Do I need to close my business or not?

Do I need to close my business or not?

After a number of phone calls to me, made by different friends, clients and fellow business owners, all asking essentially this same question, I thought I'd investigate the Government web page. It's very explicit in its direction, maybe just a little vague in it's language - but it's about applying common sense.

Are you a non-essential shop or open to the general public?


Closing of non essential shops and public spaces


If you need to stay open to operate, and can apply social distancing, then you can stay open


On 23 March the Government, stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives. All non-essential premises must now close. Takeaway and delivery services may remain open and operational in line with guidance on Friday 20 March. Online retail is still open and encouraged and postal and delivery service will run as normal.

Retail and public premises which we expect to remain open must:
• Ensure a distance of two meters between customers and shop assistants; and
• Let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not crowded.
• Queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that remain open.

Length of closure
We are asking the businesses and premises and other venues outlined above not to open for trade from close of trade 23 March 2020. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.


I think the confusion is in this line: All non-essential premises must now close.


So what is essential?

Is a takeaway an essential business?  Is your Amazon delivery person, supermarket checkout or shelf-stacker an essential worker?

Within the same document it says:

These premises and other venues must close as they involve prolonged close social contact, which increases the chances of infection spreading.


So what you must do is remove the 'prolonged close social contact' from your normal operational activities but unless your business is listed - you can choose to stay open


So what actions must you take to adapt your working practices?

  • Delivery drivers now 'self sign' and leave at the doorstep
  • TV presenters sit two metres apart
  • People video conference and remote work where possible


It's about doing what you need to do to keep things moving - but staying safe

If everyone stayed home, it would cause chaos. Just think about the supply chain to the NHS; the bins that need emptying; the things that need fixing – like a burst water pipe or gas leak? The directive is as a result of people continuing to congregate in social gatherings despite the Governments advice not to do so. They have now removed this as a discretionary option. I am in no doubt that my business will close it's doors at some point soon, so it maybe the best use of the next few days is to prepare for this possibility.


Here's the link to the Government web page

Here's the link to the Government PDF listing who MUST close


Author of this COVID-19 Business Support Hub Article

Stephen Megson Founder of Love Business and Business Owner


Steve Megson

I'm a keen sailor and experienced in encountering the unknown at sea. With my son, Josh, I sailed my boat to Spain from my home port of Poole, my greatest adventure to date (if you read the blog you'll understand why!). Encountering the unknown is about having a clear goal and making sure you keep focused - no matter what happens.

More About Quiet Storm


Stephen Megson

A business owner since I was 21 –I was one of the 'enterprise allowance'  generation and started my business back in 1987. I've ridden the waves of a few recessions and overcome plenty of unknowns. I understand the pressure of employing people and the emotional rollercoaster times like this put you through. I've been very fortunate in my career to work with many brilliant visionaries. I've learnt much from them, but for those who know me well, know my quest for learning is never satisfied.

I now specialise in behaviour and business process optimisation, so look at how businesses interact with their people, customers and other stakeholders. I then work collaboratively with businesses to drive out waste and optimise their processes. This is largely through some form of digitisation, resulting in web applications and operational software to manage their systems, processes and KPI's.

I'm passionate about business and have a strong sense of community, which is why I started Love Business back in 2012, as I saw the innovative business owners start to thrive whilst other remain in a cycle of self-fulfilling doom as a result of the media channels negative news coverage. This is why Love Business only covers good news, focusses on the positive and looks to share all that's helpful.


How to get in touch with Steve Megson


COVID-19 Business Support Hub

These are challenging times for business and although our ethos is to only shout about good news, we've created COVID-19 Business Support Hub on the Love Business the website to support you with expert tips, advice and ideas from your fellow businesses to help you get through this COVID-19 crisis. 

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