Ensuring customers and staff are safe during COVID-19
The government's roadmap sets out how current restrictions will likely be lifted from 8 March 2021 onwards. Restrictions remain in place and enforced until new legislation and guidance is published.
Find out about business closure requirements and restrictions during the current period of lockdown.
The steps you should have in place include:
- a Covid-19 Risk Assessment
- social distancing measures
- clean more frequently, especially areas identified as being touched a lot
- ask staff to wash hands more frequently and provide sanitiser to staff and customers
- it is a legal requirements to wear a face covering indoors - remind staff and customers to wear them. A sign should be on display at the entrance to the premises asking customers to wear masks unless they have a medical exemption.
- ensure good ventilation (mechanical or natural)
- support Test and Trace by having a system in place to record all staff and contractors (not customers) for 21 days
- if a staff member has coronavirus symptoms they should be sent home to isolate and told to get a test. It is an offence to require staff to work if they have been told to isolate or tested positive.
Make sure everyone is social distancing 2 metres apart. This may include limiting the number of customers who can enter a premises at any one time.
If you are reducing the 2 metre social distancing separation between customers you will need additional steps:
- use plastic screens where necessary
- where screens are used between customers from different groups or households, separation can be reduced to 1m only if the screen is substantial, providing good separation lengthways and above head height
- where back-to-back seating is the only separation, we would expect separation to be at least 1.5m between customers
- side by side seating is not considered to offer substantial separation so must remain at 2 metres apart
When measuring distances, this is between customers and not measured table edge to table edge.
Controlling customers as they queue to enter, to leave or use the toilet must be considered and controlled. Floor markings, one-way systems and good signage must be in place and staff must be briefed in advance.
NHS Test and Trace
Update to requirements from March 2021
Venues are required by law to collect customer contact details. You must also now request that every customer provides contact details upon arrival to your premises, not just the lead member of the group.
You do not need to record contact details of children under the age of 16 and people entering the venue for drop off or takeaway.
This will assist NHS Test and Trace to contact everyone who may have been exposed to the virus during an outbreak in these settings and to provide the appropriate public health advice to help to stop the onward spread of the virus.
Details you need to record
The contact details that must be collected are:
- contact number (or failing that an email address, or failing that a postal address)
- date of visit
- arrival time
- departure time, if possible
What you must do at your venue
Before reopening your venue, you must:
- display an official NHS QR code poster and ask that customers and visitors check in to your premises
- provide an alternative system for recording contact details of customers who do not have the NHS Test and Trace app (this can include advance bookings where contact details are recorded)
- customers should only be asked to check in with either the NHS QR code, or by providing their contact details, but not both
- keep a record of staff contact details and shift times
- keep information securely for 21 days before destroying it, and provide it to NHS Test & Trace if requested
- hospitality venues: take reasonable steps to refuse entry to customers that won't participate
NHS Test and Trace will use contact tracing information to identify venues where other customers may have been exposed to COVID-19 and need to be contacted. If this happens, your venue will be contacted to request your logbook. Your venue will not automatically need to close, and will not be named when customers are contacted. Read further guidance on GOV.UK.
The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has produced guidance to ensure that you are GDPR compliant when collecting and storing contact details.
Guidance on safety in different settings
Dealing with waste from businesses
Whether your business is open or closed there is the duty to ensure that waste is disposed of properly by a licensed waste carriers. There have been some instances of business that have closed their doors without due consideration to waste that has remained on the premises during the period of lockdown or their waste contractor was unable to collect.
If food waste has been left then there may be a build-up of insect activity in the premises or vermin activity if not secured properly in lidded containers. You may need to bring in pest control contractors to eliminate or control this. Our website has information on pest control. If you don’t currently have or are looking to change your waste contractor, our Commercial Waste Team may be able to help.
When any buildings reopen after lockdown, it is essential that water systems are not put back into use without considering the risks of Legionnaires’ disease.
There is an increased risk of waterborne pathogens such as Legionella bacteria being present as a consequence of the conditions that lockdown may have created. These references provide guidance:
Further questions contact our Food, Safety and Port Health team.
We have the authority to deal with the health and safety issues arising from coronavirus in certain premises including shops, hotels, restaurants and pubs for example. For some businesses the Health and Safety Executive or other agencies are the appropriate body to contact instead. You can check by visiting the Health and Safety Executive website.