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Coronavirus (COVID-19) checklist for businesses

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 require the closure of particular businesses. Restrictions are also imposed on businesses which are permitted to remain open. It is important that we all follow the government guidelines to limit the spread of coronavirus. Where workplaces are open precautions need to be taken to reduce risks to both the workers and the public. This checklist will help you to put in place measures in your workplace to keep both employees and customers safe.

Where you are unable to introduce measures to control the risk from coronavirus you will need to consider closing your business.

Employee safety

  • businesses and workplaces should encourage their employees to work at home. Where staff are required to be at work the two metre social distancing guidance should be adhered to. You must assess the steps needed to reduce the risk of transmission between staff and any customers who may be in the premises. You must put these steps in place
  • to protect your staff, you should remind colleagues daily to only come into work if they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating
  • identify employees who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19). This group includes those who are:
    • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
    • under 70 with an underlying health condition (eg anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds)
  • these individuals will need to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures
  • specific individuals who are at severe risk are to be ‘shielded’ and will have received a medical letter informing them to isolate themselves. It is important that these employees stay at home
  • try to maintain dedicated work teams (cohorting) and keep the number of members as small as possible
  • provide handwashing stations with soap, water and a hygienic means to dry hands; encourage staff to use them. All staff to wash their hands regularly using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, particularly after:
    • blowing their nose
    • sneezing or coughing
    • before/after using shared equipment
    • prior to eating
  • where facilities to wash hands are not available, hand sanitiser should be used. Workers should cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue in a bin and immediately wash their hands. Anyone with a persistent cough should not be at work
  • communicate with staff on a regular basis to remind them to follow social distancing advice and wash their hands regularly
  • where possible use digital and remote transfers of material rather than paper format, such as using e-forms, emails and e-banking
  • try to allocate work spaces to employees that are at least two metres apart, these can be marked out with tape. Equipment and fittings could be re-arranged to accommodate social distancing
  • where it is not possible to remain two metres apart, staff should work side by side or facing away from each other, rather than face to face
  • increase the ventilation within the premises by opening doors and windows
  • increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection. Attention to be given to shared equipment and hand contact surfaces including work surfaces, tables, chairs, switches, door handles, push plates on doors, toilets, hand towel dispensers, taps etc. Check that you are using sanitisers that comply with BS EN 1276 and that staff are adhering to the correct contact time and dilution rates

Public safety

  • introduce telephone, email and internet ordering to limit public access to the premises
  • provide a delivery service to the public to limit access to the premises
  • if a click and collect service is offered, provide a designated collection time
  • display a sign/poster at the entrance to remind customers not to enter the premises if they have symptoms
  • provide sanitiser with an alcohol content of at least 60% for customers/staff to clean the basket/trolley handle and to sanitise hands
  • where the public access the premises introduce control measures to implement the two metre social distancing:
    • limit the number of people in the shop and control entry so that the premises do not become overcrowded
    • maintain queue control outside of shops and other essential premises so that the two metre rule is observed by those waiting in the queue, customers must not be allowed to congregate or loiter
    • use signage and floor markings to direct people around the premises and maintaining a two metre distance
    • create a ‘one way’ system, by closing off aisles and using signage to direct customers to move in the same continuous direction
    • close the premises if it becomes too busy
    • staff may need to act as stewards to advise customers on social distancing
  • customers should not be directly in front of the till operator. Options to control risk include:
    • provide a ‘sneeze screen’ barrier to protect both customers and the till operative
    • alternatively, create an exclusion zone around the till area with a customer notice ‘Please stand behind the line while being served’
  • contactless payments are encouraged. Place a sign at the till ‘Please use contactless payment if you are able to do so. Contactless payment is available for purchases up to £45
  • frequent cleaning and disinfection of shared customer touch points including hand held checkout devices, keypads at check out, fridge/freezer handles, escalator and staircase handrails, on site ATMs etc

Coronavirus: links to Public Health advice

Handwashing guidance
Self isolating guidance
Social distancing guidance
Shielding and protecting vulnerable persons
Guidance for pregnant women
Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can't do
Guidance for employers and businesses
Guidance for employees
Guidance for food delivery and takeaway

Please contact our Public Protection team if you need additional advice on social distancing measures needed to control the risk presented by Coronavirus (COVID-19) or to find out which businesses are permitted to trade.

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