Lockdown and Social Distancing

Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interaction between people to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

From 4 July the 2m distancing rule is being reduced to 1m plus and people will also be allowed to meet with one other household at a time indoors, subject to social distancing. Some businesses will also be able to reopen.

On 1 August the government will update its advice on going to work, asking employers to make decisions about how and where their staff can work safely.

From September, schools, nurseries and colleges will be open for all children and young people on a full-time basis, while universities are also working to reopen as fully as possible.

From October, the government intends to allow audiences to return to stadiums, while conferences and other business events can recommence.



Businesses that can reopen to the public

The venues listed as being able to reopen include:

  • Pubs, bars and restaurants but only with a table service indoors, and owners will be asked to keep contact details of customers to help with contact tracing.
  • Hotels, holiday apartments, campsites and caravan parks but shared facilities must be cleaned properly
  • Theatres and music halls but they will not be allowed to hold live performances.
  • Hair salons and barbers.
  • Libraries, community centres and bingo halls.
  • Cinemas, museums and galleries.
  • Funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks, amusement arcades, skating rinks and model villages.
  • Indoor attractions where animals are exhibited, such as at zoos, aquariums, farms, safari parks and wildlife centres.
  • Gyms, pools and other sports facilities.
  • Performing arts can take place outdoors with a socially distanced audience.
  • Spas, nail bars and beauty salons.
  • Massage, tattoo and piercing parlours.

Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment and are confident they are managing the risks.

Find out which restaurants and pubs are reopening around Marble Arch and Edgware Road here.


  • Westminster City Council has published guidance for pubs, bars and restaurants in response to questions they have received and to highlight any other information that may be useful. You can find them on the Council’s website here. Westminster published a licensing update on 24 July.
  • Guidance on reduced VAT rate for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions can be found here.
  • You can find out more about the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme here.
  • Test & Trace guidance: Organisations in certain sectors should keep a temporary record of customers and visitors for 21 days and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. Full guidance can be found here.
  • TfL have spoken with many leisure and hospitality businesses and as a result have developed a short briefing for hospitality businesses.
  • Updated guidance for all workplace settings can be found here.


Businesses that must remain closed to members of the public

The following places will remain closed:

  • Nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques
  • Casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and remaining close contact services
  • Exhibition halls or conference centres must remain closed for events such as exhibitions or conferences, other than for those who work for the business or organisation who run the venue. From October, the government intends to allow audiences to return to stadiums, while conferences and other business events can recommence.

Social distancing 

Retail and public premises which remain open must:

  • Ensure a distance of two meters between customers and shop assistants (From 4 July the 2m distancing rule is being reduced to 1m plus.)
  • Let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not crowded.
  • Queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that remain open.

While our business members and partners are busy taking care of internal social distancing arrangements, the BID has led on the external environment. By the 1 June, we installed over 250 queue markers for more than 70 businesses, in over 100 different locations.

We canvassed as many businesses as possible and were delighted with the take-up, as businesses grapple with the new social distancing challenges inside their premises and the external queues that this creates. Every business in receipt of our purple queue markers benefited from an advance site survey and discussion with our team about queue direction and length. Neighbouring businesses were able to collaborate on queue direction, to prevent queue collision and entry blocking.

Westminster City Council has also published guidance on queue management to support businesses reviewing queuing arrangements for their respective premises.

Failure to hold an appropriate SIA licence where required to do so is a criminal offence contrary to the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

The SIA have produced a useful document, Advice to Retailers Hiring Additional Staff to Manage Queues, which provides guidance as to licensing requirements.

Find out more about queue management with social distancing here.

We also invited businesses from a variety of sectors to join us on 6 May 2020 for a virtual discussion on social distancing. You can read our findings here.

Social distancing at The Hilton London Metropole