Can I open my business premise?
Most business can open their premises or sites if they can do so safely. People need to work from home unless that is not possible.
- Workplaces must be operating safely (complying with Alert Level 3 settings; meeting appropriate public health requirements; fulfilling all other health and safety obligations)
- Only permitted businesses may have customers on premises (see below)
- Businesses can trade if they do so without physical contact with customers (e.g. through phone/online orders, delivery, contactless pick-up and drive through)
- Businesses cannot offer services that involve close personal contact, apart from some essential services, or an emergency or critical situation.
The following businesses (those that can operate under Alert Level 4) may have customers on premises:
- Supermarkets and dairies.
- Petrol stations, including any stores operating as part of the petrol station.
- Accommodation services.
- Licensing trusts.
- Hardware and DIY stores, but only for the purpose of sale to trade customers
What are my obligations, if my business is open?
You need to:
- ensure physical distancing of 2 metres is maintained where practical
- mitigate risks of not maintaining physical distancing, e.g. by ensuring face coverings are worn.
- ensure that a copy of the QR code for the business or service is displayed in a prominent place at or near the main entrances to the workplace
Is it mandatory for businesses to display a QR code?
Yes – under Alert Level 3, businesses must display a QR code for that business in a prominent place. Businesses should do this as soon as possible but have until Wednesday 19 August to be compliant.
Can I open my retail store, bar or restaurant?
Yes, but customers cannot enter your premises.
You can do delivery, or drive-through or contactless pick up by customers. Customers can’t consume food or drink on your premises.
What can I deliver?
All goods can be delivered, including food. The delivery must be contactless. Alcohol can be delivered if the business selling it has the appropriate licence.
Can independent butchers, bakeries and greengrocers operate?
Yes, if they deliver or offer pre-arranged collection of goods bought online or by phone. Consumers cannot physically browse for goods.
Should I provide masks to my workers?
Masks are recommended to be used under Alert Level 3. Masks should be provided to workers where physical distancing is difficult to maintain. Note that masks do not replace hand hygiene, staying home when sick and physical distancing. The best defence against COVID-19 is handwashing with soap and water, keeping physical distance, cleaning surfaces and covering coughs and sneezes.
Can customers pay in cash?
Yes, if there is no alternative. You should try to handle the cash using self-checkout kiosks or clean your hands well after handling.
Can I meet with customers face-to-face?
No. Customer interactions should be done remotely – by phone or online. You can provide certain services in home, provided physical distancing and other public health guidance is observed, however, house cleaning is not allowed.
What financial support is available if my small business is affected by Covid-19?
The Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme has been extended until the end of 2020. Organisations and small to medium businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, may be eligible for a one-off loan with a term of 5 years if they have been adversely affected by COVID-19