Guidance: Reopening businesses and venues (England)

The Government's 4 step process to reopening businesses in the UK.

The Government’s 4 step process to reopening businesses in the UK.

  • Step 1 – from 8 March
  • Step 2 – no earlier than 12 April
  • Step 3 – no earlier than 17 May
  • Step 4 – no earlier than 21 June

Step 1 – from 8 March

Part 1 – from 8 March

Businesses permitted to open remain the same as currently allowed.

In addition, businesses eligible to host childcare and supervised activities for children (such as community centres or libraries) will be able to host these activities for children providing that they are necessary to enable parents to work, seek work, attend education, seek medical care, or attend a support group.

Part 2 – From 29 March

At this stage, some further settings will be permitted to open.

This will include outdoor sports facilities such as:

  • gyms
  • swimming pools
  • sports courts (such as tennis and basketball courts)
  • golf courses, including mini golf
  • water sports venues
  • climbing walls
  • driving and shooting ranges
  • riding arenas at riding centres
  • archery venues

People can use these venues in a group of six people, or with members of up to two households.

At this step, formally organised outdoor sport will also return – this can include a larger number of participants, provided that appropriate steps are taken to make it COVID-Secure in line with the law. Indoor facilities, such as changing rooms, should not be used at this time, although toilet facilities can be accessed. At this stage, these gatherings must only include participants – not spectators.

Businesses eligible to host childcare and supervised activities for children will now be able to host all outdoor children’s activities, and outdoor parent-and-child groups for up to 15 people (not counting those aged under five).

Step 2 – no earlier than 12 April

Following the move to Step 2, further settings will be permitted to open. Unless a specific exemption exists, these must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage – as a single household or bubble indoors; or in a group of 6 people or 2 households outdoors.

Non-essential retail will reopen. This will include but not be limited to:

  • clothing stores and tailors
  • charity and antique shops
  • homeware and carpet stores
  • showrooms (such as for vehicles as well as kitchens and bathrooms)
  • electronic goods and mobile phone shops
  • retail travel agents
  • photography studios
  • remaining auction houses and markets
  • tobacco and vape stores
  • betting shops (subject to additional COVID-Secure measures, such as limiting the use of gaming machines).
  • car washes (except for automatic car washes that are already open)

Personal care facilities and close contact services will reopen. This will include:

  • hair, beauty and nail salons
  • body and skin piercing services
  • tattoo studios
  • spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas)
  • holistic therapy (including acupuncture, homeopathy, and reflexology)
  • tanning salons

Indoor sports and leisure facilities will reopen. This will include at:

  • gyms and leisure centres
  • sports courts
  • swimming pools
  • dance studios and fitness centres
  • driving and shooting ranges
  • riding arenas
  • archery venues
  • climbing wall centres

Self-contained holiday accommodation in which all facilities (including for sleeping, catering, bathing, and indoor lobbies and corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble will reopen.

Outdoor areas at hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, including in member’s clubs) can reopen, including for takeaway alcohol. These venues may allow customers to use toilets located inside. At any premises serving alcohol, customers will be required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (“table service”). Venues will be prohibited from providing shared smoking equipment such as shisha pipes.

Outdoor attractions will reopen at:

  • adventure parks and activities
  • animal attractions (such as at zoos, safari parks and aquariums)
  • drive in events, such as for cinemas, theatres, and other performances.
  • film studios
  • funfairs and fairgrounds
  • model villages
  • museums and galleries
  • skating rinks
  • theme parks
  • trampolining parks
  • water and aqua parks

Public buildings, such as community halls and centres, and libraries, can reopen.

Businesses eligible to host childcare and supervised activities for children will now be able to host these activities (including sport) for all children, regardless of circumstances.

Permitted businesses operating in otherwise closed attractions (such as a gift shop or a takeaway kiosk at a museum) may only open where they are a self-contained unit and can be accessed directly from the street.

Outdoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, can be organised, subject to specific conditions: that they comply with COVID-Secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, complete a related risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits (unless another exemption exists, such as for work purposes, or supervised activities for children). This could enable spectators at a grassroots sports match or a village fete, provided people do not mix beyond groups of 6 people or two households.We will update guidance to local authorities on how smaller outdoor events like these should be run safely.

In all the venues above, indoor events that bring people together – even if they do not mix with other households – must not run until Step 3. This is only permitted if there is an explicit exemption – this includes support groups, supervised activities for children, parent-and-child groups (up to 15 people, not counting those aged under five), communal worship, or a wedding, reception or commemorative event like a wake.

Over the spring, the Government will run a scientific Events Research Programme. This will include a series of pilots using enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing to evaluate the outcomes. These pilots will start in April.

Step 3 – no earlier than 17 May

Following the move to Step 3, further settings will be permitted to open. Unless a specific exemption exists, these must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage – in a group of 6 people or 2 households indoors; or in a group of no more than 30 people outdoors.

Indoor areas of hospitality venues will reopen. As outdoors, table service will be required. Venues will be prohibited from providing shared smoking equipment such as shisha pipes.

Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions will reopen. This will include:

  • cinemas
  • theatres
  • concert halls
  • museums and galleries
  • adventure playgrounds and activities
  • amusement arcades and adult gaming centres
  • bingo halls
  • casinos
  • bowling alleys
  • skating rinks
  • games, recreation and entertainment venues such as escape rooms and laser quest
  • play areas (including soft play centres and inflatable parks)
  • model villages
  • snooker and pool halls
  • trampolining parks
  • water and aqua parks
  • indoor visitor attractions at theme parks and film studios
  • indoor attractions at zoos, safari parks, aquariums and other animal attractions
  • indoor attractions at botanical gardens, greenhouses and biomes
  • indoor attractions at sculpture parks
  • indoor attractions at landmarks including observation wheels or viewing platforms
  • indoor attractions at stately or historic homes, castles, or other heritage sites
  • conference centres and exhibition halls, including for the purposes of business events (subject to the capacity limits set out below)

Remaining outdoor entertainment events, such as cinemas, theatres, and other performance events will also be permitted.

The remaining holiday accommodation can reopen, as can saunas and steam rooms. Indoor team sport and group exercise classes will return.

At this step, both outdoor and indoor gatherings or events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, can be organised, subject to specific conditions: that they comply with COVID-Secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, complete a related risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits (unless another exemption exists, such as for organised sport or exercise, supervised activities for children or a significant life event).

Spectators will be allowed at elite sporting events and performance events. Attendance at these events will be restricted to 50% of capacity up to 1,000 people for indoor events, and 50% of capacity up to 4,000 people for outdoor events. For outdoor events taking place in venues with seated capacity of over 16,000, event organisers may apply a 25% capacity cap, up to a maximum of 10,000 seated people. Large business events will also be able to go ahead, subject to the same capacity requirements.

Step 4 – no earlier than 21 June

In Step 4 we hope to reopen remaining settings such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues, and to lift the restrictions on social contact and large events that apply in Step 3. This is subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme, and a review of social distancing measures.

We will also look to relax COVID-Secure requirements on businesses, subject to the outcome of the reviews.

Reopening FAQ’s

Is the roadmap/steps set in stone and is the roadmap guidance or law?2021-03-02T10:03:45+00:00

The timings outlined in the roadmap are indicative, and the Government will be led by data, rather than fixed dates. Before taking each step, the Government will review the latest data and will only ease restrictions further if it is safe to do so.

The indicative, ‘no earlier than’ dates in the roadmap are all contingent on the data and subject to change.

The roadmap will be underpinned by regulations, though these are yet to be made. As set out in the roadmap, we hope to ease restrictions, incrementally, over a period of time. Until those points people must continue to follow the rules set out in law.

Why is the rule now either 6 people or 2 households?2021-03-02T10:04:38+00:00

We will re-introduce the ‘Rule of Six’ outdoors from 29 March, as well as enabling larger groups to meet if they are from two households. A ‘household’ can include a support bubble where eligible.

This rule allows either 6 people from different households or 2 households to gather.

Applying either limit provides greater flexibility, recognising the different situations faced by families and individuals; two households will be more helpful for families, while the Rule of 6 is likely to help people in different households to reunite outdoors, including those living alone or in shared accommodation. Those eligible to form a support bubble will still be able to do so, enabling close contact for many of those in most need of support, and will continue to be counted as part of the same household.

When can indoor elements of outdoor attractions such as botanical gardens, heritage homes, zoos and other animal attractions and landmarks open?2021-03-02T10:06:07+00:00

Before Step 3, indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes, zoos and other animal attractions and landmarks must close, though the outdoor attractions of these premises can open from Step 1 or 2 (depending on the attraction). Indoor toilet facilities can open at outdoor attractions at Step 2. 

When can funfairs and circuses be permitted to open?2021-03-02T10:07:47+00:00

Outdoor funfairs and fairgrounds can reopen in Step 2 – no earlier than 12 April. These events will be subject to local authority approval. Groups must be limited to up to 6 people or 2 households.

Outdoor circuses can reopen in Step 3 – no earlier than 17 May – with other outdoor performance events. Outdoor circus events will be subject to local authority approval.

Funfairs, fairgrounds and circuses will also need to be organised by a business, charity or similar organisation; comply with COVID-Secure guidance with reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission and the completion of a risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits (unless another exemption exists, such as for work purposes, or supervised activities for children).

When can active outdoor leisure activity such as ziplining restart?2021-03-02T10:11:24+00:00

Ziplining and other active outdoor leisure activities can restart in Step 2 – no earlier than 12 April, with outdoor attractions such as adventure parks in line with social contact rules – in a group of 6 people or 2 households outdoors.

When can tenpin bowling centres, trampolining and climbing reopen?2021-03-02T10:12:44+00:00

Outdoor climbing walls can open from 29 March. People can use these in a group of six people, or with members of up to two households. Indoor facilities, such as changing rooms, should not be used at this time, although toilet facilities can be accessed.

Indoor climbing walls can open from Step 2 – no earlier than 12 April. Unless a specific exemption exists, these must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage – as a single household or bubble indoors.

Outdoor trampolining parks can open in Step 2 – no earlier than 12 April. Unless a specific exemption exists, these must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage – in a group of 6 people or 2 households outdoors.

Indoor trampolining parks can open in Step 3 – no earlier than 17 May these must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage – in a group of 6 people or 2 households indoors.

Indoor bowling can open in Step 3 – no earlier than 17 May. Unless a specific exemption exists, it must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage – in a group of 6 people or 2 households indoors.

When can recreational boating take place?2021-03-02T10:14:51+00:00

From the 8th March self drive day hire of boats is permitted for the purpose of open air recreation in a public outdoor place (the vessel must be open air) for single household/bubble only.

From the 29th March self drive day hire of boats is permitted for 6 people / 2 households per boat if the vessel is open air and for a single household if the vessel is enclosed.

From 12 April self drive holiday hire boats are permitted for single household/bubble only.

From 17 May self drive holiday hire boats are permitted for 6 people / 2 households per boat.

Clarification on skippered boats will be sought and provided as soon as possible.

Private boating is permitted for recreation on waterways accessible to the public from 8 March for single household/bubble only. People should stay local, no overnight stays. From 29 March private boating is allowed for a single household/bubble in an indoor boat and 6 people / 2 households in an outdoor boat. People should minimise travel, no overnight stays.  From 12 April overnight stays are permitted for a single household/bubble. From 17 May overnight stays are permitted for 6 people / 2 households.

Can work meetings currently take place?2021-03-02T10:16:06+00:00

In-person meetings for work, training or education purposes can still take place but only where it is not possible to carry out the activity from home, and if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed COVID-19 guidance. People should only attend a business meeting in person if it is necessary for them to be there – social meetings with work colleagues should not happen. Permitted venues, including exhibition and conference centres, can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training purposes, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely in Step 1 and 2.

I know that there are a lot of outstanding questions regarding the Roadmap  and I’ve been following these up with DCMS today and they themselves are awaiting responses for many of these from the Cabinet Office. The delay is due to the Cabinet Office concentrating on clarifying issues related to the schools reopening on 8th March at the moment so there may be a bit of a delay before all  the tourism-related issues rise to the top. However, I will keep chasing to get answers for you as soon as possible.

2021-03-07T11:50:59+00:00March 2nd, 2021|COVID, News|
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