Non-esessential businesses are forced to close

25 March 2020

As coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread, the Prime Minister announced on 23rd March 2020 that the UK was to go into ‘lockdown’ for at least the next three weeks, effective immediately.

The lockdown features a variety of measures intended to keep UK citizens indoors as much as possible, reduce person-to-person contact and help slow the spread of COVID-19. Review the following guidance for an outline of the reasoning behind the lockdown and lockdown standards.

 The lockdown will last for at least three weeks. After this time, the government will reassess the lockdown standards based on COVID-19 case data.

Why Lockdown and why now?

By 23 March, the UK had over 6,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with the disease contributing to over 300 deaths.  These numbers—which represent an exponential growth in total cases over the past few weeks—have given health professionals reason to believe that government action is necessary to slow the spread of this disease.

By issuing a lockdown, the government is aiming to severely limit physical interaction between UK citizens, thus containing the number of COVID-19 cases and keeping the NHS from becoming overwhelmed by the pandemic.  This initiative is known as ‘flattening the curve,’ and is being implemented in countries across the globe.

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What’s are the rules?

Since 23 March, the government has been enforcing the following lockdown standards:

Staying at home

We’re only permitted to leave our homes for basic necessities (eg food and medicine), one form of exercise a day (eg running, walking or cycling), medical reasons (eg to provide care) or travelling to and from work—but only if the work cannot be completed from home.  When completing these activities, web should still be keeping at least 2 metres from anyone outside of our own household.

Stopping public gatherings

Public gatherings of more than two people are prohibited.  The only exceptions to this rule are when a gathering consists of people who live together or when the gathering is essential for work purposes.  All social events, such as weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies are not permitted during this time—the only exception being for funeral services.

The government confirmed that police and other authorities will have the power to disperse gatherings and issue fines to any citizens that don’t comply with these lockdown standards.

Closing all non-essential shops and public spaces

This includes pubs, cinemas, theatres, non-essential retail stores, libraries, community centres, indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, communal areas within parks, places of worship, hostels, hotels, bed and breakfasts, caravan parks and boarding houses.  The Government has issued guidance on Further businesses and premises to close



Am I covered if have to close my place of business?

Recent coverage in the media has suggested that insurance policies will kick in should the Government force closure of the premises.  Unfortunately, this is not the case for most businesses.

Irrespective of whether or not the Government orders closure of a business, the vast majority of firms won’t have purchased cover that will enable them to claim on their insurance to compensate for their businesses being closed by the COVID-19 outbreak.  Standard business interruption cover – the type that the majority of businesses purchase – does not include forced closure by authorities as it is intended to respond to physical damage at the property which results in the business being unable to continue to trade.

The wordings and conditions on policies do vary.  Ask your broker to go through the policy with you if you’re not sure.

What help is available?

Take a look  our overview or visit at the Government’s new Business Support website.

You can call a dedicated hotline to negotiate an agreement based on your individual circumstances.

Dedicated hotline: 0800 015 9559