With some form of Covid-19 restrictions since March 2020, it’s been a tough time for small businesses which have been forced to close their doors. But, certain small businesses providing a range of essential services have been able to trade ever since the first lockdown was imposed.
Unless restrictions become even harsher, those open under the current restrictions are fairly safe to operate under any future restrictions. Well, that’s assuming you’re following Covid-19 safety guidelines.
Below, we’ll go through some of the types of small businesses that can operate through the current restrictions in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. We’ll update it as changes are made.
Lockdown restrictions in England are expected to last until at least March. Small businesses which can stay open in England during lockdown include:
- Retail businesses selling essential items including food, as well as off-licences
- Pharmacies, chemists, dental service providers and other medical services
- Garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products
- Laundrettes and dry cleaners
- Veterinarians and pet food retailers
- Building societies and post-offices
- Petrol stations and automatic car washes, vehicle repair shops, MOT garages, bicycle shops, as well as taxi and vehicle hire firms
- Funeral directors, crematoriums and burial grounds
You can find the full list of businesses which can remain open in England on the UK Government website.
Wales’ Tier 4 lockdown has been in place since late December, with reviews happening every few weeks. Small businesses which can stay open in Wales during lockdown include:
- Food delivery and takeaway businesses
- Essential businesses such as food and drink shops
- Newsagents and off-licences
- Mobile phone or computer repair
- Launderettes and dry cleaners
- Pharmacies, chemists, and medical services including dental surgeries, opticians, physiotherapy clinics, chiropody and podiatry clinics
- Petrol stations, car garages, repair shops, bicycle shops and vehicle rental services
- Building supply shops and tool hire
- Veterinary surgeries, pet shops, agricultural supplies and livestock markets and auctions
- Burial grounds, funeral directors and crematoriums
Find the full guidance on which businesses can remain open in Wales on the Welsh Government website.
Scotland entered top-tier level 4 restrictions on Boxing Day 2020. Small businesses in Scotland which can stay open during lockdown include:
- Essential retail businesses such as food shops and supermarkets
- Off-licences and newsagents
- Garden centres, building merchants and the suppliers of building products
- Laundrettes and dry cleaners
- Healthcare services such as dental, opticians, chiropody, and chiropractors, as well as pharmacies and chemists
- Petrol stations, car repair, MOT garages, bicycle shops, and Taxi and other vehicle hire businesses
- Funeral directors
The Scottish Government website contains a full list of the businesses which can remain open in Scotland.
Northern Ireland’s tighter restrictions came into play early on in 2021. The small businesses which can stay open in Northern Ireland include:
- Essential shops, including those selling food and essential items
- Market stalls, which serve essential products such as food
- Convenience stores, newsagents and off licences
- Dry cleaners and launderettes
- Chemists, pharmacies and medical services
- Building suppliers and hardware stores
- Post offices and building societies
- Pet shops, agricultural suppliers, livestock markets and veterinary surgeons
- Funeral directors, burial grounds and crematoriums
Find the full list of businesses which can remain open on the Northern Ireland Government website.
If you operate one of the small business types above, it’s fairly safe to say you can operate through any future restrictions, too. If you think your business qualifies to stay open but you don’t see it on our list, it’s a good idea to check with your local authority.
But even if you can safely operate, it’s still a good idea to look at how to protect your small business from the next pandemic with the right insurance. Read our guide on small business covid insurance to learn more about the area, and our guide on general small business insurance.