Which small companies can keep open in nationwide lockdown?

Originally written by Timothy Adler about small business

Which small businesses can stay open during the national lockdown? Here is the partial list of companies that can stay open with different rules for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a third national lockdown for England on Monday 5th January.

This third national lockdown is expected to last through March 31 as the coronavirus vaccines roll out and the population immunized.

Small businesses closing in England

  • non-essential retailThese include clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape stores, electronic goods and cell phone stores, auction houses (other than auctions of livestock or farm equipment), and market stalls where none are selling become -essential goods
  • Hospitality Places such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and clubs; with the exception of the provision of food and non-alcoholic beverages to take away (until 11 p.m.)
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except in certain circumstances
  • Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centers and fitness studios, swimming pools, sports fields, fitness and dance studios, riding arenas in riding centers, climbing walls and golf courses
  • Entertainment venues such as theaters, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, ice rinks, go-karting venues, indoor game and soft play centers and areas (including inflatable parks and trampoline centers), circuses, fairgrounds , Fairs, water parks and theme parks
  • Animal attractions (such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums and game reserves)
  • Personal care facilities like hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo studios, spas, massage parlors, body and skin piercing services must also be closed. These services should not be performed in other people’s homes

What small businesses can stay open in England during the lockdown?

  • essential retail such as grocery stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centers, builders and suppliers of building products and off-licenses
  • Market stalls The sale of essential retail can also remain open
  • Companies offer Repair services can also remain open where they primarily offer repair services
  • Gas stations, automatic car washes, vehicle repair and TÜV service, Bike shopsas well as taxi and vehicle rentals
  • Undertaker
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners
  • medical and dental services
  • Veterinarian and pet food retailer


Scotland was blocked on January 5th. The regulations are expected to take four weeks but are still being reviewed.

What small businesses can stay open in Scotland during the lockdown?

  • Grocery retailerincluding grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and mom and pop stores
  • Off licenses and licensed stores that sell alcohol (including breweries)
  • Pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies) and chemists
  • Newsagents
  • Merchants build and suppliers of products and tools used in Construction work and repairs
  • Gas stations
  • Car repair and TÜV service
  • Bike shops
  • Taxi or vehicle rental
  • Undertaker
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners
  • dental services, opticians, audiology, foot care Services, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including mental health-related services
  • Veterinarians and pet shops
  • agricultural supplies Shops and agricultural markets
  • Storage and distribution facilities, including drop off or collection points, where the facilities are located on the premises of a company referred to in this sub-paragraph


Wales introduced Tier 4 national restrictions on December 20th and although the rules are reviewed every three weeks, it is expected that current levels will remain in place through the end of January.

Small businesses closing down during lockdown in Wales

  • Restaurants, bars and pubs, also within hotels and member clubs
    Cafes and canteens
  • non-essential retail with exceptions (see below). Supermarkets with separate aisles selling clothes and housewares can remain open, but these areas are closed
  • Auction houses
  • Car dealerships and dealerships
  • Hairdressing salons and hairdressers
  • Real estate or rental agents, Developer sales offices and model homes
  • Companies with close contact such as spas and massage parlors, beauty therapists, make-up artists, nail service technicians, reflexologists, aestheticians, holistic, wellness and other practitioners, acupuncturists, massage therapists, tanning salons, tattooists, etc.
  • shopping mall, Arcades and markets indoors or outdoors
  • accommodation This includes hotels, hostels, B & Bs, campsites and guest houses for commercial purposes
  • night free time such as night clubs, cinemas, theaters and concert halls, bingo halls, casinos and betting shops, venues for sexual entertainment
  • Gyms, indoor gyms

What small businesses can stay open in Wales during the lockdown?

  • Delivery of groceries and take-away
  • Grocery and beverage stores
  • Pharmacies and chemists, including non-dispensing pharmacies
  • Gas stations
  • Bike shops
  • Hardware stores, Shops that sell building materials and equipment
  • Equipment and tool rental
  • Veterinary practices and pet shops
  • Newsagents
  • Off licenses and licensed businesses that sell alcohol, including those in breweries
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners
  • Vehicle rental
  • Auto workshops and repair shops, including MOT services
  • agricultural or aquaculture supply
  • Livestock markets or auctions
  • Repair of cell phones or computers
  • Medical service (such as dental practices, opticians and audiology clinics, physiotherapy clinics, chiropody and podiatry clinics and other professional occupational medical services)

Northern Ireland

Stricter lockdown regulations come into effect on January 7th and will remain in effect until at least February 6th. People are only allowed to leave the house for medical reasons, to buy groceries or to play sports. Those who cannot work from home can go too.

What small businesses can stay open in Northern Ireland during the lockdown?

  • non-essential retail These include grocery retailers, supermarkets, convenience stores, off-licenses and newsagents
  • Pharmacies and chemists
  • Fuel suppliers
  • Building materials and hardware stores
  • Bike shops
  • agricultural supplies Shops and cattle markets
    Car workshops
  • Undertaker
  • Laundromats and dry cleaning
  • Healthcare including dental services, opticians, audiology, foot care, chiropractors, osteopaths, and other medical or health services
  • Veterinarians, Dog groomers and pet stores

further reading

National Small Business Blocking – What Support is Available?

Which small businesses can stay open in national lockdown?

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