Covid-240320

WATCH THE PM ADDRESS THE NATION (23/03/20) HERE:

The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government is now (23 March 2020) introducing three new measures.

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
  3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Every citizen must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

1. Staying at home

You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.
  • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

These measures must be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.

If you work in a critical sector outlined in this guidance, or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school. Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes

2. Closing non-essential shops and public spaces

Last week, the Government ordered certain businesses - including pubs, cinemas and theatres - to close. The Government is now extending this requirement to a further set of businesses and other venues, including:

  • all non-essential retail stores - this will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets.
  • libraries, community centres, and youth centres.
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities.
  • communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.
  • places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families.
  • hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers).

More detailed information can be found here, including a full list of those businesses and other venues that must close. Businesses and other venues not on this list may remain open.

3. Stopping public gatherings

To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the Government is also stopping all public gatherings of more than two people.

There are only two exceptions to this rule:

  • where the gathering is of a group of people who live together - this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home.
  • where the gathering is essential for work purposes - but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

In addition, the Government is stopping social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies. This will exclude funerals, which can be attended by immediate family.

4. Delivering these new measures

These measures will reduce our day to day contact with other people. They are a vital part of our efforts to reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus.

Every citizen is instructed to comply with these new measures.

The Government will therefore be ensuring the police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings where people do not comply.

They will initially last for the three weeks from 23 March, at which point the Government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

GOV.UK GUIDANCE  

FURTHER BUSINESSES AND PREMISES TO CLOSE

As a country, we all need to do what we can to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

That is why the government has given clear guidance on self-isolation, staying at home and away from others, and asked that schools only remain open for those children who absolutely need to attend.

On 23 March the Government, stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives. All non-essential premises must now close. Takeaway and delivery services may remain open and operational in line with guidance on Friday 20 March. Online retail is still open and encouraged and postal and delivery service will run as normal.

Retail and public premises which we expect to remain open must:

  • Ensure a distance of two meters between customers and shop assistants; and
  • Let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not crowded.
  • Queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that remain open.

Parks will remain open but only for individuals and households to exercise once a day.

Communal spaces within parks such as playgrounds and football pitches will be closed.  

Non-essential businesses and premises must now shut

The following businesses and premises must remain closed:

Business, premises or place

Exceptions 

Food and drink 

Restaurants

Food delivery and takeaway can remain operational.

Cafes, including workplace canteens

Food delivery and takeaway can remain operational.

Cafés or canteens at hospitals, care homes or schools; prison and military canteens; services providing food or drink to the homeless.

Public houses

 

Bars and nightclubs, including bars in hotels or members’ clubs 

 

Retail 

Hair, beauty and nail salons, including piercing and tattoo parlours 

 

Massage parlours 

 

All retail with notable exceptions

Supermarkets and other food shops, health shops, pharmacies including nondispensing pharmacies, petrol stations, bicycle shops, home and hardware shops, laundrettes and dry cleaners, bicycle shops, garages, car rentals, pet shops, corner shops, newsagents, post offices, and banks.

Outdoor and indoor markets

Market stalls which offer essential retail, such as grocery and food.

Auction houses

 

Car showrooms

 

Hotels 

 

Hotels, hostels, BnBs, campsites and boarding houses for commercial use

Where people live in these as interim abodes whilst their primary residence is unavailable they may continue to do so.

Key workers can continue to stay in hotels or similar where required.

 

Caravan parks/sites for commercial uses 

Where people live permanently in caravan parks or are staying in caravan parks as interim abodes where their primary residence is not available, they may continue to do so.  

Non-residential institutions 

 

Libraries

 

Community centres, youth centres and similar 

Facilities may remain open for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services. 

 

We will do everything to support vulnerable people who are without a network of friends and families.

Places of worship for services 

Funerals following the social distancing guidance; places of worship should remain open for solitary prayer. 

 

Live streaming of a service without audience would be permissible. 

Cinemas, theatres and concert halls

Live streaming of a performance by a small group could be permissible with social distancing observed. 

Assembly and leisure 

 

Museums and galleries 

 

Bingo halls, casinos and betting shops 

 

Spas

 

Skating rinks

 

Fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres 

 

Arcades, bowling alleys, soft play centres and similar 

 

Outdoor recreation 

 

Enclosed spaces in parks, including playgrounds, sports courts and pitches, and outdoor gyms or similar 

 

 

These premises and other venues must close as they involve prolonged close social contact, which increases the chances of infection spreading. 

Takeaway and delivery facilities should remain open and operational.  

This means people can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers. Planning regulation will be changed to enable restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so. This will be clearly communicated by the government when in effect. People must not consumer food or drinks on site at restaurants, cafes or pubs whilst waiting for takeaway food,  

Those venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages in this list if their license does not already permit. 

Length of closure  

We are asking the businesses and premises and other venues outlined above not to open for trade from close of trade 23 March 2020.     

The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.  

Compliance   

Everyone is instructed to comply with the rules issued by the government in relation to coronavirus, in order to protect both themselves and others.

As of 2pm on 21 March 2020, closures on the original list from 20th March are now enforceable by law in England and Wales due to the threat to public health. The government will extend the law and enforcement powers to include the new list of premises for closure. Further measures on enforcement could be taken following the passage of the Coronavirus Bill through parliament. 

A business operating in contravention of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closures) Regulations 2020 will be committing an offence. As agreed with the devolved administrations, these measures will be extended to Scotland and Northern Ireland by Ministerial Direction once the Coronavirus Bill is in force.

Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will monitor compliance with these regulations, with police support provided if appropriate. Businesses and premises that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices, and potentially unlimited fines. 

Financial Support

Her Majesty’s Treasury also announced on 20 March 2020 a comprehensive series of measures supporting wages, cash-flow for businesses, and the welfare system.  

Business support  

In England, under the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant (RHLG) announced on Monday March 16, businesses and premises in England in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will be eligible for cash grants of up to £25,000 per property. 

Eligible businesses in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of up to £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Eligible businesses and premises in these sectors with a property that has a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000. Businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000 are not included in this scheme. For more information please visit gov.uk.

Business rates  

In England, as announced on Monday 16 March, the government will provide a business rates holiday for businesses and premises in the retail, hospitality and/or leisure sector. This includes the businesses and premises in scope for closure listed above. This will apply automatically to your next business rates bill in April 2020. For more information please visit gov.uk.  

Further information  

This guidance will be updated regularly as the situation develops. For information about support for business, please go to the Government’s Business Support webpage or visit gov.uk.

Devolved Administrations may issue further guidance on these matters within their nations.