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Businesses permitted to re-open


From Monday 29 March 2021

From Monday 29 March 2021, a limited number of settings will be permitted re-open, in line with the government roadmap. People can use these venues in a group of six people, or with members of up to two households.

Please refer to the government website for full guidance on re-opening.

Please also refer to the re-opening guidance for business booklets on our website for further information for different sectors.

If you would like to contact the council with a specific query about your business re-opening, please email Mid Kent Environmental Health Services via

The following businesses will be able to re-open, in line with government guidance:

Outdoor sports facilities such as:

  • gyms
  • swimming pools
  • sports courts (e.g. tennis and basketball courts)
  • golf courses including mini golf
  • water sports venues
  • climbing walls
  • driving and shooting ranges
  • riding arenas at riding centres
  • archery venues

Formally organised outdoor sport can open - this can include a larger number of participants, provided that appropriate steps are taken to make it COVID-Secure in line with the law. Indoor facilities, such as changing rooms, should not be used at this time, although toilet facilities can be accessed. At this stage, these gatherings must only include participants - not spectators.

Businesses eligible to host childcare and supervised activities for children will now be able to host all outdoor children’s activities. Parent-and-child groups for up to 15 people (not counting those aged under five) will also be able to take place outdoors.

From Monday 12 April 2021

Further settings will be permitted to open from Monday 12 April 2021, in line with the government roadmap. Unless a specific exemption exists, these must only be attended/ used in line with the wider social contact limits- as a single household or bubble indoors, or, in a group of 6 people, or, as 2 households outdoors.

Businesses that will be permitted to re-open from 12 April include:

Non- essential retail

This includes but is not limited to:

  • clothing stores and tailors
  • charity and antique shops
  • homeware and carpet stores
  • showrooms (for vehicles as well as kitchens and bathrooms)
  • electronic goods and mobile phone shops
  • florists and plant nurseries
  • retail travel agents
  • photography stores
  • remaining Auction Houses and markets
  • tobacco and vape shops
  • betting shops (subject to additional covid secure measures)
  • car washes (except automatic care washes which are already permitted to open)

Personal care facilities and close contact services

  • hair, beauty and nail salons
  • body and skin piercing services
  • tattoo studios
  • spas and massage centres (except steam rooms and saunas)
  • holistic therapy (including acupuncture, homeopathy and reflexology)
  • tanning salons

Indoor sports and leisure facilities

  • gyms and leisure centres
  • sports courts
  • swimming pools
  • dance studios and fitness centres
  • driving and shooting ranges
  • riding area
  • archery venues
  • climbing wall centres

You can exercise outdoors in a group of 6 or a larger group of any size from up to 2 households (including their support bubbles, if eligible).

Formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people can also take place. This must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take the required precautions, including the completion of a risk assessment. Contact should be avoided in training and, for some sports, avoid contact in all activities. Read the guidance on what avoiding contact means for your sport.

Outdoor hospitality

Hospitality premises may open to serve customers outdoors. This includes:

  • cafes and restaurants
  • pubs and bars
  • social clubs (including members clubs)

In venues that serve alcohol, customers must order, eat and drink while seated. In other venues, customers can order at a counter, but must eat and drink while seated. Some venues may wish to erect outdoor shelters. To be considered ‘outdoors’, shelters, marquees and other structures can have a roof but need to have at least 50% of the area of their walls open at all times whilst in use.

These venues may allow customers to use toilets located inside.

Only cafes and canteens in the following settings can remain open indoors:

  • hospitals, care homes, or where necessary to safeguard health in extra care schemes
  • schools and providers of post-16 education and training, such as further education colleges
  • university accommodation and on university campuses (where there is no practical alternative)
  • criminal justice accommodation and immigration detention centres
  • naval / military / air force or MOD facilities
  • workplace canteens
  • services providing food and/or drink to people experiencing homelessness can also remain open

For further information about which premises are required to close, please refer to our businesses required to remain closed page.

Self contained holiday accommodation

Self-contained holiday accommodation in which all facilities (including for sleeping, catering, bathing, and indoor lobbies and corridors for entry and exit) are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble can reopen.

All other holiday accommodation must remain closed. For further information about which premises are required to close, please refer to our businesses required to remain closed page. These venues can provide accommodation for a person in exceptional circumstances. Please refer to the government guidance on accommodation for further information.

Outdoor attractions

Indoor attractions at the following businesses must close, but outdoor attractions and spaces may open at:

  • sculpture parks
  • stately or historic homes, castles or other heritage sites
  • botanical gardens, including biomes or greenhouses
  • landmarks including observation decks and viewing platforms
  • aqua parks and water parks
  • theme parks
  • skating rinks (except for professional dancers or choreographers, elite sportspersons, access for fitness activity for persons with a disability, supervised activities for children, and for formal education and training)
  • trampolining parks (except for elite sportspersons, access for fitness activity for persons with a disability, supervised activities for children and for formal education and training)
  • games and recreation venues, including laser quest, escape rooms, paintballing and recreational driving facilities fairgrounds and fun fairs
  • adventure parks and activities (such as ziplining and obstacle courses)
  • aquariums, zoos, safari parks, and other animal attractions
  • museums and galleries (excluding retail galleries where the majority of the art on display is for sale)
  • model villages
  • visitor attractions at film studios

Visitor centres at these attractions must also remain closed, but this does not include toilets, or shops (that are permitted to open) where they can be accessed separately to the indoor attractions.

Those outdoor venues and attractions that are permitted to open can offer outdoor hospitality.

Please refer to our businesses required to remain closed page for further details of which businesses are not currently able to open.


Permitted venues, including exhibition and conference centres, can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training purposes, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted from home.

Event spaces, including in conference centres and exhibition halls, can also be used to provide socially beneficial public services such as Nightingale hospitals or food banks. People can only mix between households if an exemption applies - for example, if it is for work purposes, or voluntary or charitable purposes.

Some outdoor events, organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, can be organised, subject to specific conditions: that they comply with COVID-Secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, complete a related risk assessment; and ensure that those attending do not mix beyond what is permitted by the social contact limits (unless another exemption exists, such as for work purposes, or supervised activities for children).

Village fetes, fairgrounds, or literary fairs can be organised, provided people do not mix beyond groups of 6 people or two households. For further information please refer to the government guidance for organised events.

Indoor events or gatherings outside of someone’s household or support bubble are not permitted (even in a venue permitted to open) unless a specific exemption applies. This might include, for example:

  • for work purposes (where this cannot be done from home)
  • support groups
  • supervised activities for children and parent and child groups

Wedding ceremonies and civil partnerships, funerals and commemorative events such as wakes can also take place indoors. Social distancing guidance applies in all such cases. Wedding receptions may only take place outdoors.

Other venues

The following facilities can open but may be subject to coronavirus restrictions:

  • places of worship (communal worship is permitted, but social contact rules must be adhered to)
  • libraries, community centres and town and parish halls (indoor group activities must not go ahead unless an exemption applies)
  • burial grounds and crematoria
  • recycling and waste centres
  • car parks and public toilets

As well as specific exemptions as set out in their relevant section, any closed premises can open for the purposes of:

  • Enabling access by the site owners or managers, staff or people authorised by them (including volunteers) for maintenance where this is reasonably necessary. This may include exhibit maintenance, animal or plant feeding, or repairs. Other work to ensure readiness to open, such as receiving deliveries of supplies, may also go ahead.
  • Providing essential voluntary or public services (including the provision of food banks or other support to the homeless or vulnerable, hosting blood donation sessions, or support in an emergency).
  • Making a film, television programme, audio programme or audio-visual advertisement.
  • Voting or related activities (except for in closed shops).

Permitted businesses operating in otherwise closed attractions (such as a gift shop or a takeaway kiosk at a museum) may only open where they are a self-contained unit and can be accessed directly from the street.

Business sectors which are not mentioned on the list above are not able to re-open at this time. Please continue to check the government guidance on re-opening for further details.