COVID-19 Lockdown: Shopping and retail guidance

Posted on: 25th March 2020

On 23 March the Government stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives. All non-essential premises must now close.

What is shut?

  • Restaurants and cafes
  • Pubs, bars, clubs and nightclubs
  • Hair and beauty salons
  • Non-essential retail (see section below for what remains open)
  • Markets
  • Hotels, hostels, B&Bs, campsites and caravan parks for commercial use
  • Libraries
  • Community and youth centres
  • Places of worship
  • Cinemas, theatres and concert halls
  • Museums and galleries
  • Bingo halls, casinos and betting shops
  • Leisure centres, fitness studios, gyms and swimming pools
  • Enclosed spaces in parks, including playgrounds, sports courts and pitches and outdoor gyms


Many places of worship and entertainment venues are starting to launch pre-recorded, live streamed or ‘virtual’ events so it is worth checking websites of your local venues to see what might be on offer.

What is open?

  • Food delivery and takeaway services can currently remain in operation
  • Supermarkets and other food shops (including food market stalls)
  • Health shops
  • Pharmacies
  • Petrol stations
  • Home and hardware shops
  • Launderettes and dry cleaners
  • Garages
  • Pet shops
  • Corner shops
  • Newsagents
  • Post offices
  • Banks

Online retail is open and encouraged and postal and delivery services will run as normal.

Those retail and public premises which can remain open under the new guidelines must:

  • Ensure a distance of two meters between customers and shop assistants
  • Let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not crowded
  • Queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that remain open


Distancing measures that premises are required to put in place will mean that fewer people can be in a shop at any one time, and it is expected there will be queues outside many food shops.

These closures came into effect on 23rd March, and will be reviewed by the Government after a period of 3 weeks.

You can read the full Government guidance here: