On Saturday, the Prime Minister announced that a new tier – Tier 4 – had been created and due to the sharp rise in cases, the following areas have been moved to Tier 4:
– all 32 boroughs of London plus the City of London
– South East: Kent and Medway, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire (Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, Wokingham, Windsor and Maidenhead and West Berkshire), Surrey (excluding Waverley), Hastings and Rother, Havant, Gosport and Portsmouth
– East of England: Hertfordshire, Essex (excluding Tendring, Uttlesford and Colchester), Central Bedfordshire, Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton and Peterborough
All areas covered by Tier 4 have been issued with a “Stay At Home” notice which means people cannot travel out of this tier unless it’s for work or education. You also cannot meet anyone outside of your household indoors, including over Christmas and you can only meet one person from another household outdoors. These rules take effect from December 20th, 2020 until at least December 30th, 2020 when the rules will be reviewed.
This came as quite a shock for a lot of people and it now means that many businesses have had to close as they are not considered essential and everyone should be working from home, unless their job means they can’t (construction, manufacturing, health care worker).
Businesses that need to close in all Tier 4 areas include:
- all non-essential retail (clothing stores, homeware stores, vehicle showrooms, betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses, market stalls selling non-essential goods. These stores can continue to operate click-and-collect and delivery services – but they cannot be open for the general public to just walk in.
- hospitality venues – cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs – unless they are providing food and drink for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery
- accommodation – hotels, hostels, guest houses, campsites – unless for specific circumstances like being someone’s main residence, to provide support to the homeless or if someone has to stay there for work purposes
- leisure and sports facilities – leisure centres, indoor gyms, indoor swimming pools, indoor sports courts, indoor fitness/dance studios, indoor riding centres and indoor climbing walls
- entertainment venues – theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, indoor play and soft play centres, circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks and theme parks
- indoor attractions at venues like botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks
- personal care facilities – hair/beauty/tanning/nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body/skin piercing services – these services should not be provided in other people’s homes
- community centres and halls – except for a limited number of exempt activities, libraries can remain open to provide access to IT and digital services and for click-and-collect services
Other businesses can stay open as long as they are following Covid-19 Secure guidelines, and providing essential goods and services – food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licenses, market stalls selling essential goods, businesses providing repair services, petrol stations, automatic car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, taxi and vehicle hire businesses.
To see a full list of businesses that can stay open and activities that can be held in businesses that have had to close, visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home#financial-support.
At present, no further guidelines have been provided in terms of any special financial support Tier 4 businesses will receive, but I will keep an eye on things and if anything is announced, I will share it. The same support that is available to all businesses affected is available: furlough scheme, Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, Bounce Back Loans. You can find a list of all the different support schemes available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.
I am continually monitoring the updates that the government and other business-related departments release and will continue to share that information for as long as I feel that it is beneficial to all businesses in the UK.
The information and policies are continually being updated by the government, so I urge you to keep on top of the information by visiting the relevant website for your area.
Northern Ireland: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/
I will be trying to keep myself as informed as possible and will share relevant information on my fb business page: https://www.facebook.com/ihelmenterprises/