This has been confusing for many of our clients, who are struggling to work out whether or not they provide “essential services”. In fact, the question is whether or not your business is non-essential, as defined by the government – if it is, you must close. Otherwise, carry on, but comply with the guidelines.

The list of businesses and premises that must close – which are referred to as non-essential shops and public spaces – can be found here.

Except for these non-essential shops and public spaces, the Government has not required any other businesses to close, and confirm that it is important for business to carry on.

For businesses that are not required to close:

  • Staff are permitted to travel to and from work, but only where the work they do cannot be done from home.
  • Employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home.
  • Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others, and sticking to the hygiene rules – washing hands etc.

The full guidance can be found here.

If we can assist with any questions you may have in relation to your business, including the impact of COVID-19, please contact Corporate and Commercial Solicitor Mary Anne Fedyko by telephone on 01206 217049 or by email at

Article correct as at 14.30 26 March 2020