Covid-19 health & safety guidance for businesses

Covid – 19 remains a serious health risk. You should stay cautious to help protect yourself and others:

  • Let fresh air in if you are meeting indoors – meeting outdoors is safer
  • You must wear a face covering in shops and on all public transport
  • Get tested and self isolate if required
  • If you haven’t already, get vaccinated.

Further to the Government announcements about the new Covid-19 Omicron variant new temporary measures have been introduced by the Government namely:

  • Face covering must be worn indoors while in retail shops, and public transport unless the person is exempt, and
  • Isolation requirements for any person in contact with a suspected Omicron case, this will require any person to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated.
  • Booster vaccination programme, this has now been rolled out to as wide a group as possible.
  • Working from Home if you can – from the 13 December 2021

The Government has also announced PLAN B, which will introduce additional requirements for a NHS Covid Pass in certain venues from the 15 December 2021. Venues will be required by law to check that all visitors ages 18 years or over are fully vaccinated (currently a full course of vaccinations without the need for a booster, but this will be kept under review) have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or that they have an exemption. This means that those aged 18 years or over must show their NHS Covid pass, or an alternative proof of a negative test result, such as an email or text proof, to gain entry into these venues. The use of the NHS Covid pass is required as a condition of entry into the following places:

  • Nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques
  • Other late night dance venues. These are any other venues that are:
  • Open between 1am and 5am
  • Serve alcohol during this time
  • Have a dancefloor (or designated space for dancing) and
  • Provide music, whether live or recorded for dancing
  • Indoor events with 500 people or more unseated attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the even, such as music venues with standing audiences or large receptions
  • Outdoor events with 4,000 or more unseated attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as outdoor festivals: and
  • Any event with 10,000 or more attendees indoors or outdoors, such as large sports and music events.

There are some setting that will be exempt from the requirements and we are awaiting further guidance from the government.

Face Coverings:

A responsible person must display a notice providing information to the public about wearing a face covering within their business. The notice should confirm, “Please wear a face covering while inside this premises unless your exempt” or wording to a similar effect. The notice should be clear, and easy to see as you enter the premises.

The requirements for the public to wear a face covering apply in:

  • Shops and supermarkets
  • Enclosed shopping centres
  • Auction houses
  • Banks and building societies etc
  • Post Offices
  • Estate and letting agents
  • Premises providing personal care and beauty
  • Pharmacies
  • Veterinary services
  • Retail galleries
  • Retail travel agents
  • Takeaway premises without space for consumption of food or drink on premises
  • Public Transport vehicles like buses, trains, taxis and private hire vehicles.
  • Transport hubs (bus and coach stations etc)
  • Any car/vehicle providing driving lessons or a tests etc.

The hospitality sector are exempt namely: restaurants / cafes / bars / hotels / public houses. Medical services (dentists etc) and photography studios are also exempt. 

The latest information is available on the GOV.UK website.

Ventilation:

Coronavirus spreads through the air, you can catch it if someone with the virus coughs or breathes on you. The virus can build up in badly ventilated areas, this increases the risk of infection, and Good ventilation is one of the best ways to fight Covid-19. This video will explain more.

The Health and Safety Executive website can provide further information on the ways to control the virus in the workplace, including a self-assessment tool available at www.hse.gov.uk

The key issues to consider in the workplace are:

  • Ventilation
  • Face coverings and face masks
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Talking with workers to support them with any concerns
  • Managing work-related stress
  • Risk assessment

Further details on the above issues to consider is available on the Health and Safety Executive website.

Covid-19 food safety information for businesses