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written by
Jack Stratten

What do the new Covid tiers mean for small businesses?

Street closed sign

As you're likely aware, the government recently introduced a new, tier-based national plan to combat the covid-19 outbreak.

There are three tiers - medium (tier one), high (tier two) and very high (tier three). And these tiers/alert levels decide what businesses can and can't do in different areas of the country.

Here's a brief guide to how each tier affects small businesses:

Tier One

Unless your business is required by law to be closed, like nightclubs, you can operate within the previous rules. That means following the rule of six in terms of customer groups.

If you sell food and drink, you must be closed between 10pm and 5am. And if it's possible, your employees should work from home.

Tier Two

The biggest addition to the restrictions at this level is that people aren't allowed to socialise with anyone outside their own support bubble or household indoors.

As a business, this means mixed household groups shouldn't sit together within your premises. However, it remains unclear how this can be enforced. The government suggests that businesses use signage and ask for verbal confirmation from groups.

Within this tier the government is also suggesting that everyone reduces the number of journeys they make, especially on public transport.

Tier Three

Tier three alterations are slightly more flexible and will involve negotiations between central and local government.

But broadly speaking, in tier three locations you can't socialise with anyone outside your household in any indoor setting, or in private gardens. Furthermore, pubs and bars must close unless they serve 'substantial meals'.

It's possible that other types of businesses may close in tier three locations, and travel restrictions may apply that try to prohibit people travelling from or to tier three areas.

Most industries can continue to operate, but it's already clear that the restrictions on the movement of customers in tier three locations will impact all types of businesses.

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