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Businesses permitted to remain open


Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open during the national lockdown.

Essential retail should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.

The following businesses and venues that provide goods for sale or hire are permitted to remain open, including if they operate from an outdoor market stall, or at a defined concession within a shopping centre:

  • Food retailers, including food markets, supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops. This also includes fresh food retailers (such as butchers, bakers, greengrocers, fishmongers, and delicatessens)
  • Off licences and licensed shops selling alcohol
  • Pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies) and chemists
  • Newsagents
  • Hardware (such as tools, builders’ hardware, paint and glass) stores, building merchants and building services
  • Petrol stations, car repair shops, bicycle shops and MOT services. Other vehicle repair can also go ahead at these venues.
  • Car parks and motorway service areas
  • Taxi or vehicle hire businesses
  • Banks, building societies, credit unions, short term loan providers, savings clubs, cash points and undertakings which by way of business operate currency exchange offices, transmit money (or any representation of money) by any means or cash cheques which are made payable to customers
  • Post offices
  • Funeral directors
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • Dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health
  • Veterinary surgeons, animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and pet shops. Animal grooming facilities may also stay open but must only be used for the purposes of the animal’s welfare (and not for aesthetic purposes).
  • Garden centres and agricultural supplies shops. This does not include florists.
  • Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off or collection points, where the facilities are in the premises of a business allowed to remain open. For example, you can return an order to a drop box in a supermarket or drop it off for collection in a newsagents. Deliveries of supplies can also go ahead for premises that are otherwise required to close by law.

Businesses that provide services (rather than goods) - such as accountants, solicitors, and estate agents - are not required to close, unless listed in Businesses subject to restrictions on the GOV.UK website.

These businesses should take steps to ensure they are COVID-19 Secure including, where possible, providing services remotely or virtually.

Guidance on mixed retail

  • A business selling a significant amount of essential retail may also continue to sell goods typically sold at non-essential retail. For example, a supermarket that sells food is not required to close off or cordon off aisles selling homeware.
  • Where a business selling essential retail has another, separate business embedded within it that is required to close, the embedded business must close. For example, an electronics business operating a concession within a supermarket must close, as would a bookshop business inside a garden centre.
  • Where a business has sufficiently distinct parts, and one section provides essential retail and one section provides non-essential retail, the non-essential sections should close to limit interactions between customers and the opportunity for the disease to spread. Sufficiently distinct sections might involve operating in separate buildings, across separate floors, a door between sections, using separate cashiers, or another clear demarcation between sections. For example a food shop may stay open, but a homeware section on a separate floor or separate building should close.