Closure clarification and latest COVID-19 – Businesses and Employers Bulletin 24 March 2020

Manufacturing Closure Clarification

Further to the email sent this morning, we can confirm that manufacturing facilities are NOT included in the list of businesses that are required to close. The clarification from Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) states that, "workers for whom working remotely is impossible, including the manufacturing industry, are able to work on site in their manufacturing plants unless otherwise stated by plant owners/ internal directives".

Please see the following daily Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Businesses and Employers Bulletin 24 March 2020.

The Government is supporting businesses and their employees through a package of measures during this period of unprecedented disruption. The Business Support website helps you find the right support, advice and information to help with the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on your business. This website will continue to be updated as information becomes available.

A full range of business support measures have been made available to UK businesses and employees. Find out how to access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply here.


New rules on staying at home and away from others
The single most important action we can all take in fighting the coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. The government has introduced three new measures.

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
  3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Gatherings of more than two people in public are permitted where the gathering is essential for work purposes - but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace. Travelling to and from work is permitted, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home. Every citizen must comply with these new measures. They will initially last for the three weeks from 23 March, at which point the Government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

Further businesses and premises to close
Non-essential businesses and premises must now shut. A full list of the businesses and premises that must remain closed is available. Takeaway and delivery services may remain open and operational. Online retail is still open and encouraged and postal and delivery service will run as normal. Retail and public premises which 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.

The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible. Everyone is instructed to comply with the rules issued by the government in relation to coronavirus, in order to protect both themselves and others.

New Updates and Guidance

Extra protection for businesses with ban on evictions for commercial tenants. 

Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of coronavirus will be protected from eviction. More information is available here.

COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility – Now open for applications

Under the new COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility, the Bank of England will buy short term debt from larger companies. All non-financial companies that meet the criteria set out on the Bank of England’s website are eligible. The scheme is now available for applications. More information is available from the Bank of England.

Business grant funding and business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses

Additional information on business grant funding guidance, and on the expanded retail discount guidance for local authorities is now available. Businesses do not need to take action. Your local authority will write to you if you are eligible for grant funding. Business rate holiday changes will apply to your next council tax bill in April 2020.

Apprenticeship programme response

The Education and Skills Funding Agency is taking steps to ensure that, wherever possible, apprentices can continue and complete their apprenticeship and to support providers during this challenging time. New guidance has been published for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations.

Foreign Secretary advises all British travellers to return to the UK now

All British tourists and short-stay travellers currently abroad should return to the UK where commercial flight options are still available. Further instructions for British travellers to return home can be found on the coronavirus travel advice page

Financial assistance for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments

This page has been updated with information about the financial assistance scheme for employers unable to pay statutory redundancy payments.

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) guidance

The MHRA have produced guidance for industry covering the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Requests for business intelligence and assistance

Help us reach businesses to urgently raise awareness of available support

We need your help to reach businesses across the UK to urgently raise awareness of the new coronavirus government Business Support campaign and the assistance available. A new toolkit includes content and messaging for you to share on your social media, websites, internal channels and newsletters to amplify campaign messages. The toolkit will help ensure all businesses have the best and most up to date information on the support that is available to them in a fast-moving situation.

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy 

Business Intelligence and Readiness Directorate


24 March 2020

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