UK government announces further measures to tackle Coronavirus (COVID-19)

James Walton
Chief Economist

Date : 24 March 2020

On 23rd March 2020, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced further measures to contain Coronavirus through “social distancing” LINK.

Most commercial, cultural and social premises have now been closed for a period of at least 3 weeks, after which the measures will be re-assessed.

These measures are enforceable by law under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closures) Regulations 2020 LINK. Separate, but similar, regulations apply in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

An abbreviated list of the premises affected and those exempt is given below. Foodservice and hospitality are mostly closed.

Stores selling food, drink and other necessities remain open, in all formats. However, the Prime Minister emphasised that shopping trips – and any other excursions – should be minimised LINK.

Some businesses have also acted beyond the scope of the new regulations: foodservice operators such as Costa LINK, McDonalds LINK and Pret LINK have closed their outlets completely.

Government is working closely with businesses and organisations to ensure that the system operates effectively, despite unprecedented pressures and to ensure that new regulations are fit-for-purpose.

IGD is working closely with other stakeholders as part of this process. One area currently under discussion is closure of workplace canteens – this may cause hardship to factory workers, visiting HGV drivers and so on.






Bike shops

Cafes (some exceptions)

Car rental offices

Canteens (some exceptions)

Charity food provision

Restaurants (some exceptions)

Food delivery, takeaway

Hotels (some exceptions)

Food retail stores (all formats)


Home, hardware stores


Online retail


Petrol stations




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