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 6 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.
From Monday 19 July 2021, we are now in Step 4 of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown. We will continue to update these pages as we review the guidance.
Businesses should continue to follow the principles set out in the Working Safely guidance. Employers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify.
Please take the time to review and ensure all necessary Covid-secure risk management measures are correctly implemented in your business.
The following are some of the key requirements:
- Complete or update your Covid-19 risk assessment to manage the risk of coronavirus in your business - it is a legal requirement to have one in place and to implemented the necessary control measures.
- Ensure self-isolation requirements are complied with. It is a criminal offence to allow an employee who you know is required to self-isolate to come to your premises to work. Read the NHS Test and Trace In The Workplace guidance for more information.
- Turn staff and customers with coronavirus symptoms away.
- Face coverings are no longer required by law. However, the Government expects and recommends that people continue to wear face coverings in crowded, enclosed spaces. Consider encouraging, for example through signage, the use of face coverings by customers and workers, particularly in indoor areas where they may come into contact with people they do not normally meet. This is especially important in enclosed and crowded spaces.
- From Step 4, social distancing is no longer legally required and there are no limits on social contact between people from different households, including in hospitality settings. However, your risk assessment should still consider how you will manage the risks from Covid-19 infection, and you should follow the principles set out in the Working Safely guidance.
- If you have introduced outdoor shelters, marquees and other structures, remember that to be compliant with Smoke-free legislation, i.e. if you want people to be allowed to smoke in them, if they have a roof, they need to have at least 50% of the area of their walls open at all times whilst in use.
- Hospitality venues are encouraged to display an official NHS QR code poster. Although it’s not legally required to do so, this will support NHS Test and Trace to contact those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 so that they can book a test. You can generate an NHS QR code poster online to enable individuals to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app. You should also have a system in place to record contact details for those who do not have the app. Further guidance can be found on the Government's website.
- Clean more often and ask staff (and customers) to wash hands frequently. Encourage customers to use hand sanitiser as they enter the premises.
- Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open, where possible, and running ventilation systems at all times. Government guidance on ventilation can be found here.
It is your legal responsibility to ensure you are up to date with the latest regulations, guidance, and advice. Further details can be found on the Government website.
Information about the current restrictions and how they apply in different settings:
- Shops, branches and close contact services
- Community halls
- Hospitality businesses
- Places of worship
- Sports clubs - Grassroots sports guidance for the public and sport providers
Test & Trace for businesses
The Government has published guidance explaining how employers and businesses can support NHS Test and Trace and play their part to slow the spread of the virus, protect the health and care system and save lives.
Need further support or have concerns?
Our Environmental Health team continue to provide advice and support with understanding the 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
- hair, beauty and skin piercing premises.
Other types of work activity or premises are regulated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
If you have concerns about how Coronavirus control measures are being applied in a business where we are the enforcing authority, you can also report these to our Environmental Health team who will investigate and provide support to the premises to improve compliance.
Contact the Environmental Health team on 01737 276 417 or email [email protected].
The Council is unable to assist with coronavirus issues relating to individuals, such as a customer not wearing a face covering in premises that wish to retain this precaution.