Supporting our local businesses
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6. Operating safely during Covid-19
The Government is regularly updating its Working Safely during coronavirus guidance for businesses. There are currently 14 guides covering a range of different types of work - you may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep people safe.
Unfortunately, some businesses must remain closed to the public - these are detailed in the Closing certain businesses and venues in England guidance.
If you are able to now trade, please read the guidance from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health on avoiding Legionnaires Disease. HSE has also published practical advice and information about Legionella in the workplace.
Even if your business is not yet permitted to re-open, it is worth reading the new Operating safely guidance and considering how you would implement it in your workplace when you are able to re-open.
Businesses to display QR codes from Thursday 24 September
The NHS Covid-19 app launches this Thursday 24 September and certain businesses are being urged to download QR code posters in order to meet new Government requirements and support contract tracing.
The types of venues who are legally obliged to display a QR poster from Thursday are:
- Hospitality – bars, restaurants, hotels, cafes
- Tourism and Leisure – museums, galleries, gyms, leisure centres
- Close contact services – hairdressers, barbershops, tailors
- Local authority buildings – town halls for events, community centres, libraries
- Places of worship – including use for events and other community activities
- Where an event is taking place in a physical location
Business should download the QR poster here: https://www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster
Please note: while it is a legal requirement for the businesses above to display the QR poster, participation with the NHS Covid-19 app is entirely voluntary. Venues are required to provide an alternative way for customers who don’t have a smartphone or don’t wish to use the app to leave their details.
- Here is the full list of venues required to display the QR codes.
- This PDF highlights some top tips on how to display the QR poster.
- More information for businesses about the app can be found on the Covid-19 app website.
- The NHS Covid-19 app website also has an extensive FAQ.
Other measures from Thursday 24 September
Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants in England must only take bookings of no more than 6 people, ensure people are not meeting in groups of more than 6 people on their premises and make sure there is sufficient space between tables. These venues are legally required to enforce these rules or face a fine of up to £4,000. For more information, visit the Government website or read the official legislation.
Pubs, bars and restaurants must operate table-service only, except for takeaways
Hospitality venues must close at 10pm (which means closing, not last orders). The same will apply to takeaways, although deliveries can continue
The requirement to wear face coverings will be extended to include retail staff and staff and customers in indoor hospitality, except when seated at a table to eat or drink
Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations in retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors.
Test & Trace for businesses
Test and Trace is the system that enables the NHS to alert those who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus. Not only does this help stop the spread of the virus, it also provides information that will help an outbreak to be spotted as soon as it happens.
Play your part by following the Test and Trace guidelines to help slow the spread of the virus:
- Ensure employees self-isolate immediately if they have any Coronavirus symptoms and get tested straight away, as this needs to be done in the first five days of having symptoms.
- If an employee tests positive for Coronavirus, they should share the details of anyone they have been in contact with when contacted by NHS Test and Trace who will then advise individuals about self-isolating.
- Employees should self-isolate for 10 days if they have Coronavirus symptoms. If they have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace due to coming in close contact with a case, they must self-isolate for 14 days. This will help stop the spread in your workplace and community.
If you are made aware of more than one confirmed case of Coronavirus in your workplace (whether by employees, visitors or NHS Test and Trace), employers can contact PHE Surrey and Sussex’s Health Protection Team on 0344 225 3861 (Option 3) for help and advice. They will support you by assessing the risks and identifying the appropriate steps to take.
Downloadable action cards
Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace have also published downloadable ‘action cards’ in the event of one or more confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in a business or organisation.
The action cards provide instructions on what to do to help quickly identify, report and respond to any potential COVID-19 outbreak, and have been developed to cover a range of businesses and organisations, providing specific advice on the issues each type of organisation may face.
Follow visit the Government's website to find out more and download guidance by sector.
Need further support?
Our Environmental Health team can provide advice and support with understanding the new Government guidelines, as part of our health and safety at work function, in business premises where we are the enforcing authority. This includes:
- retail and wholesale distribution centres
- catering premises.
Other types of work activity or premises are regulated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Contact the Environmental Health team on 01737 276 417 or email [email protected].