Guidance for businesses
There are steps every organisation can do to ensure they open safely.
Latest restriction situation: the government has announced that the measures put in place under plan B in England will be lifted. You should continue to follow safer behaviours to protect yourself and others.
Movement to Plan A from Plan B
In summary the measures announced were:
People no longer need to work from home and should talk to their employers to agree arrangements to return to the office.
From 20 January: Face coverings will no longer be advised for staff and pupils in secondary school and college classrooms.
From 27 January: Face coverings will no longer be advised for staff and pupils in communal areas of secondary schools, nor for staff in communal areas of primaries. Directors of Public Health will only be able to recommend pupils and staff wear masks in communal areas in places where there are outbreaks or where the local public health situation justifies it, and with sign-off from the Education Secretary.
From 27 January: There is no longer a legal requirement to wear a face covering. The government suggests that you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.
From 27 January: Venues and events will no longer be required by law to check visitors’ NHS COVID Pass. The NHS COVID Pass can still be used on a voluntary basis.
Vaccines still provide the best protection against the virus, and all adults are now eligible for booster vaccines.
These measures are in addition to:
A renewed push on testing, this includes testing before you meet others, socialise or go to crowded or enclosed places.
A renewed push on vaccines and boosters - being fully vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself against catching COVID.
Continued messaging on ventilation - let in fresh air when meeting indoors.
Posters for businesses to display on their premises
The government has produced the following posters for you to print off and display in your premises:
Advice for entertainment venues, and their customers, on mandatory covid-19 checks
From Wednesday 15th December 2021, the Covid-19 rules on entering certain venues and events have changed.
Organisations are now required to take reasonable steps to make sure that all visitors aged 18 or above show an NHS COVID Pass, or approved proof of vaccination, testing, or an exemption, to enter the venue or event.
The venues and events where the NHS COVID Pass, or alternative proofs of COVID-19 status, must be used as a condition of entry are:
- nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques
- other late night dance venues, where all of the following apply:
- the venue is open any time between 1am and 5am
- it serves alcohol after 1am
- it has a dancefloor (or space for dancing)
- o it provides music, whether live or recorded, for dancing
- indoor events with 500 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as music venues with standing audiences or large receptions
- outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as outdoor festivals
- events with 10,000 or more attendees, whether indoor or outdoor, such as large sports and music events
- For other venues (such as indoor or outdoor sport stadia, conference centres, exhibition halls, live music venues, theatres and concert halls), COVID-19 status checks are only required where they are hosting an event which meets the relevant attendee threshold. For more information on exemptions and thresholds please visit the GOV UK website to see the full list of exempt activities .
Attendees must show:
- Proof of vaccination with 2 doses of an approved vaccine (or one of the single-dose Janssen vaccine)
- Proof of negative PCR or rapid lateral flow test within the last 48 hours
- Exemption on the basis of a medical exemption or clinical trial participation
Please note that evidence of natural immunity must not be accepted as an alternative to proof of vaccination or testing.
The following can be classed as proof of a covid-19 pass:
- the NHS COVID Pass
- an approved international equivalent for those vaccinated in other countries.
- a valid text or email confirmation of a recent test result from NHS Test and Trace
The NHS COVID Pass lets you share your coronavirus (COVID-19) status records or test COVID-19 status in a secure way.
It allows you to show others the details of your COVID-19 status:
- when travelling abroad to some countries or territories
- as a condition of entry at those venues or events that use the service in England
You can get an NHS COVID Pass:
- digitally through the NHS App or online via NHS.UK
- as a letter sent to you in the post, for those who are not digitally enabled
You can find out the eligibility requirements on the NHS website:
This is only a summary of the new requirements. You can view the Regulations or government guidance using the following links:
Support is available to help you carry out these checks at your venue or event
If you are changing the way that your premises currently operates, such as closing at an earlier time, or restricting the use of your dance floor, then please let us know us know on the email address below.
The Environmental Health team can provide advice to individual businesses to guide you through the support available and which options are available to you. Please email us if you have any questions or would like some reassurance. You can also visit the GOV.UK website for all the guidance on carrying out COVID-19 status checks.
Officers from the Council are carrying out visits in the district, so please do ask them any questions you may have if they visit you.
More on the government's Autumn/Winter plan
The government has also released its Autumn/Winter plan for tackling the spread of Covid-19. There are two plans - A and B.
Over autumn and winter, the Government will aim to sustain the progress made and prepare the country for future challenges, while ensuring the National Health Service (NHS) does not come under unsustainable pressure.
The Government plans to achieve this by:
- Building our defences through pharmaceutical interventions: vaccines, antivirals and disease modifying therapeutics.
- Identifying and isolating positive cases to limit transmission: Test, Trace and Isolate.
- Supporting the NHS and social care: managing pressures and recovering services.
- Advising people on how to protect themselves and others: clear guidance and communications.
- Pursuing an international approach: helping to vaccinate the world and managing risks at the border.
If the data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure, the Government has prepared a Plan B for England. The Government hopes not to have to implement Plan B, but given the uncertainty, it is setting out details now so that the public and businesses know what to expect if further measures become necessary.
Given the high levels of protection in the adult population against COVID-19 by vaccination, relatively small changes in policy and behaviour could have a big impact on reducing (or increasing) transmission, bending the epidemic curve and relieving pressure on the NHS. Thanks to the success of the vaccination programme, it should be possible to handle a further resurgence with less damaging measures than the lockdowns and economic and social restrictions deployed in the past. The Government would provide prior notice as far as possible to the public and Parliament ahead of implementing any necessary changes in a Plan B scenario.
The Government’s Plan B prioritises measures which can help control transmission of the virus while seeking to minimise economic and social impacts. This includes:
- Communicating clearly and urgently to the public that the level of risk has increased, and with it the need to behave more cautiously.
- Introducing mandatory vaccine-only COVID-status certification in certain settings.
- Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings.
The Government would also consider asking people once again to work from home if they can, for a limited period. The Government recognises this causes more disruption and has greater immediate costs to the economy and some businesses than the other Plan B interventions, so a final decision would be made based on the data at the time.
Government advice for businesses
For all business operators, whatever type of business you are, the gov.uk website provides a great deal of information for businesses and we would recommend you visit their website regularly to keep pace with the government changes and advice.
Latest guidance on risk assessments. Businesses 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. Many control measures that have been in place previously were there due to health and safety legislation rather than the specific coronavirus legislation. It remains very important to implement suitable control measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between employees and members of the public.
When undertaking your risk assessment you must have regard to the available guidance. Following the guidance is not compulsory, unless specifically stated, and you are free to take other action, so long as the same level of protection is achieved. But if you do follow the guidance you will normally be doing enough to comply with the law. Health and safety inspectors seek to secure compliance with the law and may refer to guidance. Failure to implement suitable control measures may lead to formal action being taken against the duty holder(s). See the HSE website for more information .
Latest guidance on ventilation and air conditioning . A well-ventilated workplace is essential to reduce the risk of COVID infection. Ventilation in the workplace should be assessed and improved alongside other measures to reduce the risk of exposure to coronavirus. Providing adequate ventilation does not mean people have to work in an uncomfortably chilly or cold workplace.
Businesses 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.
Ventilation is the process of introducing fresh air into indoor spaces while removing stale air. Letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
In poorly ventilated rooms the amount of virus in the air can build up, increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19, especially if there are lots of infected people in the room. The virus can also remain in the air after an infected person has left.
Bringing fresh air into a room and removing older stale air that contains virus particles reduces the chance of spreading COVID-19. The more-fresh air that is brought inside, the quicker any airborne virus will be removed from the room.
Lower temperatures and likely windy weather conditions in the winter months will increase the natural ventilation through openings. This means you don’t need to open windows and doors as wide, so partially opening them can still provide adequate ventilation while maintaining a comfortable workplace temperature. Opening higher-level windows is likely to generate fewer draughts.
There are simple steps you can take to make sure your workplace is adequately ventilated without being too cold:
- windows and doors partially open can still provide acceptable ventilation while keeping the workplace comfortable. Opening higher-level windows will probably create fewer draughts.
- if the area is cold you could relax dress codes so people can wear extra layers and warmer clothing
- you should only use fan convector heaters if the area is well ventilated.
- airing rooms as frequently as you can, will help improve ventilation. This involves opening all doors and windows wide to maximise the ventilation in the room. It may be easier to do this when the room is unoccupied or between uses.
Handwashing: Hands touch many surfaces and can become contaminated with viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer viruses to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, viruses can enter your body and infect you.
Washing or sanitising your hands removes viruses and other germs, so you are less likely to become infected if you touch your face. Using soap and warm water is the most effective way to clean your hands, especially if they are visibly dirty. Hand sanitiser can be used when soap and water is not available. Advising customers and workers to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser frequently. This is particularly important before and after touching shared objects or surfaces that other people touch regularly.
Information on how to wash your hands is available from NHS.UK
When you complete your risk assessment, think about:
(a) providing handwashing facilities at entry/exit points so people can wash their hands when they arrive and leave work – if this is not possible, provide hand sanitiser. Consider the needs of people with disabilities.
(b) providing regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards.
(c) where to have extra handwashing facilities so people can wash their hands frequently
(d) making sure your handwashing facilities have running water, soap and paper towels or hand dryers
(e) identifying where extra hand sanitiser points are needed in addition to washing facilities
Keeping your workplace clean reduces the potential for coronavirus to spread and is a critical part of making and keeping your business working safely. Your usual cleaning products should be effective. If you change your usual regime then check that products are suitable for the surface and environment. Clean cloths and other reusable cleaning products in soap and water after use.
You should determine what cleaning regime is suitable for your business based on your risk assessment.
Your risk assessment will help you to identify what your cleaning regime will look like, but you should consider these examples:
(a) keep surfaces clear so that cleaning can be carried out more effectively particularly surfaces that people touch regularly
(b) clean areas regularly in line with your cleaning regime
(c) set clear guidance for the use and cleaning of toilets, showers and changing facilities to make sure they are kept clean
(d) clean work areas and equipment between uses
(e) frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly
·(f) if equipment like tools or vehicles are shared, then clean them after each use
If you’re cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19, refer to the guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings.
Latest guidance on face coverings. The requirement to wear face coverings in law has been lifted. However, the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.
Latest advice on track and trace and recording customer and staff details. Businesses are encouraged to continue displaying QR codes for customers wishing to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, or to continue collecting customer contact details to support NHS Test and Trace, however this will no longer be a legal requirement.
Collecting customer details and helping with test and trace
Overview of the policy
Certain venues are encouraged to request that their staff, customers and visitors ‘check in’.
People can check in by scanning the NHS QR code poster using their NHS COVID-19 app, or by providing their contact details.
If there are two or more positive cases at a venue on the same day, we will send a ‘venue alert’ to others who checked in to recommend that they book a test.
Changes for step 4
The Regulations have been revoked on 19 July.
However, venues are still strongly encouraged to display an NHS QR code poster and request contact details from non-app users to support NHS Test and Trace.
The venue alert system remains in place. NHS Test and Trace can only continue to issue these important public health alerts where venues are cooperating with the guidance.
What sort of venue is encouraged to display the QR code?
Businesses and venues from the sectors below are encouraged to display an NHS QR code poster and provide a non-digital method to collect contact details at their venues.
This applies if you provide:
- Tourism and leisure services, including hotels, museums, cinemas, amusement arcades
- Hospitality services, including pubs, restaurants and nightclubs
- Close contact services
- Places of worship
- Community centres, libraries and village halls
Venues are still strongly encouraged to display an NHS QR code poster and request contact details from non-app users to support NHS Test and Trace.
Benefits to Business
- Research shows that 75% of consumers want to receive these alerts
- 50% people feel more confident visiting a venue when they are able to check in
- Checking in will remind visitors about their other behaviours such as masks and social distancing
- Supports businesses to remain open
Benefits to Public Health
- Identifies asymptomatic cases
- Helps break the chains of transmission
- Particularly important given the Delta variant
Further advice and guidance
Further guidance on the requirements can be found on the gov.uk website .
The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has produced guidance to ensure that you are GDPR compliant when collecting and storing contact details.
Should you have any questions or queries please email us and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.
NHS Test and Trace app
The NHS Test and Trace app is part of the government's efforts to tackle the spread of coronavirus and provide people with a way to check-in to venues they've visited such as cafe's and restaurants, as well as get information if you have been near to anyone who subsequently tests positive for coronavirus.
You can download the app from the Apple and Android play stores
Businesses and venues are being encouraged to create posters with unique QR codes on them to help people check-in using the app when they visit.
NHS Track and Trace video
Please check that any insurance pertaining to your premises has been re-activated or renewed - you can check this directly with your provider.
Businesses which have been closed and not in use must ensure they include the safety of their water systems in their reopening check lists. Legionnaires Disease is found in hot and cold water systems and as a business owner you have a duty to ensure the risk is managed correctly. For advice on what you should be doing please refer to the CIEH guide.
If you are thinking of selling alcohol in an outdoor area or selling hot food/drinks after 11pm, please check your premises licence including the licensed area marked on the plan. Your outdoor area will require a licence for this activity.
If you wish to utilise the pavement outside your premises (and it is a designated highway, not private land) for tables, seating or other furniture, you may require a pavement licence. You can find more information about this process at Pavement licence together with the policy and conditions of licence. If you already hold a licence from Cumbria County Council, it will not be necessary for you to apply to Allerdale. Any premises or pavement licence enquiries can be sent by email or by contacting us on 0303 123 1702.
Ensure you have renewed or reactivated your waste disposal contract. You can find out more about out trade waste services on our website . Please remember that businesses cannot use the recycling bring sites located at various places around the borough. These are for residents to use.
Covid Risk assessment
Review your Covid risk assessment and ensure staff are aware and trained in the changes – an example template can be found on the HSE website .
Control customer flow
As part of the Covid risk assessment, please consider if you need to control the flow of customers, and if so how to do it. Whilst social distancing rules have ended in England from 19 July, the government does advise that people "limit the close contact [they] have with those [they] do not usually live with, and increase close contact gradually. This includes minimising the number, proximity and duration of social contacts." You may want to consider, for example: people coming in and out for the use of toilets, how you will require people to pay and where and how you will perhaps ask people queue outside to help people adhere to the advice to minimise social contact where possible. There are guidelines in place but each individual premises will need to ensure it is set up in the best possible way for their situation.
Ensure to carry out a deep clean of your Kitchen ready for trading and disinfect (recommend BS EN 1276) all surfaces, products, handles etc - before re-opening and subsequently after opening.
If you are a food premises, carry out stock rotation and discard out of date products as necessary.
Keeping people safe
Ensure that you keep up to date with the most current guidance regarding hand sanitising and wearing of face coverings if necessary.
Public Health England have also put together a 'Workplace Pack' in order to support and help businesses with the management of covid cases in the work setting. It would be handy to keep close by, should the need arise. Download the Workplace Pack (Word document)
For the most up to date guidance and advice, please visit the gov.uk website. When specific guidelines have been released, this is where you will find it first. We will of course update our website as soon as we have also been advised by central government.
If you have any questions and cannot find the answer on the Allerdale Borough Council or Gov.uk websites, please email the team where we will be happy to help
Sector specific guidance
Shops and close contact services
Restaurants, bars, cafes and takeaways
Hotels, accommodation providers and visitor attractions
Sports, gyms, leisure services, and events
Construction, factories and industry
Other types of business
Further advice and guidance for business
We are leaving this advice for businesses who may be starting out or reopening under Step 4.
Businesses are currently unable to place seating, tables or other street furniture on the pavements unless they already have a valid pavement license issued by Cumbria County Council. The government recently made changes to the legislation on pavement licenses and we'll be announcing guidance on this soon.
We're also encouraging any licensed premises that wishes to extend its drinking or dining area into other parts of their property – such as in a marquee on their car park – to check their license carefully. If their license does not allow for this, they will have to apply for a variation on their license. All businesses should contact the licensing department on 0303 123 1702.
Should you have been a business which was required to close under the regulations or you made the decision to close, you need to consider how to ensure your water is clean and wholesome before reopening your business to prevent water-borne illnesses, like Legionella.
Private water supplies
All suppliers and users should be aware of the importance of maintaining a clean and safe, wholesome drinking water supply for domestic purposes such as drinking, washing, cooking and preparing or cooking food.
After an extended period of low turnover or no demand, a water supply may deteriorate when left stagnant in storage tanks and pipework. Additionally, equipment used to treat, distribute and deliver water to the tap or outlet may not work as expected. These risks may not have been previously considered as part of a risk assessment or more specifically your Water Safety Plan (WSP).
Deterioration may well be significantly exacerbated following prolonged shutdown, and may present serious and unaccounted for risks to health. Typical examples of deterioration problems might include the leaching of metals such as lead and nickel to a poisonous level; the build-up of Legionella in tanks creating serious respiratory hazards; the accumulation of foul taste or odour issues causing consumers concern or to reject the water; and dried out filters which may no longer be effective or have accumulated serious contamination. These
examples are not exhaustive.
In most routine circumstances, water supplies to premises should, as a minimum, be disinfected and have progressive flushing of storage tanks and pipework to introduce fresh water into the system before consumer access. However, it will vary from system to system
as to how this is done, for example, hot water systems will need to be raised to a temperature of greater than 60ºC, and full system disinfection may be required.
Relevant persons of a private water supply are reminded that they remain responsible under the Water Industry Act 1991 (as amended), and the Private Water Supplies (England) Regulations (2016) (as amended) to provide sufficient and wholesome water at all times.
All actions should be documented, and made available for the inspecting officer.
Hazards of a water supply can be roughly divided into microbial, chemical (including disinfection) and configuration, and some basic considerations should include the following:
- Ingress & faecal contamination; bacteria and viruses of faecal origin; environmental bacteria; bacteria/fungi of decay;
- Regrowth; stagnation; biofilms;
- Points of user contamination such as water dispensers, water fountains which may be contaminated by viruses, bacteria and fungi e.g. Covid-19;
- Organisms of serious concern e.g. Legionella spp.;
- Nuisance organisms causing discolouration, fouling, or staining by iron precipitating bacteria,
- Taste and odour, including dimethyl polysulphides, e.g. Pseudomonas, Flavobacterium and Aeromonas, Penicillium caeseicolum; or hydrogen sulphide by Clostridium, Bacillus Desulfovibrio or Desulfotomaculum; vii. Reduction of chloramines to free chlorine and nitrite by nitrifying bacteria.
- Leaching of cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, or zinc in plumbing;
- Naturally occurring
- Design of materials, pipes and fittings (including taps);
- Galvanic corrosion;
- Backflow, migration, valves, air gaps, dead ends, water treatment devices such as softeners, filters, reverse osmosis devices.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the current Government advice is to adopt social distancing where possible and to avoid unnecessary travel in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). In order to comply with that Government advice, Allerdale has postponed private water supply sampling visits until guidance changes.
Where possible, we may be able to reschedule any outstanding samples to later in the calendar year depending on developments going forward.
It is therefore recommended that in the absence of any monitoring, consumers and other relevant persons of private water supplies should be encouraged to bolster their operational checks and ensure that maintenance is being carried out as required (e.g. replacing UV lamps or monitoring chlorine dose) and that they have sufficient spares of essential equipment to ensure supplies remain wholesome at all times.
These actions should be documented, and presented to Local Authorities to confirm that supplies did not present a risk to health during these exceptional circumstances. Please use the survey below complete and return to our environmental health department with the relevant documentation. This will act as due diligence in regards to the safety of your water supply whilst sampling is postponed.
For more information contact our environmental health team by email .
As an employer, you need to re-visit your risk assessments to take into account the Covid-19 pandemic and the controls that need to be in place to protect your employees, and others, from harm.
There is no question that Covid-19 can cause harm so you must take action to control the risk. If you have more than five employees, then you must document this risk assessment, although it is good practice to document this even if you have less than five employees.
There is also an online and telephone advice service giving advice for your workplace, contact the Health and Safety Executive on:
- by telephone: 0300 790 6787 lines are open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 8pm
- online using their working safely enquiry form
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has provided additional guidance specifically for food businesses including checklists to help you ensure your business is operating safely.
Their guidance will give you a practical framework to identify what you need to do to continue, adapt, or restart operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the hygiene processes and requirements you must follow to safely operate your food business.
Other areas which may interest you include:
- General guidance for food businesses
Guidance on cleaning and other hygiene issues including: guidance to supplement your own food safety management procedures (i.e. Safer Food Better Business (SFBB)), and any hygiene and cleaning procedures you have developed based on public health guidance on coronavirus. If you do not use SFBB, your food safety management system should be updated accordingly.
Remember that normal food hygiene practices also need to continue once your business has reopened.
We have produced a separate guide for those wanting to open a takeaway service.
As a licensed premises, you may be considering the off-sale of alcohol. The Local Government Association has put together a guide with advice for you:
Contact our trade waste services about any trade waste enquiry: firstname.lastname@example.org
The government has devised this guide on how to keep your non-healthcare business clean. Please note that this is of a general nature and should be treated as a guide, and in the event of any conflict between any applicable legislation (including the health and safety legislation) and this guidance, the applicable legislation shall prevail.
From 15 June 2020 it compulsory to wear a face mask when on public transport such as buses and trains.
Taxis and private hire vehicles
Face masks are compulsory for all users of taxis and private hire vehicles.
The Gambling Commisions have published some advice aimed at helping operators manage compliance with Government Covid-19 guidance on re-opening with continued compliance with the licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP).
If you are a member of a trade association or similar body, then they may also have provided support and advice or if not, it would be worthwhile to contact them for support as they can provide business specific guidance.
We hope this advice and guidance will provide you with the confidence to reopen safely. We recognise that a lot of it is generic, and size does not fit all and as the business operator. As you are most familiar with your business operation to provide specific controls most suitable for your business. We would recommend you contact your trade association and/or also seek professional advice on specific issues as necessary.
You can also contact our Environmental Health team by email and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Once you have completed the necessary steps, display this poster within your business to reassure your customers and staff. Giving confidence that you have taken steps to minimise the risks from Covid-19 could be vital for your business as it will mean your staff are happy to work there and your customers to shop and visit. It also shows that you are taking your responsibilities seriously.
However, do ensure you have completed everything before displaying the poster to avoid giving false reassurance. If we receive allegations that you are putting people at risk or not complying with the guidance then we may come and inspect your business.
You may also be entitled to some financial assistance from the government. Our webpage provides further information on this.
Making arrangements for social distancing and extra hygiene precautions are going to be foremost in your mind, but don’t forget there are always those who look to exploit situations when your attention may be elsewhere. Good counter terrorism measures also have benefits in deterring crime.
The guide below will help address the issues associated with national security and coronavirus measures.