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This page contains resources for retailers with regard to the developing situation of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). 

Additional resources are available at the bottom of the page.

If you have any questions or concerns about what to do in your business, contact Lydia Hamiltion-Rimmer via

Below is information for retailers on the current lockdown restrictions in England, Wales and Scotland.


On 22nd February, the Prime Minister addressed the House of Commons to set out the roadmap out of Covid-19 restrictions to transition towards a more normal life. Boris Johnson stated that the roadmap sets out a cautious and irreversible approach for England only, and the Government continues to work closely with devolved administrations.

The Governments’ COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 roadmap is available here.

Boris Johnson highlighted that the freedom from restrictions is only made possible by the pace and uptake of the vaccination programme. The Government therefore aims to offer 1st dose of a Covid-19 vaccine to JCVI priority groups 5-9 by the end of April and to every adult by end of July. The Prime Minister stated that the protection of a vaccine will replace the restrictions.

The four-part plan set out by the Prime Minister is driven by data on the following steps;

  1. The success of the vaccine rollout
  2. The number of hospital admissions and deaths falling
  3. the amount of pressure on the NHS
  4. the impact of any variants.

Stage 1

  • 8th March - All schools will open with outdoor after-school sports and activities allowed. Recreation in a public space will be allowed between two people, meaning they would be allowed to sit down for a coffee, drink or picnic.
  • 29th March - Outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be allowed, including gatherings in private gardens. From this date, people will be no longer legally required to stay at home but should work from home if they can and try not to travel. Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts will reopen and organised adult and children's sport will return.

Stage 2

  • 12th April – All non-essential retail will reopen, along with close contact services such as hairdressers. Hospitality can reopen providing an outdoor service only and there will be no requirement for alcohol with a ‘substantive’ meal. There will also be no curfew requirement.

Stage 3

  • 17th May- All restrictions on meeting outdoors will be lifted (subject to a limit of 30 people) and up to two households can meet indoors. Hospitality can resume indoors and sports stadiums will reopen.

Stage 4

  • June 21stAll restrictions will be lifted and testing will be used to reduce transmission in situations such as live music events.

The Prime Minister has stated there will be "at least" five weeks between each of the four steps to ensure easements are driven by secure data.

The Government is also launching a series of reviews to explore further ways of easing limits;

  • 1st review will look at whether having a vaccine or a negative test result can reduce restrictions on social contact.
  • 2nd review will pilot the impact of testing and reduced social distancing on events.
  • 3rd review will look at travel. International travel will not resume before 17 May, but a report on 12 April will look at how to facilitate more inbound and outbound travel.
  • 4th review will review social distancing measures, such as the one-metre-plus rule, rules on face coverings and working from home. This will conclude ahead of 21 June.

Finally, The Prime Minister announced that the provision of providing free testing kits will be extended until June, with small businesses able to collect testing kits from local testing sites.


On 11th December the Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford, provided an update on the rising cases of Covid-19 and new Covid-19 Control Plan. The plan was published on Monday 14th December and will move Wales to a four level system that will cover the entirety of Wales, instead of the regional system used elsewhere in the UK. The four levels are as follows;

  • Alert level one/low-risk – this represents the closest to normality we are likely to have before the summer and the widespread availability and take-up of vaccination.
  • Alert level two/medium-risk – additional, targeted controls are in place to maintain infection rates at lower levels. These may be complemented by more targeted local restrictions to manage hotspots or specific incidents and outbreaks.
  • Alert level three/high-risk – these are the strictest package of restrictions, short of a firebreak or lockdown.
  • Alert level four/very high risk – restrictions at this level are equivalent to a lockdown and reflect the seriousness of the situation.

All of Wales is currently at alert level 4. 

The Welsh Government Covid Control Plan is available here.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restriction) (No.5) (Wales) Regulations 2020 have been amended to require additional restrictions on all retail premises in Wales.

All retail premises must comply with the regulations here under point 17A. from 20th January 2021;

  • Measures for controlling entry to the premises and limiting the number of customers who are on the premises at one time.
  • Provision of hand sanitisation products or hand washing facilities for use of customers when they enter the premises.
  • Measures to sanitise any baskets, trolleys or similar containers provided for use by customers on the premises.
  • Remind customers to maintain distance of 2m between each other and wear a face covering. This should be done by displaying signs and other visual aids and making announcements on a regular basis.

The full regulations are available here.

The current easements timeframe is as follows;

Monday 15th March - All primary pupils and those in qualifications years will return. Schools will have the flexibility to bring year 10 and 12 learners back and more learners will return to colleges.

Monday 22nd  March - Non-essential retail will start re-opening gradually as the restrictions are lifted on what can be sold in shops which are currently open. Garden centres will also be able to open.

Saturday 27th March – If the Public Health situation continues to improve, the Stay Local guidelines will be lifted. In addition, the tourism sector can begin opening with self-contained accommodation re-opening, organised outdoor activity resuming and libraries re-opening.

Monday 12th April – All students will return back to school and all shops, including all close contact service will reopen.

The First Minister also announced an additional £150 million to support businesses affected by ongoing restrictions. This is a top up to the current non-domestic rates holidays by only for non-essential retail, hospitality and leisure that cannot re-open. Mark Drakeford also noted the extension of the business rates holiday for the whole of the next financial year which applies to all retail, leisure and hospitality.


The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon has updated Scotland on the plans for easing national lockdown.

The current suggested easement dates are;

2nd April – Lift stay at home rule and replace with stay local messaging. People can meet others in public areas and private gardens in groups of 4 people from 2 households.

5th April – Phased re-opening of non-essential retail for click and collect services and garden centers. Colleges and further education will reopen for students undergoing qualifications and campus learning. Close contact services will also reopen.

26th April – All level 4 areas such as mainland Scotland will move to level 3 and island communities will move to level 2. Restrictions on travel within mainland Scotland will be lifted and all remaining non-essential retail will open. Outdoor socialisation will allow up to 6 people from 3 households to meet outdoors and children between 12-17yrs can meet in groups of up to 6 people from 6 households.

Hospitality will begin to open with serving customers outside in groups of 6 from 3 households. Alcohol will be permitted with no requirement of food. Indoor hospitality will be allowed in some circumstances for 4 people from 2 households but with no alcohol.

Shielding of Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people will be lifted meaning persons can return to work. The Chief Medical Officer will be contacting the applicable people with further advice.   

No further changes to be made until 17th May to allow for 3 week lag to analyse Covid-19 data.

17th May – Mainland Scotland will move from level 3 to level 2 and hospitality will resume as normal. Indoor group exercise and entertainment such as cinemas will also resume and outdoor and indoor events will be allowed on a small scale.

Colleges and universities will return to a blended learning approach and outdoor social gathering rules will ease further, allowing people to meet indoors in groups of 4 people from 2 households.

The First Minister confirmed 100% business rates relief for retail, hospitality, leisure and aviation sectors will apply for the next year.

The First Minister concluded by adding that if all data allows and the vaccination programme continues to work to plan, Scotland will move to level 1 in early June and to level 0 by the end of June.

Additional Resources

Government Support for Workers    Government Support for Businesses

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