Prime Minister Announcements

From Thursday 24th September 2020:

  • All hospitality venues must close between 22:00 and 05:00 (they must shut at 22:00, not be calling for last orders)
  • All pubs, bars and restaurants will be restricted to table service only. Takeaways can continue
  • Customers in indoor hospitality venues will also have to wear masks, except when seated at a table to eat or drink
  • Face coverings must be worn by retail and hospitality staff

From Monday 28th September 2020:

  • The number of people allowed to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions will be reduced from 30 to 15. 30 people can still attend a funeral. Organisers must follow Covid-19 Secure guidance and all legal requirements in order to ensure they are protecting their staff and customers
  • In retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors, Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations. Businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach these rules.

The full speech can be found here. You will note that the PM suggested these restrictions could be in place for 6 months. 

Business Events & Conferences

  • Business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events were planned to reopen on 1st October 2020. This will now be paused. However, meetings of up to 30 people indoors are allowed in permitted venues if social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. If permitted venues have multiple, separate meeting facilities, these can be hired out simultaneously for separate meetings/events if social distancing can be maintained, groups can be kept separate, and the venue can demonstrate it has followed the COVID-19 guidance. 

Update to Coach Operators

  • If it is possible to ensure that groups of more than six do not mingle on a tour, coach tours of over six people on the coach can go ahead. People must stay in their groups of up to six (or larger if they are from one household) on all parts of the tour - for example whilst in hospitality settings and when visiting attractions as well as whilst on the coach. 
  • Legislation does not place any capacity constraints on public transport services, private hire vehicles or leisure tours. Operators should continue to provide Covid-secure transport services which can accommodate multiple groups of six people. DfT will update the transport guidance shortly to clarify and assist passengers and operators.

Live Theatre


  • Hospitality services within hotels, such as hotel dining rooms and bars will need to follow the new requirement to close to the public between 10pm - 5am. Hotels will still be able to provide food and drink through room service as long as it is ordered by phone or online.

Face Coverings

  • Businesses will be asked to promote the wearing of face coverings by staff and customers and compliance through signage and other appropriate means in order to be COVID-secure.   
  • There is no obligation on businesses to enforce these new measures. Rather than simply refuse entry to someone not wearing a face covering, a business may instead ask that individual to put one on, bearing in mind that some people are exempt.
  • If an individual is acting anti-socially or against the rules, staff will be able to ask them to leave, or call the police if necessary. This is a matter for the police, who can take measures if people do not comply with this law without a valid exemption. The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence.

Working from home

To help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter. Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so. Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary. Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work. The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.

Useful links can also be found on our Covid-19 Business Hub and the VisitBritain website.