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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-businesses-on-further-social-distancing/guidance-for-businesses-and-other-venues-on-social-distancing-measures
As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolation, household isolation, social distancing, and asked that schools only remain open for those children who absolutely need to attend.
This guidance is helping reduce the spread of the virus and reduce the mounting pressure on our National Health Service, allowing those most acutely affected with COVID-19 to access the care they need.
While the public has already made a huge effort to avoid unnecessary social contact, we are now at a stage where we need to go further.
The government is therefore asking the following businesses and other venues across the United Kingdom to close as soon as they reasonably can, and not to open for trade on Saturday 21 March:
- Food and drink venues for consumption on-site, such as restaurants and cafes – noting the exception for takeaway and delivery services discussed below. Hospitals, schools, care homes, homeless services and military canteens are exempt from these measures, but users should continue to follow public health guidelines.
- Drinking establishments, including pubs, bars and nightclubs – noting the exception for takeaway and delivery services discussed below.
- Entertainment venues, including cinemas, theatres, concert halls and bingo halls.
- Museums and galleries.
- Spas and massage parlours.
- Casinos and betting shops.
- All indoor leisure and sports facilities, including gyms.
These businesses and other venues must close as they involve prolonged close social contact, which increases the chances of infection spreading.
1. Takeaway and delivery facilities should remain open and operational
This means people can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers. Planning regulation will be changed to enable restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so. This will be clearly communicated by the government when in effect.
Those venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages in this list if their license does not already permit. Any forthcoming changes to licensing for delivery and takeaway will be clearly communicated by the government.
2. Length of closure
We are asking the businesses and other venues outlined above to close as soon as they reasonably can and not to open for trade on Saturday 21 March 2020.
These measures will be reviewed every 28 days to consider their necessity and effectiveness, in light of changing circumstances. The government will look for opportunities to phase out their application as the situation improves.
Everyone has a duty to comply with the advice provided by the government in relation to COVID-19, in order to protect both themselves and others.
The government expects all businesses and other venues that are in the list above to comply with this request.
As of 2pm on 21 March 2020, these closures are enforceable by law in England and Wales due to the threat to public health. 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.
4. Financial Support
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.
5. Business support
In England, under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) announced on Monday March 16, businesses in England in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be eligible for cash grants of up to £25,000 per property.
Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000. Businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000 are not included in this scheme. For more information please visit [gov.uk].
6. Business rates
In England, as announced on Monday 16 March, the government will provide a business rates holiday for businesses in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector. This includes the businesses in scope for closure listed above. This will apply automatically to your next business rates bill in April 2020. For more information please visit [gov.uk].
7. Further information
This guidance will be updated regularly as the situation develops. For businesses and others who have further questions related to this guidance, or the measures outlined within the guidance, please visit gov.uk. Devolved Administrations may issue further guidance on these matters within their nations.