Coronavirus - Advice for businesses

COVID-19 updates

A roadmap out of lockdown from March to June 2021 has recently been announced by government. They plan to do this in 4 steps and with each step you will be able to do more things and meet more people. However we will only move from one step to the next if fewer people are catching COVID-19 - find out more about the roadmap out of lockdown (external link).

Until further government announcements are made and new legislation issued, no further information is available at this time about what this might mean for your business. Please keep checking this page for further updates as well as GOV.UK (external link).

We’re working hard to support our businesses during these difficult times by making sure you have access to the latest information and guidance. Keep checking this page for further updates.

Roadmap out of lockdown

The proposed roadmap is in 4 steps:

Step 1

  • Step 1 will start on 8th March and 29 March 2021 and is as follows:

8th March

  • Schools and colleges are open for all students. Practical Higher Education Courses
  • Recreation or exercise outdoors with household or one other person. No household mixing indoors
  • Wraparound childcare
  • Stay at home
  • Funerals (30), wakes and weddings (6).

29th March

  • Rule of 6 or two households outdoors. No household mixing indoors.
  • Outdoor sport and leisure facilities
  • Organised outdoor sport allowed (children and adults)
  • Minimise travel. No holidays
  • Outdoor parent and child groups (up to 15 parents).

Step 2, 3 and 4

If things go well:

  • Step 2 will start on Monday, 12th April - more information to follow
  • Step 3 will start on Monday, 17th May - more information to follow
  • Step 4 will start on Monday, 21st June and the government hope to remove all the remaining rules that are stopping people from getting together - more information to follow

Until each of the above steps are confirmed the information below remains correct, and lists the businesses which must remain closed by law.

National lockdown: Stay at home

Greater Manchester Police and other authorities, including the Council, will have powers to take action for non-compliance, including the issuing of directions to close and fixed penalty notices.

All businesses should ensure they comply with the new restrictions and follow COVID-19 secure guidelines (external link) to protect customers, visitors and workers at all times.

Businesses and venues which can remain open

The following can remain open and must follow COVID-19 secure guidelines (external link):

  • Essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • Market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
  • Businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
  • Petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • Banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • Funeral directors
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • Medical and dental services
  • Vets and pet shops
  • Animal rescue centres, boarding facilities, and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
  • Agricultural supplies shops
  • Mobility and disability support shops
  • Storage and distribution facilities
  • Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • Outdoor playgrounds
  • Outdoor gym, pools, sports courts and facilities
  • Golf courses
  • Archery/driving/shooting ranges (outdoors)
  • Outdoor riding centres
  • Places of worship
  • Crematoriums and burial grounds.

Businesses and venues which must close

To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The businesses required to close include:

  • Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods - these venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services
  • Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs - with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery
  • Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and indoor gyms, indoor swimming pools, indoor sports courts, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor riding centres, and indoor climbing walls
  • Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks and theme parks
  • Indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open
  • Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, and body and skin piercing services. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes
  • Community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services - for example for people who do not have it at home and for click-and-collect services.

Exemptions for permitted activities

Some of the above businesses and places have permission to open for a small number of exempt activities, including:

  • Education and training - for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
  • Childcare purposes and supervised activities for children
  • Hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
  • To provide medical treatment
  • For elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
  • For training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
  • For the purposes of film and TV filming.

How to make sure your business is safe to open

All businesses have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site at their premises (when permitted to open). All businesses must:

We would advise businesses to regularly review the measures they have in place to ensure they can continue to operate safely and in line with government guidance.

Take a look at the following guidance from government, covering a range of different types of work and the steps necessary to keep people safe:

Social distancing

The government advises businesses to maintain a 2 metre distance between people, where possible, to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. However, people are now allowed to distance from 1 metre plus, as long as you do everything practical to manage the transmission risk, which includes wearing a face covering.

If employers do not introduce social distancing or allow vulnerable workers (external link) to self-isolate for the period specified, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) may take a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks.

Face coverings

Face coverings are mandatory in many different types of business and enclosed public spaces. The legal requirements include:

  • Customers without a valid exemption must wear a face covering when entering premises including shops, cafes, restaurants and public houses
  • Staff in retail settings without an exemption must wear a face covering when in areas that are open to the public and where they are likely to come within close contact of a member of the public, unless they are behind an adequate physical barrier or screen
  • Staff in close contact services e.g. hair salons, barbers, nail bars must wear a visor/goggles and a type II face mask when providing a service
  • Businesses must display a notice informing customers that they must wear a face covering on entry or advise customers when entering.

Posters are currently being distributed across Wigan borough to help businesses comply with this legal obligation - download a face cover poster to display in your premises.

What if someone refuses to wear a face covering?

Customers may have a valid exemption, and we advise businesses to use their own discretion with anyone who has such an exemption. Businesses have a right to protect themselves by not allowing entry to persons who they do not feel are complying with the requirements.

The police have formal enforcement powers and can issue a fine to an individual without an exemption, who is refusing to wear a face covering.

How to comply with NHS Test and Trace

Businesses will be expected to collect contact information from customers to support the NHS test and trace service.

Collecting contact details and maintaining records for NHS Test and Trace is a legal requirement and failure to comply is punishable by a fine. Designated venues must display an official NHS QR code poster at their entrance, or at the point of service.

NHS QR code / posters

The QR code poster enables customers and visitors to scan the NHS QR code when they arrive by using the NHS COVID-19 app.

Businesses must have a system for individuals who do not have a smartphone or the NHS COVID-19 app to provide their contact details. If an app user chooses to use the QR code check-in feature, businesses should not ask for their contact details.

Which business sectors are affected?

There is a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19 in premises where customers and visitors spend a longer time in one place and potentially come into close contact with other people outside of their household.

To manage this risk, establishments in the following sectors, whether indoor or outdoor venues or mobile settings, must request contact details from staff, customers and visitors, and display the official NHS QR code poster:

  • Hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
  • Tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas and amusement arcades
  • Close contact services, including hairdressers, barbers and tailors
  • Community centres, libraries and village halls.

A full list of businesses within affected can be found on GOV.UK (external link).

Customer logging toolkit and assets

Public Health England have created a customer logging toolkit (external link) to help businesses to communicate Test and Trace to their customers and visitors.

This toolkit provides businesses with useful messaging suggestions for a range of scenarios as well as other marketing materials such as posters and social media assets.

How will compliance be monitored?

The government have now introduced a number of sanctions for non-compliance or in response to a serious or imminent threat to public health, and this includes directions to close premises.

Officers from regulatory services will monitor compliance with these regulations, and police support will be provided if appropriate.

We recognise the financial impact this is having on our businesses, however, we would urge businesses to comply with government measures to help keep our residents safe and avoid facing legal action.

Businesses that charge unfair prices

Shops that charge excessive prices to exploit the current situation should be warned they risk being investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority for breaching competition law.

All prices must be clear and not misleading. We understand that some prices may have increased slightly due to difficulties in the supply chain because of recent events. We urge our retailers to behave responsibly throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

Further guidance


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