The Government Plan to Reopen Your Business

The Government Plan to Reopen Your Business

This is a summary of the government plan to open the doors of businesses in England following the lockdown. Find out the estimated dates, detailed in the 60-page government roadmap, of when your business will be allowed to open once again.

The document illustrates the government plan to ease the transition of businesses returning to work following the lockdown.

See below for the key points of each part of the three-step plan for ending lockdown measures.

The following applies to England not to the UK – each devolved administration has their own strategy to lift the lockdown.

Phase 1

This stage will come into effect from Wednesday 12 May in England.


Sectors of the economy that are allowed to open include the following:

  • Food production 
  • Construction 
  • Manufacturing 
  • Logistics 
  • Distribution 
  • Scientific research in laboratories

Businesses in the following sectors should remain closed during this step:

  • Hospitality 
  • Nonessential retail 

Further information:

  • For the foreseeable future, workers should continue to work from home, rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible. 
  • All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. 
  • As soon as practicable, workplaces should follow the new “COVID-19 Secure” guidelines, which will be published this week. Keep an eye on this article as we will update it with these guidelines once published.
  • It remains the case that anyone who has symptoms, however mild, or is in a household where someone has symptoms, should not leave their house to go to work.


Phase 2

In this stage, businesses in the non-essential retail sector will be allowed to open with a target date of 1st June, this will exclude those in high-risk sectors. 

The non-essential sectors that will be allowed to open include the following:

  • Fashion outlets
  • Homeware retailers
  • Garden centres
  • Technology businesses

Businesses in the following sectors should remain closed during this step:

  • Hospitality, i.e pubs, restaurants, bars etc.
  • Personal care, i.e.hairdressers, beauty salons, nail shops etc.

Further information:

  • Non-essential retail businesses will only be allowed to open subject to those retailers being able to follow the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines, released later this week. 
  • The intention is for this to happen in phases from 1 June; the Government will issue further guidance shortly on the approach that will be taken to phasing, including which businesses will be covered in each phase and the timeframes involved.

There may be circumstances where different measures will be lifted at different times depending on the variance in rate of transmission across the UK. 

Phase 3

This stage will commence from 4th July, when the government currently plans on reopening the remaining businesses that have been required to close, including:

  • Personal care i.e. hairdressers and beauty salons 
  • Hospitality i.e. food service providers, pubs and accommodation 
  • Public places i.e. places of worship 
  • Leisure facilities i.e cinemas and theatres

 This is again subject to these businesses meeting the COVID-19 Secure guidelines. 

Some high-risk venues, which are, by design, crowded and where it may prove difficult to enact distancing, may still not be able to re-open safely at this point or may be able to open safely only in part. 

Nevertheless, the Government will wish to open as many businesses and public places as the data and information at the time allows.

Further information:

  • In order to facilitate the fastest possible re-opening of these types of higher-risk businesses and public places, the Government will carefully phase and pilot re-openings to test their ability to adopt the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines. 
  • The Government will also monitor carefully the effects of reopening other similar establishments elsewhere in the world, as this happens.




Information in this roadmap is subject to change in-line with infection rates. You can read the full 60-page document here

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