Essential Businesses in the UK

View which businesses will be closed for the COVID-19 lockdown.

Essential Businesses Uk

June 2nd, 2020

As of 30 March 2020, many businesses have been closed to curb the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) as most of these businesses involve close social contact. For now, these businesses have been asked to remain closed for 3 weeks. Businesses considered 'essential businesses' can remain open during this time to provide essential services.

What is an Essential Business?

Essential businesses are those that provide essential products or services necessary to the health and well-being of the public. These businesses include food and grocery stores, hotels that serve as interim or permanent abodes, and tradespeople offering repair and maintenance services.

Due to public confusion as to exactly which businesses must close during the COVID-19 lockdown, the UK Goverment has released a detailed list.

Essential Food and Drink Business to Remain Open:

  • Food delivery and takeaway, including those operating as a new activity according to the permitted development right.
  • Cafes and canteens at hospitals, police and fire stations, care homes or schools.
  • Prison and military canteens.
  • Services providing food and drink to the homeless.
  • Workplace canteens when it is not possible for workers to bring food from home or when employers cannot engage takeaway services.

Food and Drink Business to Remain Closed:

  • Restaurants.
  • Public houses.
  • Wine bars.
  • Other food or drinking establishments, including within hotels and members' clubs.
  • Cafes and canteens.

Essential Retail Business to Remain Open:

  • Supermarkets and other food shops.
  • Medical service providers, including dental surgeons, opticians and audiology clinics, physiotherapy clinics, podiatry clinics, and other professional vocational medical services.
  • Pharmacies and chemists, including non-dispensing pharmacies.
  • Petrol stations.
  • Bicycle shops.
  • Hardware shops.
  • Equipment, plant, and tool hire.
  • Veterinary surgeries and pet shops.
  • Agricultural supplies shops.
  • Corner shops and newsagents.
  • Off-licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol (including those within breweries).
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners.
  • Post offices.
  • Vehicle rental services.
  • Car garages and MOT services.
  • Car parks.
  • High street banks, building societies, short-term loan providers, credit unions, and cashpoints.
  • Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop-off points.
  • Public toilets.
  • Shopping centers, but only units of the types listed above may trade.
  • Market stalls which offer essential retail items, such as food and other groceries.

Retail Businesses to Remain Closed:

  • Hairdressers and barbers.
  • Beauty and nail salons.
  • Piercing and tattoo parlors.
  • All retail shops with exceptions listed above.
  • Outdoor and indoor markets.
  • Auction houses.

Essential Hotels to Remain Open For:

  • People who use hotels as interim or permanent abodes.
  • People who use caravan parks/sites as interim or permanent abodes.
  • Key-workers and non-UK residents who are unable to leave at this time can continue to stay in hotels or similar.
  • People who are unable to move into a new home may stay in hotels.
  • Hotels, hostels, and B&Bs providing rooms to support the homeless and other vulnerable people.
  • People attending funerals can stay in hotels when it would be impractical to return to their homes.
  • Hotels can host blood donation sessions.

Hotels Must Close For:

  • Hotels, hostels, B&Bs, holiday rentals, campsites, and boarding houses must close to commercial use.
  • Caravan parks and sites must close for commercial use.

Non-Essential Businesses That Must Close:

All non-residential institutions, such as libraries, community centers, and places of worship, must remain closed except for specific exceptions.

All assembly and leisure institutions, such as museums, nightclubs, cinemas, casinos, spas, skating rinks, fitness studios, arcades, and funfairs must remain closed except for some specific exceptions.

All outdoor recreation areas, such as playgrounds, sports courts and pitches, and outdoor gyms or similar must remain closed.

Situations Where Non-Residential Institutions May Remain Open:

  • Digital library services and institutions where orders can be taken electronically, by telephone, or by post.
  • Community centers, youth centers, and similar hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks, homeless services, and blood donation sessions.
  • Places of worship for funerals with limited participants, for the minister to broadcast an act of worship, and for the purpose of hosting an essential voluntary or public service, such as food banks, homeless services, and blood donation sessions.

Situations Where Assembly and Leisure Institutions May Remain Open:

  • Small group performances at cinemas, theaters, and concert halls where live streaming is possible and no audience attends at the venue.
  • Any suitable fitness studio, gym, swimming pool, or other indoor leisure centers for blood donation services.

Working in People's Homes:

Work may be carried out in people's homes, for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, on the condition that the tradesperson is not showing any symptoms. The tradesperson must also respect the Public Health England guidelines and maintain a 2-metre distance from all of the home's occupants.

In households that are isolating, only emergency repairs may be made to fix something that is a risk to the safety of the household, such as an electrical issue. Tradespeople with COVID-19 symptoms, however mild, may not carry out any work in other people's homes.

Takeaway and Delivery Services:

People, including delivery drivers, can still go into takeaway and delivery facilities to access their services. Ordering in advance online or by telephone is encouraged to avoid waiting in the store. These businesses should also not provide any indoor or outdoor seating arrangements that will encourage customers to stay.

Restaurants, cafes, and pubs may now also offer takeaway and delivery services without having to go through any legal requirements. While waiting for their takeaways, people may not eat or drink on the premises.

Only takeaway and delivery facilities with off-licenses may include alcoholic beverages in their list of takeaway and delivery items.

More COVID-19 Resources:

FAQs:

What are essential businesses in the UK?

Essential businesses are those that provide essential products or services necessary to the health and well-being of the public. These businesses include food and grocery stores, hotels that serve as interim or permanent abodes, and tradespeople offering repair and maintenance services.

Which retail stores are essential businesses in the UK?

  • Supermarkets and other food shops.
  • Medical services, including dental surgeries, opticians and audiology clinics, physiotherapy clinics, podiatry clinics, and other professional vocational medical services.
  • Pharmacies and chemists, including non-dispensing pharmacies.
  • Petrol stations.
  • Bicycle shops.
  • Hardware shops.
  • Equipment, plant, and tool hire.
  • Veterinary surgeries and pet shops.
  • Agricultural supplies shops.
  • Corner shops and newsagents.
  • Off-licenses and licensed shops selling alcohol (including those within breweries).
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners.
  • Post offices.
  • Vehicle rental services.
  • Car garages and MOT services.
  • Car parks.
  • High street banks, building societies, short-term loan providers, credit unions, and cashpoints.
  • Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop-off points.
  • Public toilets.
  • Shopping centers, but only units of the types listed above may trade.
  • Market stalls which offer essential retail items, such as food and other groceries.

Can restaurants stay open in the UK?

All restaurants, public houses, wine bars, and other food or drinking establishments, including within hotels and members' clubs, must close from 23 March 2020 for a period of 3 weeks to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, restaurants, pubs, and cafes may start offering delivery and takeaway services, in accordance with new planning regulations.

Can I buy alcohol during the UK lockdown?

Yes. Off-licenses have been added to the list of essential businesses. This means that shops, including breweries, licensed to sell alcohol may continue to do so.