High Streets Initiative · 29 December 2020

COVID-19: Tier 4 restrictions & advice for retailers planning for 2021

Shop sign - "Closed due to COVID-19"
Under the Tier 4 restrictions non-essential shops, hairdressers and leisure and entertainment venues must close
Following the latest attempts to curb the spread of a new strain of coronavirus that is causing a surge in COVID-19 cases throughout the United Kingdom, the Government have announced the latest set of measures which includes Tier 4 restrictions for London, the south-east and east of England.

Under the Tier 4 restrictions non-essential shops, hairdressers and leisure and entertainment venues must close, with a new ‘stay at home? message being introduced. Karen Holden, CEO of A City Law Firm, explains more and offers advice to retailers planning for 2021.

For the third time this year, non-essential retailers were told to shut up shop from midnight on Sunday 20 December. The decision gave retailers less than 12 hours? notice.

This follows a bleak year for the high street, and retailers are urgently calling on the Government to step up financial support for affected businesses which have been forced to close in the last days before Christmas.

Many retailers rely on a last-minute rush to stores at what is normally the busiest trading period of the year.

Andrew Goodacre, the chief executive of the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA), that represents thousands of independent shops, commented that the closures in the south and south-east were a disaster for those businesses.

they have only been open for 17 days in the busiest month of the year and will now miss out on the festive period and new year sales. They need financial support that reflects what they have lost, and certainly better than the grants made available in November, many of which have not been paid.

He advised that BIRA believe closing down COVID-19-secure non-essential shops at this time of year will not deter people from going out and will only result in large crowds forming in those stores left to trade, giving greater opportunity for this virus to spread. BIRA therefore recommend that all shops are allowed to stay open until at least Christmas Day, but this was to no avail.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), concurred stating we recognise that the government has difficult decisions to make, and the situation with the pandemic is very fast moving, but this is hugely regrettable news. Retailers have invested hundreds of millions of pounds making stores COVID-secure for customers and staff, and SAGE’s advice has said throughout that closing non-essential retail has a minimal impact on the spread of the virus.

How long will the measures last?



Karen Holden is an award-winning solicitor and founder of A City Law Firm (ACLF), the go-to lawyers for entrepreneurs, startups, scale-ups, those seeking investment. In addition to being very successful lawyers for businesses , ICOs and family law, ACLF are now the UK's leading LGBT law firm and surrogacy specialists. Karen is a regular media commentator, panellist and event speaker.