Navigating the roadmap out of lockdown

Stage 1 of the roadmap out of lockdown helped get children back into school, which indirectly helped SMEs by increasing productivity of parents working from home, and by reducing the need to furlough working parents for childcare reasons.

What does the roadmap out of lockdown mean for small business owners?

The Government’s plan to reopen businesses

Stage 2: April

From 12th April, England could move into Stage two of the lockdown plan, in which some businesses can reopen:

  • Non-essential retail
  • Restaurants and pubs (outdoor table service only)
  • Gyms and spas
  • Indoor play activities for children (limited numbers of adults)
  • Hairdressers, beauty salons all close contact beauty services
  • UK holiday accommodation can reopen to members of the same household
  • Zoos and theme parks

Stage 3: May

From 17th May, if the four conditions* for easing restrictions have been met, even more businesses can reopen:

  • Restaurants and pubs (indoor table service only)
  • Theatres, cinemas, indoor children’s play areas
  • Hotels, hostels, B&Bs
  • Performances and larger events (reduced capacity)
  • International leisure travel
  • Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes

Stage 4: June

From 21st June, this stage will see the removal of limits on social contact. This means:

  • Nightclubs reopen
  • Wedding venues, festivals, conferences can hold events without limitations

What do Stages 2, 3 and 4 mean for small business owners, and for our borrowers?

Timescales, albeit tentative ones, allow businesses to plan. With a plan to move forward, business owners can once again be hopeful and proactive.

While it could be a good few months until all restrictions are lifted, timescales allow suppliers to be booked for events down the line, possibly receiving deposits for future services and provisions. This could be key to a small business’ survival.

The Early May Bank Holiday on the 3rd of May will mean pub beer gardens and outdoor seating in restaurants could be full again, whatever the weather! Businesses which have reopened in Stage 3 will see the benefit of the Spring Bank Holiday on the 31st of May, including B&Bs offering long weekends away and restaurants with indoor table service.

Eid occurs during Stage 2, which should serve as a boost for those businesses open at this point, like non-essential retail and beauty services.

Holiday bookings (and airline prices!) have surged since the roadmap was announced, which provides hope for those businesses that rely on tourism and especially the summer holidays for revenue. (Source: BBC News) It’s great to see that the British still want to travel and take holidays this year.

Personal care services will be allowed to reopen when hairdressers reopen, which marks a change in policy from previous lockdown exit strategies. This is beneficial for manicurists and salons offering beauty treatments, such as borrower EJP Beauty.

With business borrowers varying across a wide range of industries, some industries will not be terribly impacted, such as Taylor Made Property Management, whereas others, such as Blanco & Gomez Wine Merchants might regain previous sources of income; for Blanco & Gomez, this is most notably their supply of wine to corporate events.

We would like to wish our borrowers, and SMEs across the UK, the best over the next few months. #youcandoit!

* Moving into the subsequent stage is dependent on vaccinations continuing as planned, fewer people dying or requiring hospital treatment, low infection rates, and new variants not changing risk levels.

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