Support and advice for business

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging time for businesses. We want to support Plymouth businesses and have pulled together the information, guidance and resources available to help businesses plan, reopen and operate COVID-19-securely, as well as deal with any COVID-19-related issues such as an outbreak within the workplace.

Current rules and restrictions on opening

There are some businesses that have to remain closed under current Government rules. You can check whether your businesses can reopen on the GOV.UK website.

There are some important changes announced by the Government in September that affect many businesses.

Businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, and adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls, must now be closed between 10pm and 5am. This includes take-aways, but delivery and drive-thru services can continue after 10pm.

In both indoor and outdoor licensed premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table. Licensed and unlicensed businesses must also take all reasonable steps to ensure that the customer remains seated whilst consuming the food or drink on the premises. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can continue beyond 10pm, but only if the performance started before 10pm, and food and drink cannot be served after 10pm.

From 28 September, businesses and organisations will face stricter rules to make their premises COVID-19 secure:

  • A wider range of leisure and entertainment venues, services provided in community centres, and close contact services will be subject to COVID-19 Secure requirements in law and fines of £1,000, and rising up to £10,000 for repeated breaches.
  • Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.
  • Businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where mandated.

Size of groups in venues

Venues following COVID-19 Secure guidelines can host more than six people in total, but no one should visit in a group of greater than six (unless they are all from the same household or support bubble).

Wearing face coverings

Customers in hospitality venues must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. Staff in hospitality and retail are now also be required to wear face coverings.

People who are already exempt from the existing face covering obligations, such as because of an underlying health condition,  continue to be exempt from these new obligations.

Guidance stating that face coverings and visors should be worn in close contact services is now law.

Requirements to support Test and Trace

A range of businesses and venues are now required to display QR code posters that work with the NHS Test and Trace app.

The posters make it easier for firms to meet their legal duty to collect contact details of people using their premises so they can be contacted in the event of a coronavirus outbreak.

The posters need to be displayed at entrances and customers just have to scan the code with their smart phones to check in. The phone app and QR code poster create a digital record that they visited that venue at that time.

Premises that need to collect data are:

  • hospitality, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés
  • tourism and leisure, including hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks
  • close contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors
  • facilities provided by local authorities, including town halls and civic centres for events, community centres, libraries and children’s centres
  • places of worship, including use for events and other community activities

It does not apply to those premises where a service is supplied and goods are taken off site immediately, e.g. a food and drink outlet providing a takeaway.

Businesses and venues should visit the Government website to create a QR code.

Safe workplaces

All businesses and workplaces should be COVID-19-secure and follow the guidelines set out by Government. The Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines cover 14 separate guides for different ways of working. The Better Business for All (BBFA) partnership has also produced a Risk Assessment Toolkit which includes a template risk assessment document that you can use to record your control measures.

The Heart of the South West Growth Hub has produced a number of resources to help support business readiness and resilience. This includes guidance from the Better Business for All (BBFA) partnership: COVID-19 Re-opening after a closure checklist. 

Our Public Health Team are here to help too, if you have any concerns, issues or questions please email

Action cards – prevention and outbreak management in the workplace

As part of the Plymouth’s Local Outbreak Management Plan, sector specific ‘action cards’ are being drawn up to clearly set out preventative measures and actions that need to take place if you suspect there is a potential outbreak in the workplace. The action cards will be published here and issued to businesses across the city.

Invest Plymouth

Our Invest Plymouth website provides overall support and guidance to our businesses. It includes information on support available to businesses, including specific coronavirus guidance and advice for employers and sector specific guides.

Support and grants for businesses

All up-to-date information can be found on the GOV.UK website. For a full FAQ on business grants from Plymouth City Council please visit the Invest Plymouth website.

Resurgam – economic recovery

Resurgam is Plymouth’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan and sets out our proposals for reducing the impact of COVID-19 and our plans to deliver a more equal, sustainable and prosperous city post-COVID-19.

Advice hotline

We are here to help.

If you have any issues, concerns or need advice on Coronavirus please email the Public Health Team at or call 01752 668000.

We are here to support and work with our residents and businesses. It is important that we all work together to keep our city safe.

Keep up to date 

We send a regular email newsletter covering Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice and information for local businesses.