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Business closures

27 March update on business closures

The guidance on businesses and venues that need to close has been updated. Changes include:

  • Any suitable assembly or leisure premises may open for blood donation sessions. A distance of two metres should be maintained as per Public Health England guidelines.

  • Holiday rentals are now included in the list of businesses or venues that must close.

  • Agricultural supplies shops have been included in the list of businesses that can remain open.

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

In England, Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will monitor compliance with these regulations, with police support provided if appropriate. Businesses and venues that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices, and fixed penalties. With the support of the police, prohibition notices can be used to force a business or venue to close.

If prohibition notices are not followed, or fixed penalty notice not paid, businesses may also be taken to court with magistrates able to impose potentially unlimited fines.

On 27 March, 2020 the government updated its list of businesses which must remain closed. The tables below replaces guidance issued on the 25, 23 and 21 March, 2020.

See closing certain businesses and venues on GOV.UK, which goes into further details on closure, compliance and support.

Businesses and venues that must remain closed

To reduce social contact, the government has ordered the following businesses and venues to close:

Food and drink business or venue

Food and drink businesses which must remain closed with exceptions.
Food and drink business or venue Exceptions
Restaurants and public houses, wine bars or other food and drink establishments including within hotels and members’ clubs Food delivery and takeaway can remain operational and can be a new activity supported by the new permitted development right. This covers the provision of hot or cold food that has been prepared for consumers for collection or delivery to be consumed, reheated or cooked by consumers off the premises.
Cafés and canteens Food delivery and takeaway can remain operational (and as above). Cafés and canteens at hospitals, police and fire services’ places of work, care homes or schools; prison and military canteens; services providing food or drink to the homeless. Where there are no practical alternatives, other workplace canteens can remain open to provide food for their staff and/or provide a space for breaks. However, where possible, staff should be encouraged to bring their own food, and distributors should move to takeaway. Measures should be taken to minimise the number of people in the canteen / break space at any one given time, for example by using a rota.

Return to list of business types.

Retail business or venue

Retail businesses and premises which must remain closed with exceptions.
Retail business or venue Exceptions
Hairdressers, barbers, beauty and nail salons, including piercing and tattoo parlours. No exceptions must remain closed.
All retail with notable exceptions.
  • Supermarkets and other food shops
  • Medical services (such as dental surgeries, opticians and audiology clinics, physiotherapy clinics, chiropody and podiatry clinics, and other professional vocational medical services)
  • Pharmacies and chemists, including non-dispensing pharmacies
  • Petrol stations
  • Bicycle shops
  • Hardware shops and equipment, plant and tool hire.
  • Veterinary surgeries and pet shops.
  • Agricultural supplies shops.
  • Corner shops and newsagents.
  • Off-licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol, including those within breweries.
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners.
  • Post offices.
  • Vehicle rental services.
  • Car garages and MOT services.
  • Car parks.
  • High street banks, building societies, short-term loan providers, credit unions and cash points.
  • Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off points where they are on the premises of any of the above businesses.
  • Public toilets.
  • Shopping centres may stay open but only units of the types listed above may trade
Outdoor and indoor markets Market stalls which offer essential retail such as grocery and food.
Auction houses No exceptions must remain closed.

Return to list of business types.

Accommodation business or venue

Holiday parks, including holiday caravan parks, are excluded from closure if people living there are key workers, are displaced or homeless, or the caravan park is their primary residence. Site owners have been advised if there are any vulnerable or self-isolating people without support networks that are, for instance, experiencing problems with food supply, they should contact their local authority for further advice.

Holiday park owners will receive a letter in the coming days reminding them to stay open if their site houses residents who fall within the categories of people who should be allowed to remain.

There is no requirement for park home sites to close as they are for permanent residential use and are not holiday accommodation. 

See COVID-19 advice for accommodation providers on GOV.UK.

Accommodation businesses and premises which must remain closed with exceptions
Accommodation business or venue Exceptions
Hotels, hostels, B&Bs, holiday rentals, campsites and boarding houses for commercial use.

Where people live in these as interim abodes whilst their primary residence is unavailable, or they live in them in permanently they may continue to do so.

Critical workers and non-UK residents who are unable to travel to their country of residence during this period can continue to stay in hotels or similar where required.

Guidance for critical workers on GOV.UK.

People who are unable to move into a new home due to the current restrictions can also stay at hotels.

Where hotels, hostels, and B&Bs are providing rooms to support homeless and other vulnerable people such as those who cannot safely stay in their home, through arrangements with local authorities and other public bodies, they may remain open.

Those attending a funeral will be able to use hotels when returning home would be impractical.

Hotels are allowed to host blood donation sessions.

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 maycontinueto do so.

Return to list of business types.

Non-residential institutions business or venue

Non-residential institutions and premises which must remain closed with exceptions
Non-residential institutions business or venue Exceptions
Libraries Digital library services and those where orders are taken electronically, by telephone or by post (for example no-contact Home Library Services) may continue.
Community centres, youth centres and similar.

For the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks, homeless services, and blood donation sessions.

Public venues that host blood donation sessions can continue to open temporarily for these services only. A distance of two metres should be maintained as per Public Health England guidelines.

Places of worship.

Funerals in places of worship and crematoria, where the congregation are members of the deceased’s household or close family. In a case where no members are attending, friends can attend. A distance of two metres should be maintained as per Public Health England guidelines.

A minister of religion or worship leader may leave their home to travel to their place of worship. A place of worship may broadcast an act of worship, whether over the internet or otherwise.

For the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public service, such as food banks, homeless services, and blood donation sessions.

Return to list of business types.

Assembly and leisure business or venue

Assembly and leisure businesses and premises which must remain closed with exceptions
Assembly and leisure business or venue Exceptions
Museums and galleries. No exceptions must remain closed.
Nightclubs No exceptions must remain closed.
Cinemas, theatres and concert halls. Small group performances for the purposes of live streaming could be permissible where Public Health England guidelines are observed and no audience members attend the venue.
Bingo halls, casinos and betting shops. No exceptions must remain closed.
Spas and massage parlours. No exceptions must remain closed.
Skating rinks. No exceptions must remain closed.
Fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres. Any suitable assembly or leisure premises may open for blood donation sessions.
Arcades, bowling alleys, soft play centres and similar. No exceptions must remain closed.
Funfairs No exceptions must remain closed.

Return to list of business types.

Outdoor recreation business or venue

Outdoor recreation businesses and premises which must remain closed with exceptions
Outdoor recreation business or venue Exceptions
Enclosed spaces in parks, including playgrounds, sports courts and pitches, and outdoor gyms or similar. No exceptions must remain closed.

Return to list of business types.

The business closure regulations require businesses selling food or drink to consume on the premises, and some others, to close, to protect public health.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure)(England) Regulations 2020

To delay the spread of coronavirus, the government has instructed some businesses and venues including all pubs, bars and restaurants to close from 21 March 2020. It is a legal requirement under the above regulations for the following businesses to close to customers coming into the premises:

  1. Restaurants, including restaurants and dining rooms in hotels or members clubs.
  2. Cafes, including workplace canteens, but not including:
    1. cafes or canteens at a hospital, care home or school;
    2. canteens at a prison or an establishment intended for use for naval, military or air force purposes or for the purposes of the Department of the Secretary of State responsible for defence;
    3. services providing food or drink to the homeless.
  3. Bars, including bars in hotels or members’ clubs.
  4. Public houses.
  5. Cinemas.
  6. Theatres.
  7. Nightclubs.
  8. Bingo halls.
  9. Concert halls.
  10. Museums and galleries.
  11. Casinos.
  12. Betting shops.
  13. Spas.
  14. Massage parlours
  15. Indoor skating rinks.
  16. Indoor fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres.

Contact Environmental Health on the details below if you are unsure if your business is included, or have concerns about any of the above businesses still operating.

Coronavirus

See Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do on GOV.UK for announcements, news and guidance.

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