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Covid guidance for businesses

Under step four of the roadmap, Covid-19 restrictions were lifted across most areas.
 
Lifting restrictions does not mean that the risks from Covid-19 have disappeared. Instead, it marks a new phase in the government’s response to the pandemic where individuals and businesses must exercise judgement and manage the risks to themselves and others.
 
Moving towards a model of strengthened public health advice, rather than restrictions, means we need to find a way of living with Covid-19 where we can enjoy the freedoms but are mindful of others. 
 
To help protect your business, with the expected increase of Covid-19 infections in the coming weeks, we recommend that you continue to practice the Covid-safe behaviours we have had in place over the last year. All businesses should follow the principles set out in the working safely guidance.
 
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act you have a duty of care to your employees. Providing a workplace that is safe will increase the confidence of your employees, reassure your customers that it is a safe place to visit and will reduce infection rates helping to keep your business open.
 
The following workplace controls have not changed:
Other steps to help reduce workplace transmission of Covid will include employers taking measures to limit the number of people their workers are in contact with, for example staggering the times people come into work or go home or staggering rest breaks.
UK government guidance on working safely gives further information and advice on these measures, covering a range of different types of work.
 
All businesses legally must review their Covid safe risk assessments. For businesses with more than five employees, the findings of the risk assessment must be recorded, but we recommend that all businesses, regardless of size, record their risk assessment findings and share them with staff.
 
Businesses and employers must continue to consult with their workforce on health and safety matters. There is advice on the HSE website with examples of questions to ask to help employees understand the risks and contribute to decisions on reducing the risk of transmission.
 
You should make sure the measures identified by your risk assessment take account of the Covid-19 public health regulations and guidance for England.
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Working from home

It is no longer be necessary for people to work from home.
Employers can start planning a safe return to the workplace or agree alternative working arrangements with employees.

Face masks

  • Face masks are no longer be a legal requirement
  • Businesses will need to set the rules for their own premises
  • Individuals are encouraged to consider their own risk and exercise judgment. They should follow the rules set by the retailer, hospitality venue or transport company they are using
  • Advice remains in place around wearing a mask in enclosed and crowded spaces, such as public transport, to reduce the chance of catching Covid-19 as well as preventing the spread of the virus to others
  • You can still place posters in the window and use signage to encourage customers to wear face masks and display information on how to order

 

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Social distancing and hospitality

It is up to each business owner to decide what measures they will implement on their premises to help manage customers and protect their staff.

 

  • Indoor and outdoor social distancing limits and restrictions have been lifted
  • Table service is no longer a requirement. Customers can order food and drinks and queue at the bar
  • People will be allowed to stand while drinking or enjoying entertainment

 

 
We encourage businesses to maintain good hygiene:

 

  • Staff and customers should clean their hands regularly
  • Clean surfaces that people frequently touch
  • Maintain good ventilation, particularly in areas of poor air flow
  • Make sure staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue
  • Communicate to staff and customers the measures you have put in place.

 

Although participation in Test and Trace has become voluntary, we recommend displaying QR code posters to give your customers the choice of checking in on the NHS Test and Trace app.

NHS Covid Pass

Businesses and large events can use the NHS Covid Pass in high risk settings, which shows proof of vaccination, a negative test result within the last 48 hours or natural immunity as a means of entry.
 
The government will work with organisations where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of this. If sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the government will consider mandating certification in certain venues in the future.

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