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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice, including help if you are struggling financially

Emergency business closure requirements: What do they mean to you?

To limit the risk of coronavirus spread, national legislation was brought in to restrict the opening of certain businesses and other places. The legislation has been amended several times as Lockdown has been gradually lifted. The latest changes are incorporated into this updated Government guidance on what can open and what has to remain closed. The restrictions vary in some parts of England where the need for tighter infection controls has been identified. They also differ in other UK countries. There are currently no additional restrictions in Dorset or the surrounding counties at this time. 

The following businesses and venues were permitted to reopen from 15 August:

  • bowling alleys
  • indoor skating rinks
  • indoor play areas, including soft play
  • casinos
  • exhibition halls and conference centres (although this should only be for government endorsed pilots)

The only businesses and venues which now need to remain closed by law are: 

  • nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques 
  • sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars 
  • exhibition halls and conference centres (unless for a government endorsed pilot)

From 15 August the Government’s guidance on businesses that can open safely also allowed the following changes to earlier restrictions:

  • indoor theatres, music and performance venues will be able to reopen with socially distanced audiences
  • wedding receptions in the form of a sit-down meal in a COVID-secure location for up to 30 guests will now be permitted
  • beauty salons, tattoo studios, spas and barbers across England will be able to offer all close contact services
  • a number of pilots will now take place at event venues across the country to help plan how best to restart indoor business events and implement social distancing practices. Business events and conferences will be permitted to resume from 1 October provided rates of infection remain at current levels
  • the piloting of a small number of sporting events to test the safe return of spectators will resume from August 15 with a view to reopening competition venues for sports fans, with social distancing measures in place from 1 October

If your business or venue is permitted to reopen or remain open, it must close off or cease to provide any of the closed services if they are part of the business. 

Our aim is to ensure businesses and other organisations are clear on the requirements so that they can remain closed if required, or make permitted adjustments to how they do business, to stay legal and safe. 

These emergency regulations are enforced by officers from Dorset Council, including environmental health and trading standards officers, working in conjunction where necessary with Dorset Police. A reasonable and proportionate approach will continue to be taken, encouraging and persuading businesses to comply with the requirements. 

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Get in touch if you'd like further guidance on these new requirements.

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