The government has published detailed guidance on which businesses can stay open during the national lockdown.
Businesses providing essential goods and services, plus some businesses where social distancing is possible, are allowed to remain open during the latest lockdown. These include:
✅ Supermarkets, off-licenses & grocery shops
✅ Petrol stations & motorway services
✅ Post offices
✅ Pet supply stores
✅ Bank & building society branches
✅ Garden centres
✅ Funeral directors
✅ Garages & MOT centres
✅ Estate agents & home removals
✅ Home cleaners
Businesses that remain open are being asked to introduce added safety measures, to ensure they’re ‘COVID-secure’.
These include limiting the number of customers that are allowed in, encouraging customers to use hand sanitiser, and completing more regular cleaning of the premises. All customers must also wear a face covering while shopping, unless they’re medically exempt. These same rules apply to branches of other essential service providers, such as banks, building societies & post offices.
You’re still allowed to move house during the lockdown, so estate agent services, home removals & property viewings are allowed to continue. Ideally, viewings should be completed virtually - if this isn’t possible, social distancing should be observed and face coverings should be worn, unless you’re medically exempt. Any properties that are viewed should be thoroughly cleaned after each viewing. Nobody outside of your household or support bubble is allowed to assist with any part of the home move.
Which businesses must close during the national lockdown?
As well as asking the public to stay at home, the government has also introduced restrictions that require some businesses to close throughout the lockdown. Affected businesses include:
❌ Non-essential retail, such as clothes shops & electronics stores
❌ Hospitality venues, such as bars, restaurants & pubs (except for takeaway & delivery)
❌ Entertainment venues, such as cinemas, music venues & arcades
❌ Casinos & betting shops
❌ Gyms, leisure centres, dance studios & swimming pools
❌ Nail salons & other beauty treatments
❌ Market stalls (unless they’re selling essential goods)
Why have these businesses been told to close?
These businesses have been closed because avoiding ‘close contact’ is impractical.
The only businesses allowed to stay open are where it’s possible to avoid close contact through social distancing, or where the business is considered ‘essential’ - such as food shops. NHS Test and Trace have provided more detail on what exactly counts as a ‘close contact’:
- “having face-to-face contact with someone less than 1 metre away (this will include times where you have worn a face covering or a face mask)
- having been within 2 metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day)
- travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey) or close to them on a plane” www.gov.uk
Do all of these businesses have to shut entirely?
Non-essential retail can continue to trade online, and from ‘click and collect’ facilities. Similarly, restaurants can continue to operate, but food & drink can only be served as a takeaway or delivery.
Can a cleaner or tradesperson visit my home during the national lockdown?
Home service providers including cleaners and tradespeople are allowed during lockdown:
"Where it is necessary for you to work in other people's homes - for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople - you can do so" www.gov.uk
The government has published detailed guidance for people working in other people’s homes, to ensure that they can continue to deliver their services safely. Service providers must follow social distancing guidelines and use enhanced hygiene procedures to ensure that customers and workers are kept safe during visits.
Most importantly, none of these services should go ahead if anyone is unwell, or has been instructed to self-isolate.
How long will restrictions on businesses & services be in place?
The current rules are expected to last until at least the middle of February, and perhaps into March. The prime minister has warned that the government will ‘remain cautious about the timetable ahead’.
The current lockdown legislation that was passed by parliament on the 6th January is in effect until 31 March, although it’s possible that some restrictions may be eased before this date.
Where can I find more information on the national lockdown?
You can find out more info about what is and isn’t allowed during the national lockdown through the links below.