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COVID-19 and EM3

Last updated 12 October 2020
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To view our latest EM3 COVID-19 Business Briefing, go here.
An archive of our bulletins can be found here. To access all the government's business support, go here.

The Prime Minister has set out how the government will further simplify and standardise local rules by introducing a three tiered system of local COVID Alert Levels in England.

The “medium” alert level - which will cover most of the country - will consist of the current national measures, which came into force on 25 September. This includes the Rule of Six, and the closure of hospitality at 10pm.

Local COVID Alert Level - Medium

  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
  • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am.
  • Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed
  • People must not meet in groups larger than six, indoors or outdoors

Local COVID Alert Level - High

This is for areas with a higher level of infections. This means the following additional measures are in place:

  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

Local COVID Alert Level - Very High

This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The government has set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level which includes the below. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures. 

  • Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
  • Wedding receptions are not allowed
  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The Rule of Six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches.
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.


The government has developed a tool to help businesses to reopen safely (COVID-secure). This tool encourages businesses to carry out a risk assessment and helps to identify the workplace adjustments that they should make. 

Employers have the legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site, such as customers and visitors. This tool will help businesses to easily find out what they should do. Employees can also use this tool to check what their workplace needs to do to keep people safe. The tool can be found here.



    You can find out what financial support your business is entitled to, using the government's toolkit here.

    If you would like to find out more about the advice services offered by the government and HMRC to support businesses, please go here

    If you would like to find out about the sector specific support which is available, go here.




    The Cabinet Office have produced guidance around the frequently asked questions around the coronavirus outbreak that businesses might like to share with their employees. Find more information here.

    You can find a list of contact details for the government's business support and HMRC here. You can also access a range of business videos and webinars on a range of topics.

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