BUSINESSES which work in people’s homes might be hit hard by the new lockdown because people do not realise they are allowed to keep operating.

That is the fear of the boss of a home help and cleaning business, who says the public may have got the message that “Lockdown 2” is the same as the first.

Samantha Acton, who founded the Domestic Angels franchise in Dorset, said the right message about the new restrictions was not getting through.

She said: “We can trade as normal. The government guidelines state that working in people’s homes can continue.

“I’m really keen for people to understand that it’s business as usual and that’s also the case for a lot of other businesses and trades.”

She said such businesses would not be entitled to the same government support.

The new restrictions contain exemptions for a host of businesses which were covered by the original lockdown, including services carried out in people’s homes.

The official guidelines to workers say: “Where it is necessary to work in other people’s homes – for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople – you can do so.

“The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if Covid-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.”

Also exempt are a host of businesses whose premises were closed under the first lockdown, including banks, dentists, chiropractors, dry cleaners and garden centres.

Samantha Acton said “If there’s an assumption that the lockdown is the same as it was last time, it’s going to have such an impact on those businesses and there won’t be funding to offset those costs.

“But unfortunately the message that’s coming out from the government is being received as ‘lockdown, lockdown, lockdown’.”

Her own business was only able to serve key workers and vulnerable clients during the first lockdown but can operate fully this time.

Speaking in the House of Commons earlier this week, Boris Johnson said: “While it pains me to call for such restrictions on lives, liberty and business, I have no doubt that these restrictions represent the best and safest path for our country, our people and our economy.

“So now is the time for us to put our differences aside and focus on the next four weeks, getting this virus back to its box.”