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Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced the most stringent measures yet in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Importantly, he announced that all non-essential businesses must close for at least three weeks. There is now only a small number of businesses allowed to stay open.

Many of our clients will want to know whether their business is affected. Below is our current understanding of the new rules.

Businesses allowed to stay open

If your business has physical premises, you must close them unless it is classed as ‘essential’.

Essential retail businesses are:

  1. Supermarkets and food shops
  2. Pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies)
  3. Petrol stations
  4. Bicycle shops
  5. Home and hardware shops
  6. Laundrettes and dry cleaners
  7. Bicycle shops
  8. Garages
  9. Car rentals
  10. Pet shops
  11. Corner shops
  12. Newsagents
  13. Post Offices
  14. Banks

Essential food and drink businesses are:

  1. Food delivery and takeaway
  2. Cafés and canteens at hospitals, care homes, schools or prisons, plus those for the military
  3. Services providing food and drink for the homeless

Essential non-residential institutions are:

  1. Community / youth centres or similar, but only for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services such as foodbanks or homeless services.

In addition, hotels, hostels, BnBs, campsites, boarding houses and similar must close. However:

  • People may continue to live in them as interim abodes if their primary residence is unavailable
  • Key workers can stay in hotels or similar where required.

As you can see, huge numbers of businesses and premises must be closed, from restaurants and hair salons to cinemas, skating rinks and libraries. If you have any questions about the type of businesses allowed to stay open, please get in touch with us or read the full government guidance here (PDF file).

Of course, you can continue to run your business virtually if that’s possible, using technology such as video conferencing, email and the phone. It’s what we’re doing at THP.

We know that many businesses will not be able to do this and will need extra help to survive. To find out about the latest COVID-19 support for businesses, please read our summary of advice and updates for SMEs and the self employed.

Avatar for Ben Locker
About Ben Locker

Ben Locker is a copywriter who specialises in business-to-business marketing, writing about everything from software and accountancy to construction and power tools. He co-founded the Professional Copywriters’ Network, the UK’s association for commercial writers, and is named in Direct Marketing Association research as ‘one of the copywriters who copywriters rate’.

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