What the new lockdown restrictions mean for London businesses

The Government has announced that lockdown restrictions will apply to the whole of England from Thursday 5 November. The new restrictions will last for four weeks, until Wednesday 2 December. The Government intends for the tiered system of restrictions to resume after this period.

Work and travel
All those who are able to work effectively from home must do so, but those who cannot should attend their place of work. It will be possible to travel, either outside of one’s local area or internationally, for work or education that cannot be completed from home.

Business closures
Certain businesses and venues must close or restrict how they provide goods and services. This page outlines which businesses must close, and which businesses can remain open.

Retail:

  • Retailers selling essential products and services, including food shops and supermarkets, can stay open, but must comply with COVID-secure guidelines to keep employees and customers safe.
  • All non-essential retail will be required to close. Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, entertainment venues, and personal care facilities (such as hair salons), must also close.
  • Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery and click-and-collect services.

Hospitality:

  • Hospitality venues such as restaurants and bars are required to close from Thursday. However, they will be able to provide takeaways and deliveries.
  • As travel is permitted for work purposes, hotels and other accommodation can only open for those travelling for work and a limited number of other exemptions. Details of these exemptions will be set out by the Government soon.

Property and construction:

  • The Construction Leadership Council’s Site Operating Procedures must be followed.
  • Buying, selling and renting homes can continue in a COVID-secure way. Estate and letting agents can continue to operate, show homes and sales suites can remain open and property viewings, mortgage valuations and surveys can continue.

Business grants and loans
The deadline to apply for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and Future Fund has been extended until 31 January 2021.

Additionally, businesses required to close will be eligible for the following grants:

  • £1,334 per month or £667 per two weeks for properties with a rateable value of £15k or under
  • £2,000 per month or £1,000 per two weeks for properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k
  • £3,000 per month or £1,500 per two weeks for properties with a rateable value of £51k or over

Furlough scheme
The Furlough scheme will remain open until the end of March, providing 80% of employees’ current salaries for hours not worked up to a maximum of £2,500.

Businesses will be able to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis or furlough them full-time, and will only be required to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions. This will be reviewed by the Government in January.

In view of this announcement:

  • The Job Support Scheme, which was scheduled to begin on 1 November, is postponed.
  • The Job Retention Bonus for keeping workers on until January has now been cancelled. A similar incentive will be redeployed at the appropriate time.

More information on the furlough scheme extension is available here.

Support for the self-employed
Self-employed workers will be able to claim for 80% of trading profits through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme covering November to Janaury. The maximum grant will increase to £5,160. A further grant covering February to April is expected to follow this.

The claims window will open on Monday 30 November. More information on this support is available here.

Further information
If LCCI members would like further information, or to speak to our Policy team about the impacts of these restrictions, please email us.

Last updated on Thursday 5 November 2020.