Advice, support and information for businesses

Business closures

The following businesses must remain closed:

  • Public houses
  • Cinemas
  • Theatres
  • Nightclubs
  • Bingo halls
  • Concert halls
  • Museums and galleries
  • Casinos
  • Betting shops
  • Amusement arcades
  • Spas
  • Massage parlours
  • Indoor skating rinks
  • Indoor fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres

Additionally, the following must not sell food or drink for consumption on their premises:

  • Restaurants, including restaurants and dining rooms in hotels or members clubs
  • Bars, including bars in hotels or members’ clubs
  • Cafes, including workplace canteens

The only exceptions being:

  • Cafes or canteens at a hospital, care home or school
  • Prison and military canteens
  • Services providing food or drink to the homeless
  • Takeaway and delivery facilities can remain open and operational. Delivery is better as it prevents groups of people gathering unnecessarily.

The government’s guidance on staying at home, provides full guidance on the government’s announcement made on 23 March 2020 and the list of businesses and premises expected to close.

A guide to securing business premises during periods of closure

The following security considerations are designed to help protect businesses that are remote or may be deemed to contain items of high value or demand, or have plant, tools or vehicles on site, which could make them a target for thieves. Security must be pre-planned and site specific. Whether you have an industrial unit on a business park or a corner shop in a village, these steps will help you to review your business security.

Staff and Site Specifics

If a business is closed, people may assume that only a few – if any – staff will be on site. Businesses with monitored alarms or a security presence are likely to be more secure. Ensure a ‘locking down’ procedure is used with a clear line of responsibility.

Lone working

Make sure processes for any staff on site, either working or checking security, meet and adhere to a current lone working policy. Lone worker devices can be used if they meet BS 8484:2016, and are IP67 rated.


Check boundary treatments, repair any damage, and (if possible and safe to do so) check the external side of the boundary to ensure that no fixings are missing or worn.

Make sure there are no recessed or secluded areas that could be used for gaining access, hiding tools in, or hiding stolen items for later collection. Leaving external lighting on will help deter criminals, especially if CCTV is clearly signed and in use.

Ensure there are no vehicles, bins or equipment left against the perimeter treatment that could be used for climbing. Legal, temporary measures to secure your boundary treatment should be considered. Fill footholds that allow climbing. Where possible, make sure vehicles cannot be parked too close to the perimeter to enable climbing. Spiked collars make climbing a lamp columns or down pipes more difficult, and angled extensions, fans, anti-clime paint and fence toppers (at 2m) can help deflect climbers.

Tools, plant and machinery

Remove all tools including ladders which could be stolen or used to break into your business. If you cannot remove them, hide and secure them with ground anchors, suitable chains and padlocks.

If possible, security mark items, use DNA systems, or paint them a bright colour, with your corporate name or logo. Lock valuable materials such as cable, metals, boilers and white goods in secure stores, ideally with lighting, an alarm and CCTV. Accurate records of equipment owned or hired with serial/registration numbers can help identify stolen plant and machinery.

Physical structure

Ensure all doors, door frames, locks and windows are in good repair. Make good any defects. If replacing glass, use laminated whenever possible. Security grilles should have no gaps around them and no handles or fixings left exposed that could be used to gain access. Grilles and shutters must be in good working order with no gaps beneath them. Appropriate glazing, for example laminated, should meet the current Secured by Design commercial guidance.

If your business is in a listed building, please note, these require specialist treatments and certain consents prior to work starting so check with the local authority before planning work.


Ensure your signage has contact details where any concerns can be reported to. Do not give an opening date unless you have adequate security and capable on-site security staff.

Regular checks and maintenance

If you can safely visit to check the business (within relevant health restrictions and guidelines), ensure that any damage is repaired immediately to limit access opportunities and show the business is being monitored – see lone working above.


If gates have gaps underneath that can be crawled under, add suitable non-flammable items to fill the gap. Gates should be fixed so they cannot not be lifted off their hinges. If any fixings must be external, the bolt/screw heads should be ‘burred’ off. Any holes for access control need a security cowling or to be filled to avoid creating a foothold. Padlocks should be in good working order, of disc design, closed shackle or shrouded. Long shackle padlocks must be avoided.


Criminals might assume you are storing sought-after goods, so ensure any storage areas are secured fully. Check rear access routes, door and window security (ground level and reachable) and roofs.


Ensure alarms work and are ideally monitored, with a suitable policy for authorised people close by to check immediately if they are triggered. If installing a new system, consider check if the supply and fitting companies meet Secured by Design standards.


These should be sited in the centre of a compound to allow better surveillance and ensure they are less likely to be used for climbing.
Tracking systems notify staff if the machinery is being interfered with or moved, so the security staff can alert the police. They also make plant less attractive to thieves.

Vans should be parked backing onto each other to help protect rear door access. Many tested and approved security products can delay and deflect vehicle crime – see SBD website for details. Remove keys and use locking mechanisms and anti-theft devices when vehicles, plant and machinery are not in use. Plant and machinery should be stored in a secure compound, either chained to immovable objects, ground anchors or each other when not in use. Break throttle locks are also recommended.

Mail delivery

Mail should be redirected to avoid a build-up that could become a fire hazard or show how often the business is visited and checked. For details of an approved, compliant and TS009 certified letterbox, visit the Secured by Design website. Home working: If working from home, please check your home security, including access, and make sure that doors and windows lock properly. Avoid leaving computers or equipment in plain sight through a window or in a vehicle.

Further information

Secured by Design is a police initiative which provides guidance on designing out crime and crime prevention.

Sold Secure is owned and run by the Master Locksmiths Association, a not-for-profit trade association, which offers a selection of approved products.

For more crime prevention advice visit Sussex Police.

Available support for businesses and employees is outlined at the government site.

On 11 March, the 2020 Budget announced a series of measures to provide support for businesses affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. These measures include business rates and some business rate bills already sent out will have
to be revised. Find out more about the new business rate support measures. 

If you are having trouble persuading customers to social distance, here’s a helpful poster  to get the message across.

Please also visit the East Sussex business growth hub.

Two helpful fact sheets from Let’s do Business  and Locate East Sussex.

What support is there?

Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

Businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors in England will not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year. Businesses that received the retail discount in the 2019-20 tax year will be rebilled by their local authority as soon as possible.
More information on Business Rates Holiday for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure.

Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure

If your business is in the retail, hospitality or leisure sector in England, you will receive a cash grant of up to £25,000 per property. Businesses in these sectors with a rateable value of under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Businesses with a rateable value of between £15,001 and £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000.
More information on Cash Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure.

In order to receive your grant, we will need to check your eligibility and obtain details of where to make your payment. Please complete the online covid-19 grant form and we will contact you as soon as possible regarding payment. First payments will commence to businesses early next week (6 April). 

Small Business Grant Funding

The Government is providing additional funding for Local Authorities to support small businesses in England that already pay little or no business rates because of small business rate relief (SBRR), rural rate relief (RRR) and tapered relief. This will provide a one-off grant of £10,000 to eligible businesses to help meet their ongoing business costs.
More information on Small Business Grant Funding.

In order to receive your grant, we will need to check your eligibility and obtain details of where to make your payment. Please complete the online covid-19 grant form and we will contact you as soon as possible regarding payment. First payments will commence to businesses early next week (6 April). 

Support for the Self-Employed

The Government has set up a Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Those eligible to apply will be contacted directly by HMRC. Individuals do not need to contact HMRC now and doing so will only delay the urgent work being undertaken to introduce the scheme.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Under the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers with a PAYE scheme will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis. This applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, otherwise described as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of their wages, up to £2,500 per month. This is to safeguard workers from being made redundant. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1st and is initially open for 3 months, but will be extended if necessary.
More information on Small Business Grant Funding.

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate

The Government will bring forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for staff sickness absence due to coronavirus. This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of coronavirus.
More information on Statutory Sick Pay Rebate.

Support for sports clubs

Sport England has announced a grants package for the sports sector.

Support for arts organisations

The Arts Council has made grant funding available for arts organisations and individual artists

Business Rates Holiday for Nurseries

Nurseries in England do not have to pay business rates for the 2020-21 tax year.
More information on Business Rates Holiday for Nurseries.

VAT Deferral

The Government will support businesses by deferring Valued Added Tax (VAT) payments for 3 months.
More information on VAT Deferral

Income Tax Deferral for the Self-Employed

If you are self-employed, Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021.
More information on Income Tax Deferral for the Self-Employed

Time to Pay

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.
More information on Time to Pay.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

This scheme will help businesses affected by coronavirus to access bank lending and overdrafts if they need to. For loans up to £5 million, the Government is providing a guarantee of 80% for each loan. This will give lenders the confidence to continue to provide finance to businesses. The Government will not charge businesses or banks for this guarantee.
More information on Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility

The new Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF) means that the Bank of England will buy short-term debt from larger companies. This will support companies which are fundamentally strong, but have been affected by a short-term funding squeeze. It will also support corporate finance markets overall and ease the supply of credit to all firms. The scheme will be funded by central bank reserves – in line with other Bank of England market operations. It will operate for at least 12 months, and for as long as steps are needed to relieve cash flow pressures on firms that make a material contribution to the UK economy.
More information on Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility.