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Close Coronavirus

See the latest news and get more information regarding coronavirus (Covid-19). Find out more about the help for affected businesses, charities and individuals. There is also advice if you are reopening your business and shopping safely. Please use our online forms, webchat, app and phone number to contact us. Our offices remain closed to the public. 

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Coronavirus lockdown easing - guidance on reopening for business and shoppers

As the government begins to ease the lockdown imposed to stop the spread of Covid-19, there are steps every organisation can do to ensure they reopen safely.

High streets and town centres will also start to look a bit different as measures are introduced to keep shoppers and visitors safe.

We've therefore put together the most meaningful and appropriate links to government bodies/agencies to ensure you get easy access to the most up to date information and guidance. There is also advice for shoppers and visitors on what to expect and how they can help everyone to stay safe.

Please bookmark this page and check regularly as we'll update it as new guidance is announced. You may also want to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Have you checked whether your business can open?

We strongly recommend that you check the government guidance on which businesses have to remain closed. This page is regularly updated, so do keep an eye on any changes.

On 23 June, the government announced changes to the lockdown from July 4 2020. Their website has details of the guidance:

Make sure you let people know what you've done to make your business safe and reassure your customers and staff

Download a self-certification poster, or sign up to the Visit Britain scheme. More details in the 'Provide reassurance to your customers and staff' tab below

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.

General social distancing guidance

Helping with test and trace

The government has issued guidance for businesses on collecting and maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors on the premises to support NHS Test and Trace.

Sector specific guidance

Guides for different types of work – including:

Shops and other services

Restaurants, bars and takeaways

Hotels, accommodation providers and visitor attractions

Construction, factories and industry

Offices

Other types of business

Further advice for business on reopening after lockdown

The government has devised these five steps for working safely. These give you some general ideas on what to do.

Make sure you read all the guides relevant to your workplace. Each guide has specific actions for businesses to take based on these steps. Further guidance will be published as more businesses are able to reopen. More specific advice is also available on the next tabs.

1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment

Before restarting work you should ensure the safety of the workplace by:

  • carrying out a risk assessment in line with the HSE guidance
  • consulting with your workers or trade unions
  • sharing the results of the risk assessment with your workforce and on your website
     

2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures

You should increase the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning by:

  • encouraging people to follow the guidance on hand washing and hygiene
  • providing hand sanitiser around the workplace, in addition to washrooms
  • frequently cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched regularly
  • enhancing cleaning for busy areas
  • setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets
  • providing hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical dryers
     

3. Help people to work from home

You should take all reasonable steps to help people work from home by:

  • discussing home working arrangements
  • ensuring they have the right equipment, for example remote access to work systems
  • including them in all necessary communications
  • looking after their physical and mental wellbeing
     

4. Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible

Where possible, you should maintain 2m between people by:

  • putting up signs to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance
  • avoiding sharing workstations
  • using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep to a 2m distance
  • arranging one-way traffic through the workplace if possible
  • switching to seeing visitors by appointment only if possible
     

5. Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk

Where it’s not possible for people to be 2m apart, you should do everything practical to manage the transmission risk by:

  • considering whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate
  • keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
  • using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
  • using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible
  • staggering arrival and departure times
  • reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’

The FAQ linked below sets out what you should do if you are reopening your business following the lifting of restrictions. It is a .pdf file and can be printed or downloaded for easy reference.

The document will be updated as government guidance changes.

Reopening your business FAQ

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.

Download the Covid assurance self-certification poster

However, do ensure you have completed everything before displaying the poster to avoid giving false reassurance. As a business, you are the duty holder responsible for being Covid-19 secure and should not be putting people at risk or not complying with the guidance. If we receive allegations that you are putting people at risk or not complying with the guidance then we may visit your business to discuss this with you.

There is a HSE helpdesk should you require further guidance or have a question on being Covid-19 secure in your business. This help can be provided to all businesses by the business completing a form online or telephoning HSE. Details can be found on the HSE website.

Tourism businesses

If you are a tourism business, apply to the "good to go" scheme provided by Visit Britain to help reassure your customers that you take their health and safety seriously.

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. 

There is guidance produced by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health as well as Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.

 United Utilities have also produced this guidance on water safety .

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:

Microbial:

  1. Ingress & faecal contamination; bacteria and viruses of faecal origin; environmental bacteria; bacteria/fungi of decay;
  2. Regrowth; stagnation; biofilms;
  3. Points of user contamination such as water dispensers, water fountains which may be contaminated by viruses, bacteria and fungi e.g. Covid-19;
  4. Organisms of serious concern e.g. Legionella spp.;
  5. Nuisance organisms causing discolouration, fouling, or staining by iron precipitating bacteria,
  6. 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.

Chemical

  1. Leaching of cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, or zinc in plumbing;
  2. Naturally occurring

Configuration

  1. Design of materials, pipes and fittings (including taps);
  2. Galvanic corrosion;
  3. Backflow, migration, valves, air gaps, dead ends, water treatment devices such as softeners, filters, reverse osmosis devices.

Inspections

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.

Download the survey form for use by those with private water supplies

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.

Further guidance is provided by the Health and Safety Executive with more advice for employers and businesses.

There is also an online and telephone advice service giving advice for your workplace, contact the Health and Safety Executive on:

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:

  • 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:

 Advice on the off-sale of alcohol

If you are a business or organisation that is planning to reopen as the coronavirus lockdown restrictions ease, don't forget you will need to restart your trade waste collection.

We suspended many collections at the start of the lockdown as businesses closed. To restart it or to become a new customer of ours and set up a new contract, email our friendly team at: trade.waste@allerdale.gov.uk

Find out more about the trade waste services we provide.

Find out more about handling potentially infected waste safely.

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.

Find out how to keep your business clean.

Public transport

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

The government guidance is as follows: "The Secretary of State for Transport’s announcement that from 15 June face coverings will be required while using public transport in England does not cover taxis and private hire vehicles as the trade is already able to require (with limited exemptions) passengers to wear these. Taxi drivers are already able to refuse carriage to passengers where it is reasonable to do so, this might include those that are able but refuse to wear a face covering. Private hire vehicle operators can make the wearing of face covering a condition of hiring. As the Prime Minister announced, the government will be expanding targeted testing of occupations and groups at higher risk. This will help us learn more about who is at higher risk and how the virus is spread. We know that many people working in a job which regularly brings them into close contact with people are worried about their risk of infection and that people from BAME backgrounds are heavily represented in some of these professions. Government will confirm full details of this scheme in the coming weeks. It should be noted however that all symptomatic members of the public can already access testing and it is vital that everyone applies for a test if they develop symptoms."

From 15 June, betting shops in England are permitted to open. 

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.

NaCTSO advice for business on national security and coronavirus measures  

Advice for shoppers and visitors

Please follow safe distancing measures and look out for signage. Also follow this advice:

  • Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
  • Only visit shops with people you live with.
  • Maintain two metre social distancing at all times wherever possible.
  • Wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible including public transport.
  • Bring your own hand sanitiser. 
  • Keep contact to a minimum and try to use contactless payments if available.
  • Some shops will need to limit the number of customers, so you may be asked to queue outside.
  • Shop alone where possible, unless you need specific assistance.

Measures being introduced will include barriers, extra signage and stencils on pavements. Government guidance advises that some of the measures may need to stay in place for some time.    

Some specific measures are: 

  • Widening of the right-hand pavement on Cockermouth’s Station Street (as looking up from Main Street) with barriers in the road. Parking will continue to be allowed on the other side of the street, with one bay set-aside for local shops to use for loading. People are being asked to keep this bay clear for loading-only so that local businesses can continue to receive deliveries.  
  • A pedestrian one-way system is being introduced on the pavements on Workington’s Murray Road. To ensure the safety of everyone, drivers are asked to take particular care when using this road and pedestrians are asked to cross at crossing points along the street.  

The government guidance is people are encouraged "to shop alone where possible, unless they need specific assistance." If you need a carer with you, then just explain this to the shop-owner.

We're rolling out the reopening of our toilets from Monday 15 June. However, to keep users and staff safe, the number of people able to use the facilities at any one time will be reduced. Toilets in Cockermouth, Aspatria, Silloth and Keswick are run by the town council or other organisations and so different opening arrangements apply.

The council’s car parks remain open with users advised to use the MiPermit mobile-phone app to pay where possible, as this means they do not have to interact with the payment machines which are only taking card payments. The advantages of using the MiPermit app is that users can pay for extra parking if they find they need to stay longer than originally thought. They can also get a reminder when their parking is due to expire.

More details can be found on the council’s website.

Car parks remain free for key workers – more information is on the council’s website.

The multi-story car park in Workington will remain closed for the time being. 

We shall be holding markets in Keswick and Workington from the week beginning the 15 June. These will look a little different with extra signage and sanitiser stations. More information in on our website.

[page updated 6pm on 29 June 2020]