Get ready to reopen

25 September 2020

The following resources focus on practical guidance to help tourism businesses reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Information on emergency funding, including Government support, can be found on our Advice for tourism and event businesses affected by COVID-19 page.

On 22 September the Prime Minister announced:


  • office workers who can work from home should do so
  • all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table-service only, except for takeaways (from 24 September)
  • all hospitality venues must close at 10pm, although takeaway deliveries can continue after (from 24 September)
  • staff and customers in indoor hospitality venues are required to wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink (from 24 September)
  • COVID-Secure guidelines will become legal obligations in retail, leisure and tourism sectors. Businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach these rules.
  • from 28 September a maximum of 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions
  • business conferences, exhibitions and large sporting events will not be able to open from 1 October.


Read the Prime Minister's 22 September statement.


This follows on from measures announced on the 9 September:


  • It will be illegal to meet socially in groups of more than 6 people. This will apply in any setting, indoors or outdoors. The measure replaces the existing ban on gatherings of more than 30 and current guidance on allowing 2 households to meet indoors.
  • Some limited exemptions apply. If a single household or support bubble is larger than 6, they can still gather.COVID Secure venues like places of worship, gyms, restaurants and hospitality venues can still hold more than 6 people in total; however, within those venues there must not be individual groups larger than 6, and groups must not mix socially or form larger groups.
  • Education and work settings are unaffected.


Fines will be levied against hospitality venues that fail to ensure their premises remain COVID Secure.


From 18 September:

Read the Prime Minister's 9 September statement.

Reopening update:

The Government has announced that from 15 August:



On 31 July the Government announced that the planned lifting of restrictions on 1 August would be postponed, due to an increase in COVID-19 infections. The measures will be reviewed in 2 weeks. Rules on the wearing of face coverings will also be extended from 8 August, including a new requirement for face coverings to be worn in museums, galleries, cinemas and places of worship.


Read the Prime Minister's 31 July statement.


On 17 July the Prime Minister provided a statement on coronavirus, giving an overview of the Government's plans for the coming months. Updates include:


From 18 July

  • Local authorities will have new powers to be able to close specific venues, shut public places and cancel events
  • As previously stated, from the 25 July – indoor gyms and pools can reopen.


From 1 August (update 31 July - these reopening measures have now been postponed)

  • Most remaining leisure settings, bowling, skating rinks, and close contact beauty services will be allowed to reopen. Nightclubs and soft play will remain closed for now.
  • Live performances will also restart, following some successful pilots this month. They will begin to pilot larger gatherings, for example in sport stadia for reopening later in the autumn.
  • Wedding receptions for up to 30 people will also be able to take place.



  • Conferences and Business Events to resume in a COVID-secure way, subject to successful pilots.
  • Audiences to return to stadia.


On 9 July the Government announced that:


  • From 11 July, outdoor pools can reopen and outdoor performances can restart with a range of outdoor events now permitted 
  • From 13 July, beauticians, tattooists, spas, tanning salons and other close contact services can reopen, subject to some restrictions on particularly high-risk services
  • From 25 July, indoor gyms, pools and sports facilities can reopen


Read the 9 July statement.


On 23 June the Government announced that from 4 July:


  • The two metre social distancing rule will be relaxed to one metre plus. Where it is possible to remain two metres you should continue should do so, but where this is not possible it should be a ‘one metre plus’ policy. New guidance will be published to support businesses – including changing office layouts, protective screens, closing non-essential communal areas etc.
  • Restaurants and pubs can open. Indoor hospitality is limited to table services and contact details will need to be collected from customers.
  • People will be free to stay in self-contained accommodation including hotels, B&Bs, and campsites – so long as shared facilities can be kept clean.
  • Tourist attractions will be able to reopen if they can do so safely, outside gyms and playgrounds can also open.
  • Places of worship will be able to reopen, weddings can take place with up to 30 guests
  • Close proximity venues such as water parks, nightclubs, soft play, indoor gyms, swimming pools and spas will remain closed. Taskforces will be established to help them become COVID secure.
  • Indoor facilities for sports will remain closed, and close contact sports should only happen with people from the same household.


Read the statement on reopening.


Current closure guidance and exemptions:

The Government has published updated guidance on the businesses and venues in England that need to remain closed.

Areas with additional local restrictions

The Local restrictions: areas with an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) page on includes information for local authorities, residents and businesses about what to do and how to manage the outbreak.


The Department for Health and Social Care has set up an email address for businesses in lockdown areas who have queries regarding the local rules and requirements.


Accepting guests from areas with local restrictions

The Government has issued guidance on holidays in areas with local restrictions, which also provides information on people travelling from those areas. 


Managing local outbreaks

The Government has issued guidance on the approach to managing local coronavirus outbreaks


Grants for businesses affected by local lockdowns

The Government has announced that businesses in England that are required to close due to local lockdowns or targeted restrictions will be able to receive grants worth up to £1,500 every three weeks. Read the press release on grants for businesses affected by local lockdowns.

Key Government guidance

  • Visitor Economy Guidance

    Guidance for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows.

  • Guidance from Public Health England

    Guidance for businesses, employers and employees on preventing the spread of the virus.

  • Hotels and other guest accommodation

    Guidance for people who work in or run hotels and other guest accommodation.

  • Heritage locations

    Guidance for people who work or volunteer in heritage locations.

  • Check what actions you need to take

    This online tool from Government will generate guidance and help you do a risk assessment based on your sector, visitors, suppliers and employees.

  • Reporting outbreaks of COVID-19

    Guidance for businesses and organisations on how to recognise, contain and report incidents of COVID-19.

  • NHS

    Create an NHS QR code for your venue

    It is a legal requirement to display an NHS QR code following the launch of the NHS COVID-19 App.

  • Protecting customer and visitor details

    A five step checklist from the Information Commissioner’s Office on how to manage personal data collected for NHS Test and Trace.

  • Maintaining records of staff and customers

    Guidance for hospitality and tourism businesses on collecting and maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace.

  • Customer Logging Toolkit

    Template materials to display and guidance on logging customer information for NHS Test and Trace.

  • Help customers plan a holiday

    Businesses are asked to raise awareness of Government guidance for tourists who fall ill whilst on holiday.

  • Rules on face coverings

    When to wear face coverings, including public areas of hotels, hostels and indoor tourist attractions from 8 August.

  • Face coverings exemption toolkit

    Download a poster to remind customers that not all health conditions are visible.

  • If customers contract COVID-19

    Guidance on what should happen if a customer contracts COVID-19 while on holiday.

  • Looking after your employees

  • Alex Hare

    Guidance on social distancing at work

    Advice for employers on social distancing during COVID-19.

  • Advice from ACAS

    Guidance on handling employees, including sick pay, managing staff shortfalls, if somebody becomes unwell at work and what to do if you need to close.

  • Online sick note system

    An online sick note system on the NHS website can provide employees with evidence that they have been advised to self-isolate.

  • Guidance from HSE

    Health and Safety Executive advice on keeping your employees and workplace safe.

  • Test and trace in the workplace

    If there is more than one case of COVID-19 in your workplace you should contact your local health protection team.

  • Psychological first aid training

    A free 90 minute online training course to help you recognise people at risk of distress.

  • Check if you should go back into work

    Employees can use this tool to find out if they should be going back into work, and how to return to work safely.

  • Consulting with employees returning to work

    From 1 August, employers should consult with their employees to determine how to work safely.

  • Self-isolating after returning to the UK

    Guidance for employees and employers on self-isolating after returning to the UK.

  • Cleaning your workplace to reduce risk

    Guidance from HSE on cleaning your workplace to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

  • Changes to apprenticeships due to COVID-19

    Guidance for apprentices, employers, training providers, end-point assessment organisations and external quality assurance providers about changes to apprenticeships.