Government COVID-19 updates

Monday April 5, 2021

See all updated Government COVID-19 business requirements here.

UPDATE: 5 April 2021

The Prime Minister announced today that lockdown will ease as planned next week, and non-essential retail, outdoor hospitality, gyms and hairdressers will reopen on Monday 12 April.

If your businesses need any help or support, please get in touch or visit our dedicated support page.

UPDATE: 29 March 2021

From today, you can meet with people outdoors in groups of 6 people or 2 households, including in private gardens. Outdoor sports facilities can open, like tennis or basketball courts and open air swimming pools. Parent and child groups can take place outdoors in public spaces.

UPDATE: 8 March 2021

People can now leave home for recreation and exercise outdoors with their household or support bubble, if they are eligible for one, or with one person from outside their household.

UPDATE: 21 February 2021

Today, the Prime Minister announced the planned steps to cautiously ease lockdown restrictions in the coming months, subject to review. You can read more here.

UPDATE: 5 January 2021

Following last night’s announcement, we are now in a national lockdown due to a rapid rise in infections. The Prime Minister has instructed people to stay at home to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. The lockdown is expected to last until the middle of February if the situation in hospitals improves.

In terms of business support, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced new grants to assist businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure. We will publicise the details of these new grants when we receive more information.

You can still support Cheltenham businesses during this period. Essential services remain open, including food shops, pharmacies, off-licenses, repair services, banks, post offices, car parks, building societies, laundrettes and dry cleaners, mobility and disability support shops and medical and dental services.

Many food, beverage and non-essential retail are also offering takeaway, delivery or click and collect services. We will be posting details on our OurChelt channels over the coming days.

Full details of what you can and cannot do are here:

UPDATE: 30 December 2020

Gloucestershire is being placed in Tier 4 from tomorrow (Thursday 31 December), meaning non-essential shops, hairdressers, leisure and entertainment venues must close due to rising case numbers. Please stay at home.

Read the rules here:

UPDATE: 23 December 2020

Cheltenham will be placed in Tier 3 at 00.01 on Boxing Day. This means that shops, gyms and hairdressers can remain open, but restaurants, pubs and cafes can only offer delivery and takeaway. For more details, visit:

UPDATE: 17 December 2020

Following the government’s national review, it has been announced that Gloucestershire will be staying in Tier 2, with the next review due on Wednesday 30 December. See below for a reminder of what this means for Cheltenham and its businesses.

UPDATE: 2 December 2020

From today (Wednesday 2 December), Cheltenham is under Tier 2 restrictions. This means:

– Non-essential shops, hotels, theatres, attractions, gyms and personal care services (hairdressers etc.) can open.

– Hospitality businesses, such as pubs, restaurants and bars (only those serving *substantial table meals, alcohol can be served with that meal), can operate until 11pm with table service only. Last orders must be made by 10pm. *A “table meal” is a meal that might be expected to be served as breakfast, the main midday or main evening meal, or as a main course at such a meal (i.e. substantial by nature).

– Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume.

– You can meet people in public outdoor places such as Cheltenham’s parks and gardens but you must stick to the rule of six.

– People are being encouraged to minimise travel and work from home where possible.

– Spectators can attend organised sports events with 50% of capacity or 2,000 spectators, whichever is smaller. Cheltenham Racecourse will able to welcome a limited number of racegoers for The International mid-December and the New Year’s Day racing and Cheltenham Town Football Club will also welcome some fans.  

– Non-essential foreign travel is allowed, subject to quarantine rules.

– Unfortunately, with tier 2 restrictions in place, meeting inside will still not be allowed under any circumstances, other than for those in a support bubble. Nightclubs must also remain closed. 

– Regular, good handwashing, wearing a face covering and keeping two meters apart continues to be essential steps for everyone to follow.

For more information on the new tier systems and the specific restrictions that will apply across Gloucestershire visit

For consumer information, Visit Cheltenham have put together a guide to visiting Cheltenham that includes details of Christmas opening hours and town centre parking and travel. Please click here to be taken to their site.

Discretionary Business Grant Scheme

Cheltenham Borough Council have now announced details of their local grant scheme for businesses affected by lockdown. For details and to apply, click here. The deadline for applications is midnight on Wednesday 9 December.

Wet-led pubs

For pubs that predominantly serve alcohol, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday 1 December that an additional £1,000 Christmas grant for ‘wet-led pubs’ in tiers 2 and 3 will be available for those who will miss out on much-needed business during the busy Christmas period. Read more here.

UPDATE: 17 November 2020

Grants to support businesses affected by COVID-19-

Businesses that have been unable to reopen since 23 March 2020

The government is providing funding to help business properties which have been unable to reopen since 23 March 2020 due to national restrictions, for example nightclubs. Such businesses will be able to apply for a grant payment to cover the period 1-4 November 2020, prior to the national lockdown on 5 November. From 5 November 2020, these businesses will be eligible for a national business support grant as below.

Business support grants for business ratepayers forced to close from 5 November 2020 (national scheme)

The government has put in place a grant scheme for businesses that have been forced to close due to the national restrictions from 5 November 2020.

Grants are based on the rateable value of the property and will be paid per 28-day qualifying restriction period.

  • Businesses occupying properties with a rateable value of £15,000 or under can get a grant payment of £1,334
  • Businesses occupying properties with a rateable value between £15,001 and £50,999 can get a grant payment of £2,000
  • Businesses occupying properties with a rateable value of £51,000 and over can get a grant payment of £3,000

To be eligible for this grant, your business property must fall under one of the categories on the government’s list of businesses forced to close. Please note that if the majority of your business has been forced to close but you are operating a takeaway or click and collect service, you may still be eligible for a grant. However businesses that have chosen to close but have not been required to will not be eligible for this grant and should not apply. 

The government has also issued this advice for businesses:

Check if your business is eligible for a coronavirus grant due to national restrictions (for closed businesses)

How to apply

The link below contains the application form to apply for a grant. The form will capture the information required by the council to verify and make payment of the grant to your business.

To apply for this grant you will need:

  • Your business rates account reference which can be found on your business rates bill 2020/2021
  • A business bank statement covering the period from 1 September 2020 or your latest bank statement, within the last three months (this will be the account to which the grant payment will be made)
  • Your Company Registration Number (CRN) if applicable
  • Your VAT Registration Number if applicable

What happens next?

All applications will be validated and a decision made as to whether the business is eligible for a grant and how much is payable. Payment will be made by BACS to the nominated bank account after the payment has been approved.

Please only complete this application form if the business has been forced to close, you have a Business Rates account number and are currently liable for Business Rates.

Local Restriction Support Grants application form

The Government will not accept deliberate manipulation and fraud and any business caught falsifying their statements or evidence to gain grant money will face prosecution and any funding issued will be subject to claw back, as may any grants paid in error.

Discretionary business support grants

Cheltenham Borough Council are currently working on the policy and the application form for these discretionary grants which will be available soon

State Aid

The amended Temporary Framework enables EU Member States to give up to the nominal value of

€800,000 per company. This can be combined also with so-called de minimis aid (to bring the aid per company to up to €1 million) and with other specific types of aid. Any business that has reached the limits of payments permissible under the De Minimis and the UK Covid-19 Temporary State Aid Framework will not be able to receive further grant funding.

UPDATE: 6 November 2020

Retailers offering a Click and Collect service -Non-essential retail venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services. A purchaser can pick up a product from the retailers door or the retailer can take the product to the purchaser’s car but cannot enter inside the premises at ANY point.

Updated: 2 November 2020

From Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, the Government is taking the following action:

  • Requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  • Preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  • Closing certain businesses and venues. See which businesses have been ordered to close.

See financial support available and full new national restrictions information.

These new measures have been carefully judged to achieve the maximum reduction in growth in the number of cases, preventing the NHS from being overwhelmed, whilst ensuring that schools, colleges and universities stay open and that as many people as possible continue to work.

Until Thursday 5 November, the relevant Local Covid Alert Level measures will continue to apply in the area where you live. From Thursday the national restrictions replace the local restrictions in your area. No new areas will move in the LCAL Very High restrictions between now and Thursday.

The new measures will apply nationally for four weeks up to Wednesday 2 December. At the end of the period, we will look to return to a regional approach, based on the latest data.

Complying with the new measures will help limit the spread of coronavirus, reduce the impact on the NHS and save lives. They will be underpinned by law which will make clear about what you must and must not do from 5 November. The relevant authorities, including the police, will have powers to enforce the law – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

Protect your loved ones. Download the App.

Please download the NHS App to keep updated on the latest guidance from Thursday 5 November

Updated 29 September
  • Requirements relating to stopping singing and dancing (subject to exemptions) ⇓
  • Requirements relating to not play music which exceeds 85db ⇓
  • Requirements relating to signage and information ⇓
These Regulations came into force today (28 September 2020) to place the following additional requirement on businesses:
 Requirements relating to stopping singing and dancing (subject to exemptions):
The Regulation:

A person responsible for carrying on a business of a public house, café, restaurant or bar (including a bar in a hotel or members’ club) must, during the emergency period, take all reasonable measures to stop—
(a) singing on the premises by customers in groups of more than six; or
(b) dancing on the premises by customers.
The above does not apply in relation to dancing—
(a) at a wedding ceremony or wedding reception by the couple to whom the wedding relates; or
(b) at a civil partnership ceremony or reception following a civil partnership ceremony by the couple to whom the civil partnership ceremony relates.

Requirements relating to not play music which exceeds 85db:
The Regulation:

“A person responsible for carrying on a business of a public house, café, restaurant or bar (including a bar in a hotel or members’ club) must, during the emergency period, ensure that no music is played on the premises which exceeds 85db(A) when measured at the source of the music.”
Requirements relating to signage and information
A requirement on persons responsible for a business in a relevant area*. That requirement is either to display a notice at the relevant area informing persons on the premises of the requirement to wear a face covering unless an exemption applies or the person has a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering, or to take other measures to ensure that persons entering the premises are so informed.
A contravention of this requirement is an offence, punishable by a fine or by way of a fixed penalty of up to £10,000.
The Regulation:

A responsible person must, during the emergency period—
(a) display a notice providing the information in paragraph (2); or
(b) take other measures to ensure that any person who enters the relevant area without wearing a face covering is given the information specified in paragraph (4).
(2) The information referred to in paragraph (1)(a) is that any person present at the relevant area is required to wear a face covering under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) Regulations 2020 unless an exemption under those Regulations applies to the person or the person has a reasonable excuse under those Regulations not to wear a face covering; and
(3) A notice under paragraph (1)(a) must be displayed in a conspicuous location at the relevant area
(4) The information to be given to the person under paragraph (1)(b) is that the person is required to wear a face covering unless an exemption applies to the person or the person has a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering.

* “Relevant area” means any place where a person is required to wear a face covering under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) Regulations 2020;

Designated businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues, will also be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Track and Trace and from Thursday 24 September they will be required to display official NHS QR code posters under law ahead of the NHS COVID-19 app being rolled out nationally next week. Businesses will be expected to make sure their customers are aware of the rules around QR codes by displaying posters and speaking to customers directly.

Businesses required to display an NHS Track and Trace posters and request customers details-

(a)restaurants, including restaurants and dining rooms in hotels or members’ clubs;

(b)cafes, including workplace canteens;

(c)bars, including bars in hotels or members’ clubs;

(d)public houses.

Leisure and tourism services, provided by or at—

(a)amusement arcades;

(b)art fairs;

(c)betting and bingo halls;


(e)clubs providing team sporting activities;

(f)facilities for use by elite and professional sportspeople (including sports stadia);

(g)heritage locations and attractions open to the public (including castles, stately homes and other historic houses);

(h)hotels and other guest accommodation provided on a commercial basis, including in Bed & breakfast accommodation, boats, campsites, caravans, chalets, guest houses, holiday parks, hostels, motels, pubs, sleeper trains and yurts;

(i)indoor sport and leisure centres;

(j)outdoor swimming pools and lidos;

(k)museums and galleries;

(l)music recording studios open for public hire or other public use;

(m)public libraries.

3.  Close physical contact services, including those provided by—


(b)beauticians (including those providing cosmetic, aesthetic and wellness treatments);

(c)dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers;


(e)nail bars and salons;

(f)skin and body piercing services;

(g)sports and massage therapists;


4.  Services provided for social, cultural and recreational purposes in the following premises—

(a)community centres;

(b)youth and community centres;

(c)village halls.

You should create and display a QR code if you are: a business, place of worship or community organisation with a physical location that is open to the publican event which is taking place in a physical location.

If you have more than one venue, you need to create a separate QR code for each location. You can add multiple locations in the service.

Use this service to create a QR code for display in your business venue. Get visitors to scan the QR code when they arrive, using the NHS COVID-19 app. This is to help trace and stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

A majority of businesses and organisations have been playing their part in tackling the virus by putting in place COVID-secure measures in their venues, but new legal requirements will make it compulsory for them to do so or risk facing a fine.

The regulations will be enforced by Local Authorities, who will have the power to issue fines of up to £1,000 for venues that are failing to comply, or the police as a last resort. Fines will rise to up to £4,000 for repeat offenders.

The Prime Minister announced further restrictions on 22 September affecting licensed businesses from Thursday 24 September.

  • Office workers who can work from home to do so.  In key public services – and in all professions where homeworking is not possible, such as construction or retail – people should continue to attend their workplaces.
  • From Thursday all pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table-service only, except for takeaways and must close at 10pm.  The 10pm terminal hour means closing, and not calling for last orders.
  • See the regs relating to restriction on opening hours and table service
  • See obligations on hospitality regs here
  • The Government will extend the requirement to wear face coverings to include staff in retail and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.

The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will now double to £200 for a first offence.

Plans for the return of spectators to sporting events has been shelved and will now no longer go ahead as was planned from 1 October 2020.

18 September Hospitality venues in England are legally required to enforce the rule of 6 or face a fine of up to £4,000.