Coronavirus guidance for businesses

Page updated: 12 April 2021

National Lockdown latest government guidance

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions)(Steps)(England) Regulations 2021.

As part of the gradual unlocking of Coronavirus Restrictions the Government has announced a roadmap. This is a phased removal of restrictions over the next few months. We will be moving into Step 2 on 12 April 2021.

Key messages are:

  • Only socialise indoor with people you live with or who are in your support bubble.
  • Up to 6 people or two households can meet outside.
  • Work from home if you can and only travel when necessary.
  • If you have symptoms get a test and stay at home.

From 12 April more businesses can open.

  • Non-essential retail will be able to reopen.
  • Personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons will be able to reopen.
  • Public buildings such as libraries and community centres will be able to reopen.
  • Outdoor hospitality venues will be able to reopen, with table service only.
  • Most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) will be able to reopen.
  • Some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds will be able to take place.
  • Indoor leisure and sports facilities will be able to reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble.
  • All childcare and supervised activities will be allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number).
  • Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events will be able to take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens.
  • Self-contained accommodation will be able to open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble.

Full guidance on the restrictions during Step 2 is available on the government's website.

The Government has announced additional support measures for businesses. For information on support available and how to apply for it, visit our support for businesses pages.

Local Authorities still have powers to issue Restriction Notices and Fixed Penalty Notices (on the spot fines) for various breaches of the legislation. Please be aware that both Council Officers and Covid Marshalls are making regular spot checks of businesses to check compliance.

If you have any questions or would like further information, please contact

There are a number of key steps to working safely during coronavirus

  1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff. And make sure that you put in place all of the controls that you identify in your assessment. There is guidance on how to work safely available to help you work out what controls are needed for your type of business. The HSE also has webpages with information on how to do a risk-assessment. Make sure you consult with your staff when preparing your assessment and share the final version with them
  2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot by different people (e.g. taps and door handles). Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
  3. Ask your customers to wear face coverings in any indoor space or where required to do so by law. That is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions do apply. Check when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own. Certain staff will need to wear face coverings too (see below for details). You must provide posters in prominent places or do something else to remind customers or them of the legal requirement to wear face coverings when in your business.
  4. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Social distancing means keeping 2m apart wherever possible from people not in your household. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one way system that your staff/customers can follow.
  5. Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running ventilation systems at all times.
  6. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by providing a NHS QR code and keeping a record of all your customers for 21 days.Some exemptions apply. Maintain records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace for details.
  7. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating.

We have prepared three fact-sheets for different sectors which contain a summary of the key guidance and  links to other resources, and a downloadable poster for you to use. These files may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Please go to our accessibility statement for more information.

For other sectors and more detailed guidance go to the GOV.UK website

Food business advice 

Visit the FSA website for more infomation for food businesses on food safety during COVID-19

Retail businesses and face coverings

All staff with a customer facing role will (unless they are specifically exempt) need to wear suitable face coverings. The face covering should be close fitting around the nose and mouth.

If there is a screen between the staff member and the customer a face covering is not required.