As expected, the UK’s coronavirus lockdown rules have changed once more, as England joins Scotland and Wales in national lockdown. The new rules will run until at least the middle of February. Here’s how different businesses will be affected.
Work from home if you can
As with the first lockdown back in March, everyone is being asked to work from home wherever possible. This means pretty much all office workers will now need to take up the spare room or dining table again, and avoid the daily commute once more.
The only exceptions to the work from home rules are those who simply can’t do their job from home, such as shop workers, social workers, nannies, cleaners, tradespeople and construction workers. Teachers can also go to classes to teach the children of key workers.
If you find yourself working from home once more, remember that using a conference call is the simplest way to keep in touch with clients and colleagues. All you need is a landline or mobile phone, and you can connect with up to 100 people, in crystal clear HD-quality sound – no need to worry about wobbly internet connections or untidy backgrounds.
Which businesses need to close?
The new guidelines are very specific about which businesses need to close, they include:
- All non-essential shops – clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods.
- All hospitality venues – pubs, restaurants, cafes, bars, social clubs.
- All accommodation – hotels, hostels, guest houses and camp sites, unless they act as a person’s main residence or the person can’t return home. Hotels may also accept guests who need to stay for work purposes.
- All leisure facilities – leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts,fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses.
- All personal care services – hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services . This includes mobile services.
It’s worth noting that any venues that sell food and non-alcoholic drinks can stay open for takeaway services, up until 11pm each day. They can also offer delivery. Alcohol can also be delivered from these venues, but is not suitable for takeaway.
Which businesses can stay open?
There are range of ‘essential’ businesses that can stay open, including:
- Shops selling ‘essential’ items or providing ‘essential’ services, including food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences. Launderettes and dry cleaners, agricultural supplies shops, and mobility and disability support shops can all stay open, as can storage and distribution facilities.
- Businesses offering repair services, including garages and MOT services.
- Businesses providing financial services.
- Medical, dental and veterinary services.