COVID-19 FURTHER GUIDANCE ON BUSINESS & PREMISES CLOSURES

25 Mar 2020

Published in: Black Country Chamber of Commerce News

The Government has provided further details for businesses which should close.

Today, the Government has provided further clarification on those businesses and premises which should close as a part of the national social distancing response required to tackle COVID-19.

The Government has said that "As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of coronavirus. That is why the we have given clear guidance on self-isolation, staying at home and away from others, and asked that schools only remain open for those children who absolutely need to attend."

On 23 March the Government, stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives. All businesses and premises outlined in the table below 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 service will run as normal.

Employers who still have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds (or using hand sanitiser gel if soap and water is not available).

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.


1. Businesses and premises that must remain closed

The following businesses and premises must remain closed:

RETAIL

Restaurants and public houses, wine bars or other drinking establishments

EXCEPTIONS

  • 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 (as above)
  • Cafés and canteens at hospitals, 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 at any one given time, for example by using a rota.

Nightclubs and bars in hotels or members’ clubs

  • None

RETAIL

Hairdressers, barbers, beauty and nail salons, including piercing and tattoo parlours 

EXCEPTIONS

  • None

Massage parlours

  • None

Supermarkets and other food shops

  • Health 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
  • Petrol stations
  • Bicycle shops
  • Hardware shops
  • Veterinary surgeries and pet shops
  • Corner shops and newsagents
  • Off-licences and licensed shops selling alcohol, including those within breweries
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • All Post Offices
  • Car parks in towns, cities and near to takeaways may remain open, to facilitate essential activity (e.g. where they are supporting hospitals, supermarkets or takeaways)
  • High street banks, building societies, short-term loan providers, credit unions and cash points
  • Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off points
  • Public toilets

Outdoor and indoor markets, shopping centres

  • Market stalls which offer essential retail, such as grocery and food. Shopping centres should stay open if they contain units which are not required to close.

Auction houses

  • None

Car showrooms

  • Car garages
  • Repair shops

HOTELS

Hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites, boarding houses for commercial use

EXCEPTIONS

  • Where people live in these as interim abodes whilst their primary residence is unavailable they may continue to do so.
  • Key workers, permanent residents, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 may continue to do so.

NON-RESIDENTIAL INSTITUTIONS


Libraries

EXCEPTIONS



  • None

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.
  • The Government will do everything it can to support vulnerable people who are without a network of friends and families.

Places of worship

  • Funerals, where the congregation is immediate family (with provision for a carer, if required) or a friend - in the case that no family members are attending.
  • A distance of 2 metres is to be maintained between every household group, as per Public Health England guidelines. A minister of religion, to go to their place of worship, including to broadcast an act of worship to people outside the place 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.

OUTDOOR RECREATION

Enclosed spaces in parks, including playgrounds, sports courts and pitches, and outdoor gyms or similar

EXCEPTIONS

  • None

ASSEMBLY & LEISURE

Museums and galleries

EXCEPTIONS

  • None

Bingo halls, casinos and betting shops

  • None

Cinemas, theatres and concert halls

  • Live streaming of a performance by a small group could be permissible where Public Health England guidelines are observed.
  • Blood donation sessions would also be allowed to be held at these venues.

Indoor skating rinks

  • None

Fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres, Spas

  • Leisure centres may stay open for blood donation sessions.

Arcades, bowling alleys, soft play centres and similar

  • None

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

Providers of funeral services such as funeral directors and funeral homes conducting funerals may remain open, subject to Public Health England guidelines as mentioned in the table above.

Takeaway and delivery facilities should remain open and operational.

This means people can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers.

Businesses are encouraged to take orders online or by telephone, and businesses should not provide seating areas, indoors and outdoors, for customers to consume food and drink on.

Ordering in advance is strongly encouraged to avoid waiting in, as per Public Health England guidelines.

Planning regulation has been changed to enable restaurants, cafés and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so.

The legislation can be accessed online. People must not consume food or drinks on site at restaurants, cafés or pubs whilst waiting for takeaway food.

Those venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages in this list if their licence does not already permit.


2. Work carried out in people’s homes

Work carried out in people’s homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms.

Again, it will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a 2 metre distance from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety.

No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs, and where the tradesperson is willing to do so.

In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households. No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.


3. Length of closure

The Government is asking that businesses and premises and other venues outlined above not to open for trade from close of trade 23 March 2020.

The first point of review for these measures will be in three weeks.

This review will consider their necessity and effectiveness in light of changing circumstances.


4. 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.

As of 2pm on 21 March 2020, closures on the original list from 20 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.

As agreed with the devolved administrations, these measures will be extended to Scotland and Northern Ireland by Ministerial Direction once the Coronavirus Bill is in force. Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will monitor compliance with these regulations, with police support provided if appropriate. Businesses and premises that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices, and potentially unlimited fines.


5. Business and Financial Support Available

Her Majesty’s Treasury also announced on 20 March 2020 a comprehensive series of measures supporting wages, cash-flow for businesses, and the welfare system.

  • a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs)
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality, leisure and nursery businesses in England
  • small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans the
  • HMRC Time To Pay Scheme 

Further information

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 here and follow the Black Country Chamber's social media channels for live updates; Twitter @BCCCmembers, Facebook @BlackCountryChamber and LinkedIn @BlackCountryChamberofCommerce

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