Boris Johnson, how to reopen your small business post lockdown concept

Boris Johnson has outlined limited measures for businesses to re-open during lockdown

UPDATED: Boris Johnson has outlined the first tentative steps to reopen small business, including the phased reopening of shops and hospitality.

  • Shops will be able to reopen on June 1
  • Some hospitality services will be allowed to re-open from July 4

The government has published its document fleshing out prime minister Johnson’s nationwide address, which goes deeper into its strategy to help reopen small business.

Shops planning to reopen post June 1 could badge themselves “COVID-19 Secure” by following guidelines shortly to be published by government after consultation with business groups and others.

By July, the government would like to see remaining small businesses that have been forced to close, including hairdressers and beauty salons, pubs and hotels and cinemas also reopen.

But any phased re-opening of small businesses will be reversed if the rate of coronavirus infection creeps back upwards – as is already being seen in Germany and South Korea, which have loosened up their own lockdowns.

Reopen small business

Mr Johnson said: “We must also recognise that this campaign against the virus has come at colossal cost to our way of life. We can see it all around us in the shuttered shops and abandoned businesses and darkened pubs and restaurants.”

From Wednesday, May 13, workers who cannot work from home, such as those in construction or manufacturing, are encouraged to back to work providing they avoid public transport. Sectors specifically mentioned in the government’s 50-page Our Plan to Rebuild document include food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research in laboratories.

And the government will be advising businesses how to prepare for customers with social distancing measures in place. Last month the British Retail Consortium outlined social distancing measures for shops.

Andrew Goodacre, CEO of independent retailers association Bira, said: “We now know when we can expect more of the shops to re-open – June at the earliest.

“Between now and then we need to see the final draft of the government guidance so retailers can prepare to keep their employees and customers safe.”

He added: “We know the social distancing will reduce footfall and sales, and so we must hear that there will be more support to help retailers through a very difficult trading period.”

Jonathan Geldart, director general of the Institute of Directors, said: “Directors know that the battle with this virus is far from over, and they want to play their part in preventing a second spike, which would extend the economic pain.

“As the government begins to ask more people to return to work, it’s vital that the guidance is clear so that companies can plan how to return safely. As people with ultimate legal responsibility, directors need to have confidence that it’s safe, and that if they act responsibly they won’t be at undue risk. Businesses should consult with their people to put in place robust policies, which in many cases might not be an overnight process.”



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