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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 Eleanor O'Connell via eleanor.o'

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


Following an increase in Covid-19 cases, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson announced a third national lockdown from 00.01 on Wednesday 6th January. The lockdown imposes the same restrictions as in March and November lockdowns, with the addition of changes to schools and shielding of the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.

From 00.01 on Wednesday 6th January the following restrictions are in place;

  • People must stay at home unless they leaving for essential purposes, such as essential shopping, exercise and caring responsibilities.
  • Clinically Extremely Vulnerable people are being instructed to shield again and will receive letters in due course (Updated guidance is expected to be published shortly).
  • All hospitality must close.
  • Takeaway services can remain open but must not sell alcohol.
  • All non-essential retail must close.
  • Close contact services such as beauty must close.
  • Education including primary, secondary and colleges will remain closed and online with the exception of vulnerable students and those students of key workers (Education closed from 05.01.20).

The national lockdown guidance is available here. The guidance confirms that all convenience retail including petrol forecourts, off-licences, automatic car washes can remain open.

The Prime Minister reassured the nation that the main difference with this lockdown is that the vaccination programme is underway and current realistic NHS projections suggest by the middle of February everyone in the top 4 priority groups will be vaccinated.

Boris Johnson suggested that schools will hopefully return after February half term and the nation will reach a point where it can return to the regional tier system.


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.

The First Minister stated that Wales is currently at level 3 but gave strong indications of a move to level 4 if infection rates do not fall. The full written statement on the updated Covid control plan for Wales is available here.

In event of moving to level 4, the same Firebreak restrictions will apply as last time, meaning that essential retailers must not sell non-essential items where they have separate designated locations in store concessions. The guidance documents on business closures and sale of non-essential products from the previous firebreaks is available here. ACS will be monitoring this closely and will communicate updated guidance when it is available.

The First Minister also confirmed that despite widespread speculation, there will NOT be any night time curfew’s or ban on all alcohol sales. He stressed that all authoritative news comes from the Government.

The Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford has announced on 16th December that Wales will move to level four of the new traffic-light Coronavirus Control Plan as a result of rising cases. The alert level four restrictions for household mixing, staying-at-home, holiday accommodation and travel will come into force after the five-day Christmas period on December 28.

The new restrictions that will apply to the entirety of Wales are;

  • All non-essential retail, including close contact services and all leisure and fitness centres will close at the end of trading on Christmas Eve.
  • All hospitality premises will close from 6pm on Christmas Day.
  • Tighter restrictions on household mixing, staying-at-home, holiday accommodation and travel will apply from December 28, after the five-day Christmas period.

The Welsh Government press release on today’s announcement is available here.

The Welsh Government Covid Control Plan is available here.


The Scottish Government has set this out in their Strategic Framework, with details on each level and types of restrictions/impacts here. You can use the postcode checker tool to find out information about the restrictions in your area.

From Tuesday 5 January, mainland Scotland will move from Level 4 to a temporary Lockdown, with new guidance to stay at home except for essential purposes. Some islands will remain at Level 3. The restrictions will mean people in Scotland will only be allowed to leave home for essential purposes, such as essential shopping, exercise and caring responsibilities.

From 00.01 on 05.01.20:

  • New laws will be implemented to require people to stay at home.
  • Work from home encouraged where possible.
  • People in the "shielding" category will be advised not to go in to work at all.
  • Outdoor socialising will be with one person from one other household (Children aged 11 and under will not be included)
  • No limit will be placed on how many times people can go outside.
  • Non-essential travel into and out of Scotland will not be allowed.

From 08.01.12:

  • Places of worship are to be closed, group exercise banned, and schools will largely operate via online and remote learning until at least February

Schools closures have been extended for the majority of students until 1st February for nursery schools as well as primary and secondary. However. Children of key workers and vulnerable children can continue to go to school as normal.

The First Ministers full statement is available here.

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