Reopening your business safely

From 1 June reopening of outdoor markets and car salesrooms was allowed.

From 15 June the reopening of all other non-essentisl retail shops (clothing, toys, furniture, electronics, indoor markets etc) was allowed.

From 4 July the following business were allowed to reopen:

  • hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartments or homes, cottages or bungalows, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses
  • places of worship
  • libraries
  • community centres
  • restaurants, cafes, workplace canteens, bars, pubs that are self-contained and can be accessed from the outside
  • hair salons and barbers, including mobile businesses
  • cinemas
  • theatres and concert halls
  • funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities
  • outdoor gyms and playgrounds
  • museums and galleries
  • bingo halls
  • outdoor skating rinks
  • amusement arcades and other entertainment centres
  • model villages
  • social clubs
  • indoor attractions at aquariums, zoos, safari parks, farms, wildlife centres and any place where animals are exhibited to the public as an attraction
  • indoor and outdoor areas of visitor attractions including, gardens, heritage sites, film studios and landmarks

From 11 July the following businesses could reopen and some further activities were allowed:

  • outdoor swimming pools and outdoor water parks 
  • outdoor performances in front of a live audience and indoor rehearsals in COVID-19 secure venues. Indoor rehearsals and indoor performances for broadcast should only happen where no audience is present.
  • smaller-scale indoor performances can be piloted in COVID-19 secure venues once approved by the Government

From 13 July the following businesses were allowed to reopen:

  • close contact services, such as nail bars, salons, tanning booths, spas, massage parlours, tattoo parlours and body piercing studios. Only services that do not involve work in the highest risk zone – directly in front of the face – should be made available to clients, in line with government guidance.

From 25 July the following businesses were allowed to reopen:

  • sports facilities and venues, including such as indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios, indoor swimming pools and indoor water parks

From 15 August the following businesses are allowed to reopen:

  • Bowling alleys
  • Indoor skating rinks
  • Casinos
  • Indoor play areas, including soft-play areas
  • Indoor theatres, music and performance venues can reopen with socially distanced audiences
  • Beauty salons, tattoo studios, spas and barbers across England will be able to offer all close contact services

New restrictions were announced by the Government on 22 September to help reduce the number of Covid-19 infections during the winter. The restrictions below will, potentially, last until March 2021:

  • From 24 September 2020, businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls, must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This will include takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm.
  • In licensed premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table.
  • From 24 September 2020, customers must eat and drink at a table in any premises selling food and drink to consume indoors, on site
  • From 24 September 2020, businesses will need to display the official NHS QR code posters so that customers can ‘check-in’ at different premises using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details once the app is rolled out nationally. See our section on the NHS Covid-19 app for more information
  • From 23 September 2020, customers in private hire vehicles and taxis must wear face covering
  • From 24 September 2020, customers in hospitality venues must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. Staff in hospitality and retail will now also be required to wear face coverings
  • People who are already exempt from the existing face covering obligations, such as because of an underlying health condition, will continue to be exempt from these new obligations
  • From 24 September 2020, guidance stating that face coverings and visors should be worn in close contact services will now become law

Businesses and organisations will face stricter rules to make their premises Covid-19 Secure from 28 September.

  • A wider range of leisure and entertainment venues, services provided in community centres, and close contact services will be subject to the COVID-19 Secure requirements in law and fines of up to £10,000 for repeated breaches
  • Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work
  • Businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where mandated

Business events and conferences will now not be allowed to take place from 1 October 2020.

The following businesses must remain closed:

If your business or venue is permitted to reopen or remain open, it must close off or cease to provide any businesses or services which must remain closed.

All indoor and outdoor hospitality including, cafes, bars, pubs, and restaurants, can open unless they are a part of the premises of a business or venue which must remain closed as set out above. If they are in self-contained units that can be accessed from the outside they may open.

Making your business Covid-19 secure

If you want to reopen your business then you will have to produce a risk assessment, taking into account your own specific circumstances.

The information below is aimed at shops and branches. Guidance for other types of business can be found further down this page.


 Below is a list of things shops and branches need to consider before reopening.

  • A one way system around your business (if possible)
  • Appropriate signs at entrances. Download generic social distancing signs.
  • Restricting the number of people in your business at any one time
  • Asking people to shop alone or with one family member only (this is not required by law)
  • Special shopping times for elderly/vulnerable
  • You must make sure people queuing are kept 2m apart (socially distanced)
  • When busy you may need a staff member to control the number of people coming through the door
  • Discourage people from browsing and going back and forth
  • Reminder distance markings on the floor or posters.
  • Discouraging people from touching goods too much
  • Providing hand sanitiser gel at entrances to reassure customers. This also helps minimise risk from people touching items. Schedule appropriate cleaning of any sanitiser containers/dispensers as they can be touched by hundreds of people and could become a hot spot for virus transmission. 
  • Clothing cannot be tried on.
  • You must make sure staff have access to handwashing facilities and make use of them with good handwashing practices
  • All staff should have access to sanitisers and use them regularly. Sanitisers should always be seen as complementary to good handwashing.
  • Consider use of masks and gloves (both will need several changes a day) by staff and you need to be careful how they are removed or they can spread infections rather than reduce them.
  • Discouraging cash sales
  • You must make it clear staff with symptoms must self-isolate along with the rest of their household. If this does happen you may need to put extra cleaning procedures in place for the premises to reassure other staff.
  • Shoppers do not have to wear face coverings by law, but it is recommended in enclosed spaces.
  • Make sure any baskets, trolleys etc are part of cleaning schedules.
  • Thorough cleaning and disinfection at the end of each day, especially touch points like handles.  

This should not be taken as a comprehensive list. You know your own premises and the particular challenges and risks. There may be other things you need to think of as you do your risk assessment.Officers at Worcestershire Regulatory Services have produced guidance for businesses wanting to sell goods outside their shop.

The Government has produced some useful documents to help you with your risk assessment.

Guidance for other types of businesses

NHS test and trace advice

NHS test and trace is an important part of tackling the Covid-19 outbreak. 

There is a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 in premises where customers and visitors spend a longer time in one place and potentially come into close contact with other people outside of their household. To manage this risk, establishments in the following sectors, whether indoor or outdoor venues or mobile settings, are required to collect details and maintain records of staff, customers and visitors:

  • hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
  • tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks
  • close contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors
  • facilities provided by local authorities, including town halls and civic centres for events, community centres, libraries and children’s centres
  • places of worship, including use for events and other community activities

Read the government's guidance to help you carry out your responsibilities as part of the NHS Test and Trace system.

This guidance does not apply to businesses that provides an on-site service and to any events that take place on its premises. It does not apply where services are taken off site immediately, for example, a food or drink outlet which only provides takeaways. If a business offers a mixture of a sit-in and takeaway service, contact information only needs to be collected for customers who are dining in.

This guidance does not apply to drop-off deliveries made by suppliers or contractors.

NHS Covid-19 app and QR code posters

On Thursday, 24 September 2020 the NHS Covid-19 app will launch. This is part of the test and trace service and will important in helping to control the spread of coronavirus. It will be a legal requirement for all businesses in the following sectors to display a QR code poster:

  • Hospitality
  • Leisure and tourism
  • Close contact services
  • Places of worship
  • Local authority venues

Businesses in these sectors are also legally required to hold a log of customers visiting their premises for those who do not check in using the QR code.

Community organisations with a physical location open to the public, and anyone holding an event in a physical location, should also download a QR poster. 

Other venues not required by law to display a QR poster, but have an area within their venue where people will gather together, close to each other for 15 minutes or more, are advised to put one up.

Retail stores do not have to display a QR poster, unless they have a hospitality part of their business, but they may do so if they wish.

If you have more than one venue, then you will need more than one QR code. In large venues, you may wish to consider having more than one QR code for different sections. 

Businesses found breaking the law face a fine of up to £1,000 and up to £4,000 for repeat offenders.

Getting a QR code for your venue is quick and easy from the Government’s website.

Get a QR code for your business or venue

Further information

Guidance on maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors

A guide to creating a QR code for your venue

Tips for displaying your QR poster

An overview of how the NHS Covid-19 app works

Managing and reporting an outbreak

The Government has produced a series of action cards to help businesses understand what they need to do in the event of a Covid-19 outbreak.

The action cards have been developed to cover a range of businesses and organisations to provide specific advice on the issues each type of organisation may face now lockdown restrictions have been eased.

Download Covid-19 outbreak management action cards

Pavement licences

Apply for a pavement licence to allow you to serve diners outside your premises.

Find out more and apply for a pavement licence

Support for businesses affected by coronavirus

The Government has unveiled a range of financial support to help businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

This includes:

  • A cash grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
  • Small Business Grant Funding

This scheme is now closed for applications.

Discretionary grant funding

A grant from the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund is available for businesses not eligible to receive either the cash grant for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses or the small business grant.

Guidance has been issued by the Government and the types of business that are expected to benefit from this new funding are:

  • Businesses in shared offices or other flexible workspaces. Examples could include units in industrial parks, science parks and incubators which do not have their own business rates assessment
  • Regular market traders with fixed building costs, such as rent, who do not have their own business rates assessment
  • Bed & Breakfasts which pay Council Tax instead of business rates
  • Charity properties in receipt of charitable business rates relief which would otherwise have been eligible for Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rate Relief

We have put together a policy to help us distribute this money in the fairest way possible and to help us support as many businesses as possible. Unfortunately, the money will not be enough to help every single business that does not qualify for the two main grants.

This scheme is now closed for applications.

Business Rates discounts

New discounts on Business Rates have been introduced for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses, pubs and nurseries. These discounts will be applied automatically and you will be sent a new bill shortly. Visit our Business Rates Reductions page for more information.

Loans and other support

There is a range of other financial support available to help you through this challenging time.

The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme supports small and medium-sized businesses with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to six years. You should talk to your bank or one of the 40 accredited finance providers offering the scheme (and not the British Business Bank) as soon as possible to discuss your business plan with them.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is run by HMRC. It allows UK employers with a PAYE scheme to continue to pay part of their employees’ salary to avoid the need to have to make them redundant.

You can use the Government’s online eligibility checker tool to find coronavirus financial support for your business.

Visit the Government's business support page for more information about all the support on offer.

You can sign up to our business e-newsletter at and we will provide you with the latest updates direct to your inbox. 

Follow our social media channels @MalvernHills_DC and @EcoDevMHDC for further updates on Covid 19 business support as we receive them.

Help for the self-employed

If you are self-employed you can apply for help through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme. The deadline for applications for the second and final taxable grant available is 19 October 2020. You must make your claim on or before this date.