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Reopening your business

Making sure our town centres are safe places for businesses, workers, shoppers and visitors is our main focus as shops, markets, cafes, restaurants and pubs reopen. The information below offers guidance on how to reopen your business safely.

Remember: if you, or a member of staff, feels unwell with any Coronavirus symptoms (or a member of the household is unwell with symptoms), you must follow government guidance to stay at home and arrange to have a test. See What to do if you think you have Coronavirus.

Toolkit - reopen your business safely

Our Icon for pdf COVID-19 Business Toolkit (PDF, 1.2mb)  will help guide you through the main considerations for restarting your business safely. It includes links to useful documents such as a risk assessment template.

Key reopening dates

Key dateBusinesses that are allowed to reopen following Covid-19 secure guidelines
1 June 2020Outdoor markets, car showrooms.
15 June 2020All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, electronics, tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets.
4 July 2020Restaurants, cafes, bars, pubs that are self-contained and can be accessed from the outside, hair salons and barbers, including mobile businesses, libraries, community centres, cinemas, theatres and concert halls, outdoor gyms and playgrounds, museums and galleries.
For more information see Opening certain businesses and venues in England from 4 July 2020.
13 July 2020Spas, nail bars, beauty salons, tanning salons, massage, tattoo, body and skin piercing services. Some treatments, e.g. on the face, are not permitted. All close-contact service providers are strongly advised to follow guidance on how to work safely: Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) - close contact services.
25 July 2020Indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor gyms, indoor sports courts and facilities, indoor swimming pools and indoor water parks. See Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) - Providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities.
15 August 2020Casinos, skating rinks, bowling alleys, indoor play areas (including soft play areas), indoor performances, remaining close contact services, including any treatments on the face such as eyebrow threading or make-up application, wedding receptions and celebrations for up to 30 people, in the form of a sit-down meal. See Coronavirus outbreak FAQs - what you can and can't do.

What you must do before you can reopen your business

To reopen your business you must be able to meet the Covid-19 secure guidelines, as detailed in working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19), to protect shoppers and workers. You must meet the government's five steps to working safely:

  1. Carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment
  2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures
  3. Help people to work from home
  4. Maintain two metre social distancing, where possible
  5. Where people cannot be two metres apart, manage transmission risk

See Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) - 5 steps to working safely for more information.

Carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment

You can can only open your business once you have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident you are managing the risks. You must have taken the necessary steps to become Covid-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation. See HSE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information and advice.

Other measures

The government has advised other measures that shops should consider, including:

  • placing a poster in your windows to demonstrate awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures - Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020 (poster)
  • storing returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out on the shop floor
  • placing protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas
  • frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including self-checkouts, trolleys, coffee machines and betting terminals

Guidance and further information



Retail sector


  • HSE has produced guidance to help you work safely (be Covid-secure) and manage the risk associated with running your business at this time. It includes practical measures you can take, for example putting in place social distancing measures, staggering shifts, providing additional handwashing facilities and how to talk with workers to help them stay safe. HSE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information and advice.
  • North East Growth Hub has guidance for businesses and employers including a toolkit with the latest advice, guidance and support available - financial support available, guidance for staff, employers and businesses and how to care for staff, suppliers and customers. North East Growth Hub: COVID-10 (Coronavirus) Toolkit.

Downloadable posters and resources

Contact us
Better Business for All
03000 261 016
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