The Prime Minister has announced a national lockdown and instructed people to stay at home to control the spread of coronavirus, to protect the NHS and save lives.
This decision follows a rapid rise in infections, hospital admissions and case rates across the country, causing our hospitals to experience greater levels of pressure than they have at any other point since the start of the pandemic.
From 5th January 2021, people will only be allowed to leave their homes for the following reasons:
- to shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person.
- to go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if it cannot reasonably be done from home.
- to exercise within households (or support bubbles) or with one other person (this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area).
- to meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one.
- to seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse).
- to attend education or childcare - for those eligible.
What does this mean for businesses?
The national lockdown restrictions are enforced to reduce social contact, therefore these regulations require some businesses to close, or implement restrictions on how they provide their products or services. The businesses required to close includes the following:
- non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods.
- hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs
- accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites (except for specific circumstances)
- leisure and sports facilities
- entertainment venues
- animal attractions
- indoor attractions at venues
- personal care facilities
- community centres and halls (Libraries can remain open to provide access to essential IT and digital services)
Some exclusions do apply, so please visit the gov.uk website for the full list of exemptions.
Businesses and venues which can remain open, providing they comply with COVID-19 secure guidelines include the following:
- essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
- market stalls selling essential retail
- businesses providing repair services
- petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
- banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
- funeral directors
- laundrettes and dry cleaners
- medical and dental services
- vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals
- animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers
- agricultural supplies shops
- mobility and disability support shops
- storage and distribution facilities
- car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
- outdoor playgrounds
- outdoor botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
- places of worship
- crematoriums and burial grounds
The majority of public services will also continue to remain open.
For the most up to date guidance for businesses, visit the gov.uk website.