What do the new Covid tiers mean for small businesses?
How small firms will be impacted by the latest changes
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:
Unless your business is required by law to be closed, like nightclubs, you can operate within the previous standardised rules. That means following the rule of six in terms of customer groups.
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.
Pubs and restaurants can only open if they serve substantial meals, and must shut by 11pm. Shops, gyms and personal care businesses can also operate.
Within this tier the government is also suggesting that everyone reduces the number of journeys they make, especially on public transport.
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.
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. Shops, gyms and personal care businesses can open but pubs and restaurants must close, except for takeaways and deliveries.