Is your business essential during the lockdown? Check the list!

  • A list of businesses in Northern Ireland that are considered to be essential during the lockdown and permitted to stay open has been published.

    The UK is in lockdown, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordering all non-essential businesses to close across the country and telling people to stay in their homes. The general public has mostly complied with the order, but there has been some confusion about which businesses are essential.

    Some businesses have informed their employees that they are essential and it's business as usual, despite objections. To help clarify the situation, the Northern Ireland Executive has issued a list of businesses that are considered essential at this time:

     - Supermarkets (excluding any cafes within them), convenience stores and corner shops

     - Grocery markets – not including farmers markets, hot food markets or street food markets.

     - Local fresh food suppliers like butchers, fishmongers and bakeries.

     - Hot food takeaways - over the counter services only and not allowing an option to eat in.

     - Pharmacies/Chemists and Health food shops.

     - Dental surgeries, opticians, audiology, physiotherapy, chiropody and other professional vocational medical services – for urgent appointments only.

     - Veterinary clinics and pet shops.

     - Newsagents.

     - Hardware and building supplies stores.

     - Retail services in hospitals.

     - Petrol stations, garages, and auto repair shops for urgent work only.

     - High street banks, credit unions and cash points.

     - Post offices.

     - Funeral directors, crematoriums and related.

     - Laundrettes and dry cleaners.

     - Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop-off points.

     - Medical or storage services.

     - Public car parks in towns and cities near food takeaway services.

     - Public toilets.

     - Off-licenses

    All other businesses are expected to close immediately and send employees home, including non-essential retail stores, off-licenses, hotels, and market stalls. All libraries, indoor recreation sites and playgrounds, sports halls and gyms, community centres, youth centres, and places of worship have also been explicitly ordered to close immediately. Those essential businesses that do stay open are expected to implement strict protective measures for employees and implement social distancing rules. 

    Tech firms in Northern Ireland have adapted to the outbreak by working from home or temporarily furloughing workers while the disaster passes. The UK government has vowed to pay 80% of the wages of employees who have been furloughed due to the outbreak, with support for self-employed people currently in the works.

    Update: Off-licenses have been added to the list of essential businesses

    Source: Written based on Executive Office press release

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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