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Business closures

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.

The updated list of businesses that must close can be found here.

Businesses providing holiday accommodation

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. 

Full guidance for accommodation providers is available at www.gov.uk 

On 25 March, 2020 the government increased the number of businesses which must remain closed, updating the list from 23 March and 21 March, 2020. The table below lists those premises and any exceptions.

Businesses and premises which must remain closed with exceptions
Business type Business, premises or place Exceptions
Food and drink Restaurants and public houses, wine bars or other drinking establishments. 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.
Food and drink 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.
Food and drink Bars and nightclubs, including bars in hotels or members’ clubs No exceptions must remain closed.
Retail Hair, beauty and nail salons, including piercing and tattoo parlours No exceptions must remain closed.
Retail Massage parlours No exceptions must remain closed.
Retail All retail with notable exceptions.
  • 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 licenced shops selling alcohol, including those within breweries.
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners.
  • All Post Offices.
  • Car rental services and 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.
Retail Outdoor and indoor markets 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.
Retail Auction houses No exceptions must remain closed.
Retail Car showrooms Car garages and repair shops.
Hotels Hotels, hostels, B&Bs, 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, 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.

Hotels 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 No exceptions must remain closed.
Non-residential institutions 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.

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

Non-residential institutions 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.

Non-residential institutions 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.

Assembly and leisure Museums and galleries. No exceptions must remain closed.
Assembly and leisure Bingo halls, casinos and betting shops. No exceptions must remain closed.
Assembly and leisure Spas No exceptions must remain closed.
Assembly and leisure Indoor Skating rinks. No exceptions must remain closed.
Assembly and leisure Fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres. Leisure centres may stay open for blood donation sessions.
Assembly and leisure Arcades, bowling alleys, soft play centres and similar. No exceptions must remain closed.
Outdoor recreation Enclosed spaces in parks, including playgrounds, sports courts and pitches, and outdoor gyms or similar. No exceptions must remain closed.

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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