Impact on society and economic activity

We do not expect to see a significant impact on UK society or economic activity in February 2020 data. This period should be referred to as “before restrictions were applied in the UK”.

There is likely to be a significant impact on UK society and economic activity in March and April 2020. This will affect the data for Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2020 and Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2020. There are likely to be multiple effects, particularly on retail, the economy, travel, education and deaths data.

Retail and the economy

People were advised to “avoid” bars, restaurants and other indoor leisure venues on 16 March 2020 in the Prime Minister’s coronavirus statement.  They were subsequently closed temporarily from 20 March 2020 across the UK. This should be referred to as “measures to close entertainment, hospitality and indoor leisure premises”. They have remained closed since lockdown was applied on 23 March 2020, although some are still operating by providing food delivery services or other services.


Schools were closed on 20 March 2020 in each country of the UK, with guidance produced by England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These changes should be referred to as “guidance for schools, childcare providers, colleges and local authorities to close schools to most children”.


Travel may have been affected in February 2020. Statements can reference the “evolving situation around the world”.

Non-essential travel abroad was banned from 17 March 2020 across the UK. This should be referred to as “advice against all non-essential travel abroad”. For more information see the statement on Travel advice against all non-essential travel abroad.

All non-essential travel was banned on 23 March 2020 when the UK lockdown was announced.