Coronavirus support for businesses

Businesses and venues that can reopen

Businesses that are permitted to reopen

Businesses are only allowed to reopen if they follow Covid-19 secure guidance. Although the businesses listed below are allowed to reopen they may be required to restrict services and put in place special measures. Business managers are responsible for reviewing and implementing the government guidance for your business before reopening.

On 23 March 2020, the government introduced restrictions on which businesses and venues were required to close in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

On 15 June 2020 significant changes were made to the regulations to ease restrictions on business closures and enable non-essential retail businesses to reopen to the public.

From the 4 July, further businesses including hairdressers, barbers, pubs and restaurants have been allowed to reopen. 

The following Close Contact Services businesses are now permitted to reopen from Monday 13 July 2020 and are allowed to offer services in the highest risk zone from Saturday 15th August 2020:

  • Nail bars, beauty salons and tanning salons
  • Spas
  • Massage, tattoo and piercing parlours.

All staff offering close contact services, including hairdressers, should now wear a face mask (type 2 surgical), in addition to a clear visor that covers the face, This will help protect the customer and staff from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing, or speaking.

From 25 July, the following businesses are now permitted to reopen:

  • Indoor fitness and dance studios, and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities
  • Indoor swimming pools including water parks.

From 15 August, the following business are now permitted to reopen:

  • Bowling alleys and indoor skating rinks
  • Casinos
  • Indoor play areas including soft play
  • Indoor theatres, music and performance venues

Businesses that must remain closed

The following businesses and venues must remain closed until further notice: 

  • Nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques
  • Sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars
  • Exhibition halls and conference centres (except for pilots and internal events)
  • Conference and exhibition centres (except for government backed pilots or to host groups of up to 30)

If your business or venue is permitted to reopen or remain open, it must close off or cease to provide any of the above businesses or services. For example, a nightclub that is part of hotel must remain closed.

For businesses that are unsure if they can reopen to members of the public and to report a business that is open when it should remain closed, please contact the Council Trading Standards Service on 020 3373 9937 9am – 5pm. To contact us outside of these hours email [email protected].

Advice for businesses that are reopening

Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic is available on the government's website (external link). Specific guides are available for a number of industries including:

Businesses are only allowed to reopen if they complying with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19. Businesses should print, sign and display this notice (PDF) to confirm to members of the public and employees that they are COVID-19 Secure.

For smaller, lower risk businesses, enforced for health and safety by local authorities and who don’t have dedicated health and safety advice we have created this template to help businesses (Word) go through the risk assessment process and document their findings. 

The Council has also created social distancing posters for you to display for the exterior and interior of your businesses, to remind customers to maintain social distancing. 

Download the posters in A3 size (PDF)

Download the posters in A4 size (PDF)

For businesses that are unsure if they can reopen to members of the public and to report a business that is open when it should remain closed, please contact the Council Trading Standards Service on 020 3373 9937 9am – 5pm. To contact us outside of these hours email [email protected].

Test and Trace: Keeping a record of staff, customers and visitors

The opening up of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace.  Organisations in certain sectors should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of customers and visitors for 21 days. Find out more here.

This privacy notice describes how the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will process personal data from venues and establishments to support contact tracing.

Register your establishment for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

Restaurants and other establishments serving food for on-premises consumption can now register for the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. You can register if your establishment:

  • Sells food for immediate consumption on the premises
  • Provides its own dining area or shares a dining area with another establishment for eat-in meals
  • Was registered as a food business with the relevant local authority on or before 7 July.

The government have made posters, images and other promotional materials which can be found on the gov.uk website for use by establishments taking part in the Eat Out To Help Out Scheme.

Government changes to planning and licencing regulations

The government has relaxed planning regulations to allow pubs and restaurants to start providing takeaways without a planning application for a 12 month period. Businesses are required to tell the local planning authority when the new use begins and ends.

The government is also making a number of changes to planning and licencing regulations to support pub, cafes, restaurants and other businesses. Find more here.

  • The government will simplify and reduce the costs of the licensing process for outdoor seating and stalls, making it easier for people to safely drink and dine outside. 
  • Proposed planning freedoms will mean that outdoor markets, pop-up car-boot sales or summer fairs will not need a planning application.
  • Pubs and restaurants will be able to use car parks and terraces as dining and drinking areas, using their existing seating licenses.
  • Temporary changes to licensing laws will allow many more licensed premises, such as pubs and restaurants, to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises.

The sale of alcohol, offering of late-night refreshments and placing seating on pavements will continue to be licensable activities. You must ensure your business has the relevant licence before undertaking these activities. View further information on business licencing regulations including how to apply for a licence.

Mandatory face coverings in shops and indoor public settings

In England it is a legal requirement to wear a face covering in the following indoor settings:

  • Public transport and transport hubs 
  • Shops, supermarkets, indoor markets and shopping centres (coverings can be removed when sitting in a food hall or eating area)
  • Premises providing professional, legal or financial services 
  • Premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (coverings can be removed during treatment if required)
  • Premises providing veterinary services
  • Visitor attractions and entertainment venues (coverings can be removed when sitting in a food hall or eating area)
  • Libraries, community centres, youth centres and social clubs
  • Places of worship
  • Funeral service providers 
  • Exhibition halls and conference centres
  • Public areas in hotels and hostels
  • Storage and distribution facilities

Customers are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until they leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it. Guidance on whether staff should wear face coverings can be found in the relevant industry guidance for the business. Information on working safely during coronavirus is available on gov.uk. 

All staff offering close contact services, including hairdressers, should now wear a face mask (type 2 surgical), in addition to a clear visor that covers the face. This will help protect the customer and staff from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing, or speaking.

In settings where face coverings are required in England, there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others. Further information is available at on gov.uk.

To support businesses with this new legislation the Council has posted the following materials to businesses which can also be downloaded from the website: