year six.

However ministers are planning a fresh push to get more children back by reaffirming schools can take pupils from other year groups providing they have the capacity to do so safely.

A No 10 source said Mr Johnson was "acutely aware" of the impact the extended closure was having on pupils and was working with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson on a major "catch-up" plan.

Meanwhile many retailers were simply looking forward to getting back to business again after so long away.

Andrew Murphy, executive director of operations at John Lewis, told the PA news agency he expected customers would be surprised by the "relative calmness" of the experience.

"I'm hopeful that, while the overall atmosphere will feel a bit different to them, what they'll actually find is a kind of pleasant surprise that it's calm, it's pleasant, it's well ordered, but it's also still got the real advantage of the physical shopping experience," he said.