National Mourning – Guidance for Small Businesses

Mourning is a personal experience and individuals, families, communities and organisations will want to mark Her Majesty’s passing in their own way. But as we enter into an official period of National Mourning, what does this mean for you as a business?

What do I have to do?

There is no expectation on the public or organisations to observe specific behaviours during the mourning period. However, some events may be delayed or rescheduled. Premier League football matches have been postponed for this weekend which may have an impact on the number of people in the city, however most theatre shows are set to proceed and tourist attractions such as the city’s museums will remain albeit with a reduced events program during the National Mourning period.  

Do I have to close?

There is no obligation on organisations to suspend business during the National Mourning period, however, you may want to consider the tone of your events and communications. Businesses may wish to consider closing or postponing events, and it is likely that most public events will be canceled on the day of the State Funeral as a mark of respect – but again there is no mandated requirement to do so.

What do I say on social media?

There is no set way to mark the passing of Her Majesty on social media. Dignified silence is completely fine, however many businesses have chosen to put a tribute on their page. This is simply a matter of personal preference. 

Organisations may wish to review their planned content for the period and focus on a more neutral and respectful tone. Brands that use compassion and empathy will fare well, but it’s important not to overdo it as you may risk alienating some customers or seeming insincere. Trust your instinct and only post if it feels right for your business and your brand. 

Larger corporations have blacked-out their website homepages (including the M&S Bank Arena) as a mark of respect or changed their logo to black (including Liverpool One, BBC and The Echo). A large number of businesses are observing a social media break until September 12th as a way of paying their respects. ITV have confirmed that they are cancelling all TV advertising until further notice.  

Do I need to give my staff leave for the funeral?

Bosses won’t be forced to give employers a day off for the funeral of The Queen following her death. The day of the funeral will be a Day of National Mourning, but it will not be mandatory to close your business or give time off for this event. However, you should remain respectful to the wishes of your team, and you may wish to look at making changes to your rota for staff who wish to pay their respects on the day.

What shouldn’t I do?

It’s deemed to be in poor taste to commercialise or profit from the Queen’s death in any way. This would include specific products, deals or branding which is intended to increase sales. It would also be in poor taste to share memes or comedy sketches related to the Royal Family during the official mourning period. 

What changes do I need to make moving forward?

It is expected that the government will shortly announce two Bank Holidays to allow for National Mourning and the Coronation of King Charles. It is anticipated that most employers will grant these additional days to their staff, effectively increasing annual leave entitlements which may mean changes are required to your employment contracts. 

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