To send someone home - with no work and usually without pay. If the furlough is Coronavirus related then the Government will pay a grant equal 80% of normal salary up to £2,500 pcm to fund the salary.
Yes you have to close to the public - unless it is one of those regarded as essential e.g. food, medicine, off-licence, hardware.
You do not need to close the premises to employees provided that you are satisfied that they cannot work exclusively from home. As an employer you will required to ensure that appropriate social distancing can be maintained - i.e. not working within 2m of any other employee.
For many businesses this may mean that in practice only one person should be working on-site at any time. websters are typically arranging for each office to be opened to check for post etc but with only one person in the building at any one time. Since HMRC have not stopped writing to us by post then we have to open to check for that correspondence and scan to the team at home.
The guidance has been clarified in the light of much online speculation.
If the director is doing any work related to the business then as for any employee they will not qualify to be furloughed. However, if there is no work to be done for a director then it is now confirmed that performing the statutory duties of a director e.g. filing accounts and tax returns can be undertaken by someone furloughed.
Even if you are the sole director you can still be furloughed.
In practice for many directors of small companies they are unlikely to have been drawing a large enough salary to be able to make a significant claim. However, perhaps every little helps. If you take a salary of £8,000 per year (topped up by dividends) then you can only claim 80% of one twelfth of that amount each month for the furlough.
It appears that when first announcing the guarantee scheme the government assumed that no personal guarantees would be required - since to do so made the scheme largely pointless - whereas the banks assumed that there would be personal guarantees - since that is what they always want for small limited companies.
However, on loans up to £250,000 it is now explicit that there will be no personal guarantees and hence largely no security for the banks - beyond the 80% which the government is giving as a guarantee.
Above that amount the personal guarantee cannot be secured on your home.