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COVID-19Small to Medium Businesses

All Non-Essential UK Shops to Close

By March 23, 2020February 16th, 2021No Comments

PM Boris Johnson has announced at 8:30pm on 23rd March 2020 that all non-essential retail businesses must close immediately to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In addition the British public are – for all extents and purposes – on lockdown, albeit not in name.

UK high street

The public has been told during tonight’s statement that we are to not leave our homes unless it’s for food, medicines, strictly necessary travel to work, medical visits, or one time a day to exercise. And to leave for food and medicine as infrequently as possible.

See the full statement here.

PM Boris Johnson announces retail businesses are to close

The full list of essential / non-essential businesses has been released:



Supermarkets Restaurants and cafés
Food shops Pubs, bars and clubs
Health shops Hair and beauty salons
Pharmacies Tattoo parlours
Petrol stations Massage parlours
Bicycle shops Auction houses
Home and hardware stores Car showrooms
Laundrettes and dry cleaners Libraries
Garages Community centres
Car rentals Libraries
Pet shops Places of worship*
Corner shops Cinemas, theatres and concert halls
Newsagents Spas
Post offices Skating rinks
Banks Fitness studios, swimming pools, gyms
Market stalls selling groceries Arcades, bowling alleys, soft play centres
Enclosed playgrounds, sports facilities and pitches in parks

*except for funerals

This is an expected blow to retail businesses following the closure of hospitality, leisure and restaurants. The government’s support for closed businesses will apply to these newly closed businesses, including the funding of 80% of workers salary. You can find information on all the government schemes, grants and allowances on this blog.

Retail businesses may operate online, and if your retail business is not currently online but could operate in this way then it could be a good time to start working on that. While the PM stated that these measures will be reviewed and relaxed in three weeks’ time if possible, we believe it’s likely that they will be upheld for significantly longer.

If this update affects your business contact your accountant to discuss government grants, allowances, loans and business planning strategies to help your business survive and thrive once measures are relaxed.

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