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What does the lifting of Covid restrictions mean for businesses?

2-minute read

Catriona Smith

7 July 2021

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The government has announced that it will go ahead with easing restrictions in England on 19 July, but what does this mean for small businesses?

What’s changing on 19 July?

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that the government plans to press ahead with Stage 4 of the roadmap.

This means that from 19 July, almost all Covid lockdown restrictions will be lifted in England.

Here’s an overview of what’s changing:

  • social distancing rules will end (currently six people or two households indoors, or 30 people outdoors)
  • wearing masks will no longer be a legal requirement
  • pubs will no longer be limited to table service
  • nightclubs will be allowed to open
  • restrictions will be lifted on large events and performances, so venues can operate at full capacity
  • limits will be removed on life events like weddings and funerals
  • work from home guidance will be scrapped

The final decision to lift the remaining restrictions will be made on 12 July, with changes expected to come into force on 19 July.

The government expects businesses to make informed decisions

After restrictions ease, responsibility will shift from the government to employers and individuals when it comes to Covid-19 safety measures.

And the prime minister has said people should “exercise judgement” when it comes to face coverings.

Ultimately this means businesses can set their own rules on everything from desk space and one way systems to mask wearing and working from home policies.

That said, the government has published guidance on how people can manage the risks to themselves and others in a Covid-19 Response: Summer 2021 paper.

Guidance includes:

  • meeting in well-ventilated areas where possible
  • wearing a face covering when you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet in enclosed or crowded spaces
  • washing hands regularly and using hand sanitiser
  • covering your nose and mouth when you cough and sneeze
  • staying at home if you’re unwell
  • considering individual risks, such as clinical vulnerabilities and vaccination status

Continue to prioritise safety for your staff and customers

Understandably, customers may still be anxious about returning to restaurants, pubs, and venues without restrictions.

According to the UK Eating Out Market Report 2021 from Lumina Intelligence, 33 per cent of consumers plan to eat out less frequently than they did before the pandemic.

With that in mind, it’s important to reassure customers that your premises is safe as part of providing good customer service.

For example, you might choose to keep some of the measures in place while people get used to the changes. Whether that’s keeping table service and sanitising stations or continuing to encourage the use of masks, it’ll be up to you and what’s right for your business.

Change can be stressful, so make sure you’re supporting the mental health and wellbeing of your staff too.

Whatever you do, make sure it’s clear on your website and social media so customers know what to expect.

The government has published advice on how to keep your workplace safe as restrictions are eased – it says this information will be updated again on 19 July.

How do you feel about the restrictions being lifted? Let us know in the comments.

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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