The UK has now been placed into an initial state of lockdown.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson directly addressed the nation yesterday evening, announcing strict new measures to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and effectively placing the UK into an initial state of lockdown.
The government stated that the public should only go out to buy basic necessities such as food and medicine and do so “as infrequently as possible”, urging people to use delivery services where they could.
The announcement has lead to much confusion as to what establishments are permitted to remain open and what are now required to close. What is considered essential and what isn't?
Here is the rundown as we understand it so far.
These establishments must shut and are considered non-essential.
The exceptions to this include:
- Supermarkets and other food shops, including market stalls selling essential grocery and food.
- Health shops and pharmacies.
- Petrol stations, garages and car rentals.
- Home, hardware stores, launderettes and dry cleaners.
- Pet shops.
- Corner shops, newsagents, post offices and banks.
Restaurants & Cafes
These establishments must shut, with the exception of takeout and delivery service meaning that "people can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers". Also exempt from this includes cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes, schools, prisons, military bases and those services which provide food or drink to the homeless.
According to government guidance: "Planning regulation will be changed to enable restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so".
"People must not consume food or drinks on site at restaurants, cafes or pubs whilst waiting for takeaway food. Those venues offering takeaway or delivery services must not include alcoholic beverages in this list if their license does not already permit".
Including hotels, bed & breakfasts, hostels, campsites and boarding houses for commercial use.
These establishments must shut, with the only exception being if it is a place of living for someone whose primary residence is unavailable at present.
Key workers can also continue to stay in hotels, or similar, where required.
Caravan Parks & Commercial Sites
These premises must shut.
The exceptions to this include premises where people live permanently, or are staying in the interim if their primary residence is not available.
Community & Youth Centres
These establishments, and all similar, must shut with the exception being for essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services.
Speaking on this matter, the government confirmed that: "We will do everything to support vulnerable people who are without a network of friends and families".
Places of Worship
These establishments must shut.
The only exception to this is for funerals, which follow the social distancing guidance. This allows such places of worship to remain open for solitary prayer. Live streaming of a service, but without an audience, is allowed.
Cinemas, Theatres & Concert Venues
These establishments must shut, although many have already previously taken action in doing so following earlier government advice on social distancing.
Live streaming of events is permissible, but social distancing must be strictly adhered to.