COVID secure business advice
Do you have coronavirus concerns in a business environment? It is vital that you take action quickly to prevent the transmission of the virus. Make sure you understand the steps you need to take to keep everyone as safe as possible.
The information below – aimed at business owners, employees, and customers – will tell you what you need to do in the event of a potential coronavirus outbreak.
National guidance and legislation is constantly changing – so remember to regularly check the areas relevant to you, and your business, for the latest developments.
The government has announced that there will be additional restrictions, affecting businesses from multiple sectors, across the country.
How will this affect your business?
- Hospitality, leisure and entertainment venues are required to close between 10pm to 5am
- These venues cannot stay open if licensable activity ceases
- Businesses may provide delivery services between 10pm and 5am
- Table service only in hospitality settings - customers must only consume food and drink while seated in the premises (where outdoor seating is made available adjacent to the premises this is to be treated as part of the premises of that business)
- Tables should be appropriately spaced to enable social distancing
- Take-away orders can continue to be made at a counter or bar
- Customers must wear a face covering in a range of indoor premises, including hospitality venues (bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes), except when eating or drinking
Additional Warrington measures
From Saturday 3 October, new regulations around social contact in Warrington and other specific areas of the country came into force.
Hospitality venues must now take reasonable steps to ensure:
- bookings are not accepted, or customers admitted onto the premises if:
- groups include more than one household and support bubble if they will be located indoors
- groups include more than one household and support bubble, or more than six people if the group includes multiple households, if they will be located outdoors
- customers do not join other groups inside the premises (including outdoor areas such as beer gardens)
If you're a business owner, you can be fined by the council or the police if you fail to fulfill the obligations set out in law. This includes ensuring that:
- people do not meet in your premises with people outside of their household or support bubble
- tables are appropriately spaced
- loud music isn’t played
How to report cases of coronavirus in your organisation
COVID-19 early outbreak management information has been created to ensure people who run businesses or organisations:
- know how to recognise and report cases of coronavirus
- are aware of measures that may need to be taken in order to contain it
The government and Public Health England have produced guidance for businesses, and outbreak 'action cards' for specific settings.
NHS Test and Trace
Premises and venues across England must have a system in place to record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff to support NHS Test and Trace. For more information, view the government's guidance on maintaining records on their website.
From Thursday 24 September, certain venues will be legally required to display NHS QR posters. This includes all venues from the following sectors:
- leisure and tourism
- close contact services
- places of worship
- local authority venues
How to report coronavirus safety concerns in your workplace
If you're concerned that your employer isn't following the national guidance, and that your workplace doesn't have appropriate COVID secure safety measures in place, you could speak to the person in charge of the venue, your employer, your union or employee representative.
You can also report it to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Call 0300 790 6787 or highlight it to the HSE online.
How to report coronavirus safety concerns in a business environment
If you're concerned that a local business isn't following the national guidance, and doesn't have appropriate COVID secure safety measures in place, you can report it to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Call 0300 790 6787 or highlight it to the HSE online.
If you still have concerns, you can report any issues to us
Is your business COVID secure?
You must work through the government’s guidance on working safely to make your workplace COVID secure.
The guidance looks at five areas:
- Risk assessments
- Hand washing
- Working from home
- Social distancing
- What to do when you can’t social distance
The government website also provides more detailed guidance, and has sector specific information, which is being updated regularly.
This includes guidance for:
- Offices, shops and call centres
- Close contact services such as hairdressers
- Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services
- Factories, plants and warehouses
The Health and Safety Executive also offer advice to businesses by calling 0300 790 6787 lines are open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 8pm or you can request advice online.
Are you a food business (including Foodbanks and community cooking)?
As well as checking the you are adhering to the guidance on the government's website, the Food Standard Agency has a checklist and guidance to make sure you have considered issues like:
- pest control
- waste collection
- changes to your Food Safety Management System
Visit the Food Standards Agency’s website and work through the re-opening checklist for food businesses.
As well as using the government’s working safely guidance you can find the Food Standards Agency guidance, advice and checklists.
If you are operating a Foodbank there is specific guidance for you on the Food Standards Agency website.
Do you need a particular licence or permissions?
Are you purchasing equipment for your employees?
In order to re-open your business safely, you my need to purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or hand sanitiser, and use appropriately.
Be aware of guidance on product safety and ensure you are purchasing appropriate equipment from a reputable supplier.
Visit the Health and Safety Executive website for more information, or read the government's guidance on product safety for businesses.
Keeping records of visitors, staff, customers, etc.
Air conditioning and ventilation
Consumer protection advice
Food industry guidance
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Protect against scams
Food businesses operating as takeaways
During the ongoing coronavirus situation, many food businesses have moved to a takeaway model, following the social distancing measures implemented by the government. The Food Standards Agency has advised that it's improbable that coronavirus can be transferred from one person to another via food.
If you're a business that wants to begin operating in this way, then you will need to consider a number of things.
Moving to a take-away model
- The requirements for food production haven't changed. It's as important as ever to make sure that you continue to adhere to food hygiene and safety
- You should have suitable facilities to offer takeaways including structure, hand washing facilities, equipment washing and proper toilet provision
- Your staff should be trained, fit and able to work. Also consider the additional risks to these staff; how are you going minimise their risk of exposure to the virus?
- Ensure your staff are practising social distancing, as advised by the government
- You should have a suitably documented Food Safety Management System (such as Safer Food Better Business which you can download for free) for your business. If offering takeaway meals is new to your business, review what you're doing to see if there are any significant changes to be made
- Identify which food options are going to be made available for takeaway and delivery. Not all of your usual menu items will be suitable for takeaway
- Take the chance to review your allergen procedures and establish how this allergen information is going to be communicated? Customers must be advised to 'ask about allergens' at any point where orders can be placed, such as menus and websites. Consider who is going to pass on this information. How will you avoid cross-contamination in transit? How will you ensure the right customer gets the right meal? Further advice for business about allergens is available from the Food Standards Agency website.
- Ensure you have adequate storage facilities for any additional stock you're purchasing
- Think about how you're going to process the food orders and update your foods safety management system. Will you be significantly changing the way you cook and pre-preparing food? If so, how are you hot holding/cooling and refrigerating it? Are you preparing food in advance or continuing to cook to order?
- Think about the practicalities of the food delivery; how far are you going to deliver meals? How will you arrange payment? Are the containers that are to be used food safe? Is further insurance required?
- How are you going to carry out the delivery to ensure temperature control is maintained and to prevent cross-contamination? We advise that use insulated boxes - in particular, separate boxes for cold and hot food items.