Coronavirus / Which businesses are allowed to open?

Which businesses are allowed to open?

This information was correct as of 19 July 2021, but is subject to possible changes.

This page sets out the law and guidance which applies in England only.

The government’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown involves several Steps, each of which imposes different restrictions. On 19 July 2021, the UK moved from Step 3 to Step 4.

Step 4 has allowed all remaining businesses to open which were previously required to stay closed under Step 3 rules. This page will provide a brief overview of the regulations for businesses.

Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars

Previous COVID-19 Regulations are now lifted for restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars. This includes requirements such as having table service and distancing between tables.

It is no longer a legal requirement for businesses to display QR codes for customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app. However, they are encouraged to do so. Face masks are no longer a requirement. Businesses are able to set their own policies regarding face masks, and can deny service of a customer, provided that they do not infringe equality law.

The government will be updating their ‘Working Safely’ guidance so that sensible and informed precautions can be taken by employers to reduce risk in their workplaces. See guidance here.


Hotels and other overnight accommodation

Now that social restrictions have been lifted, there is no longer a limit on the number of people in a group for overnight stays in guest accommodation.  The government has produced guidance on how they can be operated safely in coronavirus times, which can be found here.

If you are travelling to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, you must abide by the regulations in that area. Government guidance offers signposting to the regulations for different areas within the UK here.

There are no legal restrictions on leaving the UK, but there are legal restrictions on your return, and other countries may have their own restrictions on incoming passengers. See our articles on travelling back into the UK from a red list country, an amber list country, and a green list country.

Indoor activities

All restrictions on indoor activities have been lifted. This applies to night clubs, large events such as music concerts, sporting events, weddings, funerals and religious celebrations. This means that there are no limitations on the number of attendees, no requirement of table service, and no restrictions on dancefloors.

Refer to the government’s guidance for running indoor events safely here.

Which businesses are allowed to open?

The businesses which were removed from the restricted list and allowed to open on 19 July are:

  • Nightclubs;
  • Dancehalls;
  • Any other venue which:
    • opens at night, and
    • has a dance floor;
  • Sexual entertainment venues;
  • Hostess bars;
  • Shisha bars

What are my rights on this?

Find out more about your rights and how the Human Rights Act protects them

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