Happy New Year and, as expected, we are kicking it off with a national lockdown.

Yesterday the Scottish and English governments announced national lockdowns with schools being closed. The net result being all of England and Scotland must stay at home except for a handful of permitted reasons. Wales has already been on a lockdown since mid December.

If you had been looking at the daily cases of COVID-19 it was becoming increasingly obvious that the current restrictions were just not working. This email sets out what you need to know from yesterday’s announcements. To read the English government announcement click here.

The Stay At Home Order
People cannot leave their homes apart from for essential medical needs, food shopping, exercise and work for those who cannot do so from home. If you do leave your home for a permitted reason, you should stay local. They are saying that exercise should only be once per day. Unlike March’s Stay At Home order this seems a little less restrictive as children’s parks can still remain open.

Help for Businesses
No extra help, beyond what was announced before Christmas, has been announced for businesses who either cannot trade or have their trade severely disrupted. But this still means there are grants available from your local authority if you have been forced to close. And the furlough and self-employed grant schemes are still running across Jan to April 2021.

What has to remain closed until February

  • All schools, colleges and university. Learning will move online. But schools will remain open for key workers and vulnerable children.
  • Outdoor sports venues such as tennis, golf and outdoor gyms
  • Non-essential retail – but can still operate a ‘click and collect’ service.
  • Amateur Team Sports
  • Entertainment venues
  • Restaurants, pubs and hotels – but can offer a takeaway service
  • Beauty and hair salons

What about nurseries?

  • In England these can stay open, but in Scotland and Skye they will close.

What is defined as essential retail?
Here are a few of the main categories, but the full list can be found here

  • Food shops, supermarkets
  • Banks, building societies, post offices
  • Medical, dental and veterinary services
  • Agricultural supplies
  • Repair services
  • Fuel stations

Any other key changes?

  • Restaurants and pubs can still offer takeaway food but can no longer offer takeaway alcohol.

The government is pinning all its hopes on getting the first dose of the vaccine out to the top 4 priority categories by mid-February. With a view that when this has happened restrictions can be slowly lifted as the most vulnerable in our society will be protected.

What does this mean for you and your business?

  1. Find out whether these lockdown announcements mean you can trade for the next 6-7 weeks
  2. Review your resourcing requirements but also how many of your staff will now have childcare duties
  3. Rethink your business plan, cash flow plan and also revisit your contingency plans

If you need help with any of these, please give us a call.