Opening up - advice for businesses

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


- Businesses that can open from 19 July

- How to work safely during COVID-19

- Venues using the NHS COVID Pass or QR code

- Stay up to date


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

Businesses that can open from 19 July

Further lifting of the COVID-19 restrictions came into effect on Monday 19 July, including the reopening of indoor areas of hospitality venues.

Business now able to open

All remaining closed businesses and venues such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues can now reopen.

All capacity limits at sporting, entertainment, or business events have been lifted.

Hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and bars are no longer be required to provide table service or follow other social distancing rules.

There will no longer be limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations). There will be no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing. You should follow guidance for weddings and funerals to reduce risk and protect yourself and others.

There will no longer be restrictions on group sizes for attending communal worship.

Working safely

All businesses should follow the principles set out in the working safely guidance. Whilst the Government is no longer instructing people to work from home if they can, the Government would expect and recommend a gradual return over the summer.

Employers will still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify. Working Safely guidance sets out a range of mitigations employers should consider including:

  • cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly
  • identifying poorly-ventilated areas in the venue and taking steps to improve air flow
  • ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue
  • communicating to staff and customers the measures you have put in place

There is further guidance on reopening businesses and venues which explains which business have been permitted to open at each step of the roadmap.

General guidance

Social distancing is still very important. You should stay 2 metres apart from anyone who is not in your household or support bubble where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings) if you cannot stay 2 metres apart.

The government have issued some general guidance on keeping yourself and others safe.

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.

Face coverings

The requirement to wear face coverings in law has been be lifted from 19 July. However, the government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as when travelling on public transport.

Reopening your business safely

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

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. Download posters to: 

Venues using the NHS COVID Pass or QR code

We encourage organisations in higher risk settings to use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry, in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19. This will especially be the case in large crowded settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household. The Government reserves the right to mandate certification in certain venues at a later date if necessary.

To support organisations and individuals in these settings, the NHS COVID Pass is available through the NHS App, NHS.UK, or as a letter that can be requested by ringing NHS 119. Visitors will also be able to show text or email confirmation of test results. Organisations should ensure they are in compliance with all legal obligations, including on equalities.

There are some settings where the NHS COVID Pass should not be used as a condition of entry, in order to ensure access for all. This includes essential services and essential retailers which have been able to stay open throughout the pandemic.

Businesses are also encouraged to continue displaying QR codes for customers wishing to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, or to continue collecting customer contact details to support NHS Test and Trace, however this will no longer be a legal requirement.


The government has produced some guidance on maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace. There are also some posters and charts for you to use.

Why should I check into a venue poster (PDF) [1MB]

Hospitality fact sheet venue check in regulations (PDF) [1MB]

New venue alerts process: A guide for businesses (PDF) [104KB]

Guidance for customers visiting businesses (PDF) [109KB]

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