Simply Business homepage
  • Business insurance

    Business insurance covers

  • Support
  • Claims
  • Sign In
Call Us0333 0146 683
Our opening hours
Knowledge centre

What the lifting of Plan B restrictions means for small businesses

3-minute read

Catriona Smith

20 January 2022

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

The government has confirmed that all Plan B coronavirus restrictions will be lifted in England.

This includes the end of working from home guidance from 20 January, and the end to compulsory mask wearing and vaccine passports from 27 January.

Read on for an overview of what’s changed and what this means for small businesses.

Plan B was introduced in December to minimise the spread of the new Omicron variant across England. It’s now been confirmed that these restrictions will not be renewed on 26 January.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • workers are no longer asked to work from home if they can
  • from 27 January, there’s no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering
  • from 27 January, venues and events are no longer required by law to check visitors’ NHS COVID Pass

But what does this mean for businesses?

Rise in workers returning to city centres

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that working from home guidance is no longer in place.

This will be welcome news for many businesses that have missed out on trade from office workers, particularly in the retail and hospitality sectors. If your business is in a city centre then you may well start to see footfall increase as people begin to return to the workplace.

Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, said: “Lifting the work from home guidance will undoubtedly benefit independent traders in city and town centres – particularly those in the hospitality industry, who experienced mass cancellations as Omicron spread, and have suffered disproportionately in recent times.”

If you employ staff, make sure you continue to follow official safety guidance and carry out coronavirus risk assessments for staff coming back to work.

'A much needed confidence boost'

Following the government’s announcement, Alan Thomas, UK CEO at Simply Business, said: "Many small business owners across the UK will be breathing a sigh of relief following the announcement that Plan B restrictions will lapse next week.

"Of course, public health is paramount. But it can’t be overstated how important it is for all of us that small businesses bounce back. Making up 99% of all UK businesses and contributing trillions of pounds a year in turnover, they’re the lifeblood of our economy and communities.

"Small businesses are still in recovery mode, and almost half are still suffering financially from the worst of the pandemic, which cost owners a staggering £126.6bn in total. With many still living in fear of future lockdowns and the impact of further restrictions on trade, today’s news will be a much-needed confidence boost as the country’s self-employed look to get business back on track."

Report into the impact of Covid-19 on small businesses

Download our report to find out the full impact of Covid-19 on the UK’s small businesses:

Report on the impact of coronavirus for small businesses

Download your free in-depth report. Find out more about the cost of coronavirus and overall business confidence.

Your email address will be used by Simply Business to keep you posted with the latest news, offers and tips. You can unsubscribe from these emails at any time. Simply Business Privacy policy.

Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UKHospitality, commented on the lifting of restrictions: "This is fantastic news for the hospitality sector, after the critical Christmas trade was laid to waste for the second year running."

Following safer behaviours is still encouraged

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

Masks will no longer be required from next week, but the government is encouraging people to consider wearing masks in indoor public spaces and on public transport to remain safe.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “In the country at large we will continue to suggest the use of face coverings in enclosed or crowded spaces, particularly when you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet, but we will trust the judgment of the British people and no longer criminalise anyone who chooses not to wear one.”

From 27 January, you won’t be able to enforce mask-wearing for customers and staff in your business and must be aware of your responsibilities under the Equality Act.

What financial support is available?

We’ve seen a range of new financial support packages for businesses struggling with the pandemic and impact of the Omicron variant, including:

For the self-employed completing their Self Assessment this month, make sure you declare any Covid-19 grants on your tax return.

While this latest announcement will be welcome news for many businesses, staff shortages and absences continue to impact sectors across the economy.

That said, Thomas adds that this move is 'hopefully another positive step for small businesses in the road to recovery'.

Always check the latest coronavirus information on the UK government website.

How do you feel about the lifting of restrictions? Let us know in the comments below.

Photograph 1: Maridav/stock.adobe.com

Ready to set up your cover?

As one of the UK's biggest business insurance providers, we specialise in public liability insurance and protect more trades than anybody else. Why not take a look now and build a quick, tailored quote?

Start your quote

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

Find this article useful? Spread the word.

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

People also liked

19 November 20202-minute read

Landlords could be targeted in new capital gains tax raid

Landlords could be hit by another massive tax raid, as the Office of Tax Simplification outlines its recommendations for an overhaul of…

Read more

Keep up to date with Simply Business. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and follow us on social media.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Categories

Popular articlesBusiness resources from FarillioGeneral businessGuestInsuranceLandlordLandlord resources from FarillioLegal and financeMarketingNewsOpinionProperty maintenanceTradesmanCovid-19 business support hub

Address

6th Floor99 Gresham StreetLondonEC2V 7NG

Sol House29 St Katherine's StreetNorthamptonNN1 2QZ

© Copyright 2022 Simply Business. All Rights Reserved. Simply Business is a trading name of Xbridge Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Registration No: 313348). Xbridge Limited (No: 3967717) has its registered office at 6th Floor, 99 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NG.