Coronavirus: All Non-Essential Businesses and Premises to Close

Added: 24th March 2020

The Government has announced all non-essential businesses and premises must shut, as it steps up measures to spread the coronavirus and save lives.

Online retail is still open and encouraged and postal and delivery services will run as normal.

For guidelines and advice on making deliveries to customers’ homes and installing products, Retra members should click here .

Last week, the Government ordered certain businesses, including pubs, cinemas and theatres, to close.

As of last night (March 23), it extended this requirement to a further set of businesses and other venues, including:

● all non-essential retail stores – this will include electronics and clothing shops, hair, beauty and nail salons, and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets.

Essential retail outlets and public premises which are allowed to open must ensure a distance of two meters between customers and shop assistants, and 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.

Parks will remain open but only for individuals and households to exercise once a day. Communal spaces within parks such as playgrounds and football pitches will be closed.

To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the Government is also stopping all

public gatherings of more than two people. 

There are only two exceptions to this rule:

● where the gathering is of a group of people who live together. This means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home.

● where the gathering is essential for work purposes, but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

In addition, the Government is stopping social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies. This will exclude funerals, which can be attended by immediate family.

Responding to the Government’s latest measures, 

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said: “Retailers understand the need for the Government to act quickly and decisively to protect public health and combat coronavirus. 

“The safety of customers and staff is paramount, which is why retailers have responded swiftly and positively to evolving Government guidance on social distancing and other hygiene matters. Indeed, many retailers had gone further and already closed shops temporarily.

"Others have continued to provide essential products and services to their customers, both from physical stores and online. Any retailers that remain open will be following the very latest Government public health guidance to ensure they do everything they can to ensure the safety of customers and staff.

“The public also has a vital role to play in maintaining lifesaving social distancing practices, both in and out of stores. We must all be considerate of the needs of those around us, and respectful of the retail staff who are working round the clock to put food and other essential items on our shelves and into our homes.”