COVID-19: Guidance for operating your business

Guidance for operating your business

National lockdown: Stay at Home rules are now in place across the country, which includes the closure or restricted operation of many businesses providing non-essential goods and services.

This includes certain retailers, hospitality, leisure, and entertainment premises.

Those providing essentials goods and services can continue to open, such as supermarkets, petrol stations, repairs shops, banks, funeral directors and laundrettes.

Please check this page for further details on operating within national lockdown rules.

Visit the Government website for the full guidance on the restrictions.

For everything you need to know about financial help available, please visit Covid-19 support for businesses and the self-employed.

Rules for retail and hospitality businesses

All non-essential retail and personal care businesses must close their premises during the national lockdown.

Supermarkets and shops or market stalls selling essential items such as food, household goods, medical or agricultural supplies can remain open.

Retailers can continue to operate with delivery or click and collect sales only. Hospitality businesses such as restaurants and cafes can provide food and non-alcoholic beverages through takeaway services until 11pm and delivery (alcohol is allowed to be sold through delivery only).

NHS Test and Trace

From Thursday 24 September all hospitality and leisure businesses are legally required to display a NHS QR code at the entrance and other businesses are also encouraged to display the codes. This is to allow customers to scan with the NHS Test and Trace app to record that they have been in the venue. You can create the unique QR code for your site online.

Whilst it is a legal requirement to display the QR code, people are not required to use it, so businesses will still need to take visitors’ details down when they come in if they don’t have access to the code.

Please note you will have to create a QR code for each site if you own multiple venues as each code is unique. Those that don’t comply with the new rules could be fined.

More about NHS Test and Trace

Compulsory face coverings

Face masks or coverings are now compulsory in indoor public spaces in England, including retail and leisure venues, taxis and public transport Staff in all retail and hospitality businesses must wear masks and patrons are also required to do so except when eating and drinking. Anyone who fails to comply with the rule could face a £200 fine for a first offence.

Further details on rules and guidance for wearing face coverings are outlined on the Government website.

Print and display in your premises

COVID-19 poster for business - Wear a mask in premises

Hospitality business helpline

If you have a specific Covid-19 related query and can’t find the information you need on our website, we have set up a dedicated hospitality business helpline to offer further support.

Call 020 7361 2161, Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and you’ll be connected to the right service to answer your query. We are here to support you and our local economy.

This line is purely for matters directly related to Covid-19. For standard service queries, you can find direct contact information on the relevant services webpages.

Kensington and Chelsea’s Covid-19 Guidance and Measures 2020/21

The Council will continue to support the recovery of businesses and their operation in line with Covid-19 regulations. You can find below some of our key measures and guidance for businesses as part of our key principles:

  • We will work to allow more use of outdoor space for businesses, managing space for pedestrians, and making application processes as easy as possible. Our approach to licensing has been adapted and we are willing to innovate.
  • We want to ensure that pedestrians can use pavements safely, in a way that complies with social distancing requirements.
  • Our Street Ambassadors will support these aims.
  • As advice and circumstances change, we will take an agile approach.
  • We will implement temporary, low cost and reversible highways interventions and respond, learn and adapt.

Tables and chairs licensing

Applying for a Pavement Licence

A Pavement Licence is a new, temporary licence that allows businesses to place tables and chairs and other street furniture on pavements and closed roads so that pedestrians can walk safely without being obstructed. With London being placed under Tier 2 High Covid risk restrictions, people from different households cannot meet up indoors. Groups of up to 6 people from different households can still meet outdoors so this licence can help you to bolster your outside dining and drinking provision to accommodate customers.

The Pavement Licence costs £100 and is available until 30 September 2021. For more information and how to apply visit the Apply for a pavement licence page.

Increasing the footprint

Some premises may want to place their tables and chairs further out onto the kerb or extend laterally in front of their premises and possibly adjacent to their premises, which you can do with the consent of the adjoining owner. In such cases, Street Ambassadors will work with you to ensure that they are not causing a dangerous obstruction. This is likely to mean that there should be 2.5m clear footway width for pedestrians to use, or as much as 3.5m on our busiest shopping streets. We need to avoid excessive encroachment onto the pavement, where walking on our streets becomes difficult, and the streets become unattractive to use. 

Converting parking bays to tables and chairs areas

Where premises have parking bays in front of them, and where traffic volumes aren’t high, we can consider suspending parking bays for use by cafes. Most premises are about one parking bay wide – some are bigger. We would consider granting up to two adjacent parking spaces if there is sufficient room, unless the adjacent premises also wishes to place tables and chairs in one of those spaces.

Supply of alcohol for customers who are in an outside area

We will make our processes as simple and quick as possible within the parameters of the Licensing Act legislation. You can apply online to vary your existing licence or request a new one. Visit our Licensing pages for more information.

Business and Planning Act 2020 – Off-Sales In Licensed Premises

Please note: This legislation is not currently applicable to businesses in areas under Tier 2 restrictions due to the limits for on-sales of alcohol in hospitality premises.

The Business and Planning Act 2020 temporarily modified the existing Licensing Act 2003 to allow premises already licensed for on-sales of alcohol prior to 22 July 2020 to also provide off-sales of alcohol to 11pm (now 10pm due to the curfew on hospitality businesses) or to the current time of their existing on-sales, if earlier. 

The measures also temporarily suspend existing licence conditions for premises already licensed for both on- and off-sales of alcohol if they restrict off-sales to an earlier time than the on-sales up to 11pm; restrict off-sales to being made in sealed containers; or restrict off-sales by way of deliveries.

The modifications will be in place until 30 September 2021.

If you are planning to take advantage of the new off-sales provision for your business, you’ll need to:

  • notify the Council as your licensing authority by email via;
  • if you are licensed for on-sales of alcohol only, prepare a ‘Section 172F’ statement  
  • if you are licensed for on- and off-sales of alcohol  and are relying on the provisions of section 172F(5) to temporarily suspend any conditions relating to off-sales during the relevant period,  prepare a ‘Section 172F(5)’ statement 
  • prominently display the statements at the premises alongside your premises licence summary, and keep under the control of the premises licence holder or nominated person. 

You can download the full guidance note and both statement forms on our premises guidance page to print off and display in your premises.

If you need any further advice you can  email our Licensing Team at:, or call us at 020 7341 5152.

If you don’t have a premises licence and are therefore not permitted to sell alcohol, you will either need to apply for a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) or a new premises licence. For any queries you may have about licensing and opening up your outside space, please call 020 7341 5152.

How you can help us

Deliveries and waste collectionTo balance the amenity of local areas and to ensure that we minimise traffic, we are asking businesses to consolidate deliveries, freight and waste collection arrangements. This will help keep noise disruption to a minimum, keep congestion down and improve air quality.

We need to ensure that we think carefully and act considerately when resuming trading so we don’t lose sight of our combined ambitions regarding the environment and climate change commitments.

Proposals on toiletsWe have reviewed the Government COVID guidance and can see no reason why existing toilet facilities inside licensed premises can’t be used by customers. On this basis, we don’t plan to provide additional facilities at this time. However, should the situation change then we are open to considering the provision of additional temporary toilets for patrons of businesses. In this circumstance, additional temporary toilets could be provided but please be aware that there would be a cost for landowners, or businesses, to enable this to happen. Additionally, businesses would be expected to provide marshalling of queues and to promote social distancing measures.

Marshalling and social distancing measuresThere may be a need for additional marshalling to take place in areas with a high concentration of people. This will help to ensure that people remain within the Government guidance on social distancing and limits on group gatherings, and to help with the security of your business. The Council has introduced Street Ambassadors to support with this, along with our Community Wardens, but landowners and businesses also have a responsibility to make customers aware of measures through appropriate signage, or through marshalling, or even both. We are here to support businesses with this where we can, and can provide pavement stencils and signage. Just get in touch with us

Queuing and social distancing advice

For businesses that are reviewing queuing arrangements, and taking account of government guidance and advice on social distancing measures, the below provides useful information. Key points to consider:

  • A collaborative approach between neighbouring shops, offices and other organisations will be required to ensure a safe and well managed environment.
  • Consideration should be given to the nature of the area, the immediate streetscape, and neighbouring premises including residential, retail, businesses, schools, health establishments and transport hubs, amongst others.
  • We would expect businesses to continually review their position as the situation develops and as people adapt to the new measures being implemented.
  • A queue management plan and full risk assessment of all elements should be undertaken, using Government guidance.

COVID-19 Posters for businesses to display 

COVID-19 poster for businesses - Closed

COVID-19 poster for businesses - Delivery Collection

COVID-19 poster for businesses - Entry

COVID-19 poster for businesses - Spacing


Health and safety measures All premises that have been vacant, particularly food businesses, will need to conduct a deep clean prior to opening. This includes checking the shelf life of all raw materials and products such as food, alcohol, medicines, and toiletries.

You should also check that all equipment is clean and operational and check for pest activity. Businesses that have been closed or operating with reduced staffing levels are at increased risk of legionella and other bacteria in your buildings’ water system so it is important to assess this before reopening. You can find out more information on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.

The Food Standards Agency has created a checklist to support food businesses to reopen safely after having been closed for an extended period of time during lockdown. You can ensure your businesses is ready to operate with the checklist on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website.

If you have specific queries you can email: or call 020 7361 3002.