Coronavirus: ‘Essential’ shops and businesses are allowed to stay open.

24th Mar 20

To help clarify the Government update last night, when we were ordered to go into an unprecedented lockdown, all non-essential shops have now been closed.

All those who do not perform key jobs must stay at home, apart from infrequent trips to buy food or essential medications and treatment, while outdoor exercise is allowed once a day.

To clarify:

Restaurants, cafés, including workplace canteens, must remain closed, however:

  • 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 can also remain operational.

All retail outlets must remain in lockdown with the exception of:

  • Supermarkets and other food shops, health shops, pharmacies including non-dispensing pharmacies, petrol stations, bicycle shops, home and hardware shops, laundrettes and dry cleaners, bicycle shops, garages, car rentals, pet shops, corner shops, newsagents, post offices, and banks

Physical distancing must be observed. You must ensure:

  • A distance of two metres between customers and shop assistants
  • Let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not crowded.
  • Queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that remain open.

Outdoor and indoor markets must close but not:

  • Market stalls which offer essential retail, such as grocery and food

Hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites and boarding houses for commercial use are to stay shut, except:

  • Where people live in these as interim abodes whilst their primary residence is unavailable, they may continue to do so. Key workers can continue to stay in hotels or similar where required

Caravan parks/sites for commercial uses cannot operate apart from:

  • 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

Community centres, youth centres and similar will be closed:

  • However, facilities may remain open for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services. We will do everything to support vulnerable people who are without a network of friends and families.

Places of worship for services are not permitted to open, unless for:

  • Funerals following the social distancing guidance; places of worship should remain open for solitary prayer.
  • Live streaming of a service without audience would be permissible.

Cinemas, theatres and concert halls are to close, although again live streaming of a performance by a small group could be permissible with social distancing observed.

The final document issued by the Government can be found here: