Following the introduction of COVID lockdown 3 on 5 January 2021, we have released a series of articles explaining the legal impact on eight areas of daily life. This first article looks at how COVID affects the ability of businesses to open and trade with their customers.

Can your business still open?

Most businesses can still operate, even in lockdown, although there are updated limits and restrictions on how you can operate. Some businesses however are required to close for the time being.

Businesses that must close:

  • Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to operate click-and-collect and delivery services.
  • Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm) and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
  • Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms
  • Entertainment venues such as theatres, cinemas, casinos, fairgrounds, funfairs, and theme parks
  • Animal attractions such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife reserves
  • Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services must not be provided in other people’s homes
  • Community centres and halls except for a limited number of exempt activities

If you do need to close, or even if you chose to temporarily suspend trading, you may wish to put your staff on furlough. For this, please see our article on COVID and the Furlough Scheme

Seeing customers in businesses that can remain open

If your business is one that can remain open and you need to see clients and customers, this is still allowed. If you would normally have clients visit your premises, non-essential meetings should not take place in person. Where possible, any meetings should be conducted over a suitable alternative platform, such as telephone or video calling.

If a meeting is necessary and there is no alternative to holding it face to face, the meeting can still go ahead. Strict social distancing should be adhered to at all times, including but not limited to wiping down surfaces before and after, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

Keyworker Services

If your business is providing keyworker services, it may be necessary to go to people’s homes to provide these services (for example plumbing services). This is also permitted, but once again, social distancing measures should be adhered to where possible at all times.

For more information on COVID and your customers

If you are unsure whether you can remain open for business at the moment and what you can and cannot do in terms of meeting with or visiting clients, please contact the Backhouse team for help and advice.

The Backhouse Solicitors Team

Tel: 01245 893400
Visit: 17 Duke Street, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1JU

Or send us a message through the Contact Us page on this website