Opening up - advice for businesses

Which businesses can open, when you can open and how to work safely.


Face coverings
Face coverings are now mandatory for customers in all shops and supermarkets.

Shops and supermarkets will be expected to encourage compliance with the law and can refuse entry to customers who refuse to wear a face covering.

Guidance on how to wear a face covering

The government has also issued some guidance on face coverings: when to wear one and how to make your own. For businesses we have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about the use of face coverings and who is responsible for enforcement.


As the government releases us from lockdown we've put together some resources for when businesses which are currently shut can reopen.

When can you open

Business able to open from 4 July

All businesses and venues were able to reopen from 4 July, except for certain businesses, such as nightclubs, bowling alleys and nail bars, which had to remain closed in law.

Business able to open from 25 July

From 25 July the following businesses can reopen:

  • Indoor fitness and dance studios
  • Indoor gyms
  • Indoor sports courts and facilities
  • Indoor swimming pools and indoor water parks

See guidance for providers of sports and gym/leisure facilities.

All recreation and leisure businesses and facilities are also strongly advised to follow guidance on operating within the visitor economy.

Business able to open from 1 August

Following the Prime Minister's announcement on Friday 17 July, further businesses and venues were due to reopen from 1 August (if prevalence remained around or below current levels), accompanied by COVID-19 Secure guidance. However, as announced by the Prime Minister on 31 July, the changes that had been proposed for 1 August will be delayed until at least 15 August due to concerns of rising prevalence in the community within England. The following business and venues will therefore need to remain closed:

  • Bowling alleys
  • Indoor skating rinks
  • Casinos
  • Exhibition halls and conference centres
  • Nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques
  • Sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars
  • Indoor play areas, including soft-play areas

Events and businesses opening from 1 October

From October gatherings at stadiums, conferences and business events will recommence, subject to successful trials taking place.

To help businesses get back to trading the government has set up taskforces to help with the reopening of pubs and restaurants, non-essential retail (including salons) and recreation and leisure businesses.

See the updated guidance on the opening of certain businesses and venues as part of further social distancing measures. The staying alert guidance sets out more detail on other steps that do not directly relate to the reopening of businesses and venues, such as changes to guidance on live performances and piloting of spectators at live sport events.

How to work safely during COVID-19

As businesses begin to reopen and people return to their workplace, the government has provided specific guidelines to working safely during the COVID-19 crisis for different sectors of the economy.

Reopening your business safely

The government has released a new online toolkit to help you to reopen your business safely during coronavirus (COVID‑19).

Reopening guidance for pubs and restaurants

We have put together some of the latest guidance and advice for pubs and restaurants on how to keep your premises, customers and staff safe when you reopen.

Guides for different types of business

The COVID-19 Secure guidelines includes advice and information for businesses on social distancing, carrying out risk assessments in accordance with the Health and Safety Executive, PPE, customer safety, employee safety, and more.

Here are the latest guidelines for safely reopening your business:

Social distancing posters

We've created some posters to help you:

  • Keep your staff and customers safe
  • Let people know what they should be doing to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

You can download them, print them and put them up in your business.

Download posters to: 

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