Non-essential UK businesses and premises must now close Coronavirus (COVID-19) Image by Philip Steury AdobeStock_332281171.jpg

Non-essential businesses and premises must now shut

Yesterday, (23 March 2020) the Government announced that all non-essential premises must now close. Takeaway and delivery services may remain open and operational in line with guidance on Friday 20 March.

Online retail is still open and encouraged, and postal and delivery services will run as normal.

Retail and public premises which can remain open must:

  • Ensure a distance of two meters between customers and shop assistants; and
  • Let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not crowded
  • Queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that remain open

Parks will remain open but only for individuals and households to exercise once a day. Communal spaces within parks such as playgrounds and football pitches will be closed.

These premises and other venues must close as they involve prolonged close social contact, which increases the chances of infection spreading.

 

Food and Drink

Business, premises or place Exceptions
Restaurants Food delivery and takeaway can remain operational
Cafes, including workplace canteens Food delivery and takeaway can remain operational
Cafés or canteens at hospitals, care homes or schools; prison and military canteens; services providing food or drink to the homeless.
Public houses  
Bars and nightclubs, including bars in hotels or members’ clubs  

Retail

Business, premises or place Exceptions
Hair, beauty and nail salons, including piercing and tattoo parlours   
Massage parlours  
All retail with notable exceptions Supermarkets and other food shops, health shops, pharmacies including non- dispensing pharmacies, petrol stations, bicycle shops, home and hardware shops, laundrettes and dry cleaners, bicycle shops, garages, car rentals, pet shops, corner shops, newsagents, post offices, and banks.
Outdoor and indoor markets

Market stalls which offer essential retail, such as grocery and food

 
Auction houses  
Car showrooms  

Hotels

Business, premises or place Exceptions
Hotels, hostels, BnBs, campsites and boarding houses for commercial use Where people live in these as interim abodes whilst their primary residence is unavailable they may continue to do so. Key workers can continue to stay in hotels or similar where required.
Caravan parks/sites for commercial uses Where people live permanently in caravan parks or are staying in caravan parks as interim abodes where their primary residence is not available, they may continue to do so.

Non-residential institutions

Business, premises or place Exceptions

Libraries

Where people live in these as interim abodes whilst their primary residence is unavailable they may continue to do so. Key workers can continue to stay in hotels or similar where required.
Community centres, youth centres and similar

Facilities may remain open for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services.

The government will do everything to support vulnerable people who are without a network of friends and families.

Places of worship for services Funerals following the social distancing guidance; places of worship should remain open for solitary prayer. Live streaming of a service without audience would be permissible.
Cinemas, theatres and concert halls

Live streaming of a performance by a small group could be permissible with social distancing observed.

Assembly and leisure

Business, premises or place Exceptions

Museums and galleries

 
Bingo halls, casinos and betting shops   
Spas  
Skating rinks

 

Fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres  
Arcades, bowling alleys, soft play centres and similar  

Outdoor recreation

Business, premises or place Exceptions
Enclosed spaces in parks, including playgrounds, sports courts and pitches, and outdoor gyms or similar  

Business contravening the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closures) Regulations 2020 are committing an offence

Takeaway and delivery facilities should remain open and operational. People will be able to still enter premises to access takeaway services.

However, people must not consume food or drinks on site at restaurants, cafes or pubs whilst waiting for takeaway food. Those venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages if their license does not already permit.

Planning regulation will be changed to enable restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so.

The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

Compliance

Everyone is instructed to comply with the rules issued by the government in relation to coronavirus, in order to protect both themselves and others. Closures on the original list from 20th March are now enforceable by law in England and Wales due to the threat to public health.

The government will extend the law and enforcement powers to include the new list of premises for closure. Further measures on enforcement could be taken following the passage of the Coronavirus Bill through parliament.

A business operating in contravention of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closures) Regulations 2020 will be committing an offence.

Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will monitor compliance with these regulations. Police support will be provided if appropriate. Businesses and premises that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices, and potentially unlimited fines.

Financial and business support

HM Treasury announced on 20 March 2020 a series of measures supporting wages, cash-flow for businesses, and the welfare system.

Under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) announced on Monday 16 March 2020, businesses and premises in England in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be eligible for cash grants of up to £25,000 per property.

Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Eligible businesses and premises in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.

Businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000 are not included in this scheme. For more information please visit gov.uk.

In England the government will provide a business rates holiday for businesses and premises in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector. This includes the businesses and premises in scope for closure listed above.

This will apply automatically in the next business rates bill in April 2020.

This guidance will be updated regularly as the situation develops. For information about support for business, please go to the Government’s Business Support webpage or visit gov.uk.