Government puts merchant showrooms on lockdown ‘naughty’ list

Despite builders and plumbers merchants being deemed ‘essential businesses’ during the second UK lockdown, and therefore allowed to remain open, this does not extend to showrooms, the Government has confirmed in further guidance.

Non-essential businesses must close, and that includes showrooms open to the public for products used in homes, including bathrooms, kitchens and glazing.

The updated guidance does not affect construction sites, manufacturers, storage & distribution facilities or builders merchants without showrooms.

The BMF has issued the updated guidance to its members, with the statement “We are fully aware that changing guidance midway through a lockdown, particularly after clarification was sought on this specific issue, is not helpful and have specifically requested that this does not happen in future.”

The full guidance is here; key points are:

Hardware stores and builders merchants (such as tools, timber, paint, plumbing and glass) can remain open. Where these stores contain showrooms in distinct sections, the showroom area should be closed to the public.
Showrooms for products used in homes, including bathrooms, kitchens and glazing should be closed to the public.
All businesses may continue to offer delivery and click and collect services (where items are pre-ordered and collected without entering the premises). People can also leave home to collect or return orders from these businesses.
Premises are not closed to staff or other authorised personnel needed to maintain them, secure them, or to prepare them to reopen
Tradespersons who need to visit other people’s homes for their work can continue to do so and should follow the safer working guidance

Merchants with any questions should contact Richard Ellithorne at

bathroom showroom generic low res
Merchants’ bathroom showrooms must close, although their trade counters may remain open, according to the Government’s latest guidance.

plumbing trade counter generic low res


About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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