‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Scheme

Find out how to claim reimbursement for discounts given to diners with the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Scheme. The claims service will be available from 7 August to 30 September. 

Pausing of lockdown easements; businesses to remain closed in Luton and Blackburn with Darwen 

Certain businesses in Luton and Blackburn with Darwen must remain closed from 25 July, in line with the pausing of lockdown easements due to increased numbers of COVID-19 infections. This impacts indoor activity venues, including gyms, fitness studios, and swimming pools. Businesses that had been scheduled to reopen from 1 August, including casinos, bowling alleys, and skating rinks, are also expected to remain closed until further notice.

Businesses that were permitted to reopen prior to 25 July may remain open. Restrictions will be reviewed again on 8 August, and every two weeks after that.

Face coverings in shops

The Government has announced that face coverings will be mandatory from 24 July when shopping, to protect those who work in shops and to give people more confidence to shop safely. Those who do not wear a face covering in shops will face a fine of up to £100. Shops can refuse entry to someone not wearing a face covering and can call the police if someone fails to comply. We will share further guidance for businesses when it becomes available.

Face coverings at work

Guidance on face coverings, their role in reducing the transmission of coronavirus, the settings in which they are recommended, and how they should be safely used and stored is available here. There is no universal face coverings guidance for workplaces because of the variety of work environments in different industries. Employers should continue to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines to reduce the proximity and duration of contact between employees.

Business events

Guidance on working safely in the visitor economy has been updated to include business events and consumer shows.

Further to the Prime Minister’s update on 17 July, meetings of up to 30 people indoors are now allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate that it has followed the COVID-19 guidance.

From 1 August, if prevalence remains around or below current levels, the Government will take the following steps: 

  • Enable the restart of indoor performances to a live audience, in line with COVID-19 secure guidelines, subject to the success of pilots that are taking place as soon as possible.
  • Carry out pilots in venues with a range of sizes of crowds, particularly where congregating from different places, including business events. The pilots (some of which will begin late July) will be carefully monitored and evaluated to inform future decisions on any further relaxation of the rules.
  • Enable wedding receptions (sit-down meals for no more than 30 people), subject to COVID-19 secure guidance.
  • Exhibition and conference centres are allowed to show small groups (of up to 30 people with social distancing requirements) around, to view the facilities and plan future events, and to enable Government-backed pilots to take place. They should not be open fully to host events more widely.

From 1 October, it is expected that events of all types, including sporting events and business events, will be permitted to resume from 1 October, provided rates of infection remain at current levels. The Government will hold a number of pilots at event venues around the country to plan for the return of large-scale events and to test how to implement social distancing practices. Details of these pilots will be finalised in the coming weeks.

Key links

See our Business Advice Hub for tips and advice on reopening and more. 

See all COVID-19 Government updates for businesses.

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