The Fitzrovia Partnership is a Business Improvement District representing businesses in the heart of London’s Fitzrovia.

Telephone: 020 3146 4260

11 -13 Bayley Street, London, WC1B 3HD

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Recovery Phase: Hospitality

Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services

Objective: That all employers carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment

As an employer, you have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety, including from the risks of COVID-19.

COVID-19 is a hazard in the workplace and, as such, should be managed in the same way as other workplace hazards. This includes completing a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks of COVID-19 in the workplace and identifying control measures to manage that risk.

Failure to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment and put in place sufficient control measures to manage the risk may be considered a breach of health and safety law.

Where the enforcing authority, such as the HSE or your local authority, identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, they are empowered to take a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. Where serious breaches are identified HSE and Local Authorities have a range of things they can do to ensure compliance. These include sending letters, serving improvement notices and prohibition notices and in cases where significant breaches are identified then prosecutions can be brought.

Your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to. There are interactive tools available to support you from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

You should also consider the security implications of any decisions and control measures you intend to put in place, as any revisions could present new or altered security risks that may require mitigation.

If you have fewer than 5 workers, or are self-employed, you don’t have to write anything down as part of your risk assessment, but you may decide it would be helpful to.

Employers have a duty to consult on health and safety matters. You can do this by listening and talking to them about the work they do and how you will manage the risks from COVID-19.

This may be through consulting with any recognised trade union health and safety representatives or, if you don’t have any, with a representative chosen by workers.

As an employer, you cannot decide who the representative will be. Employers and workers should always come together to resolve issues. If concerns still cannot be resolved, see below for further steps you can take.

Employers are expected to respond to any advice or notices issued by enforcing authorities rapidly and are required to do so within any timescales imposed by the enforcing authorities. The vast majority of employers are responsible and will join with the UK’s fight against COVID-19 by working with the government and their sector bodies to protect their workers and the public. However, inspectors are carrying out compliance checks nationwide to ensure that employers are taking the necessary steps.

How to raise a concern

  • contact your employee representative
  • contact your trade union if you have one
  • contact HSE at:

HSE COVID-19 enquiries
Telephone: 0300 790 6787 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm)
Online: working safely enquiry form

Managing risk

Objective: To reduce risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures, in order of priority

Employers have a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures. Employers must work with any other employers or contractors sharing the workplace so that everybody’s health and safety is protected.

In the context of COVID-19 this means working through these steps in order:

  1. Ensuring both workers and customers who feel unwell stay at home and do not attend the venue. From September 28, by law businesses may not require a self-isolating employee to come into work.
  2. Remind customers and staff to wear face coverings where they are required, for example, through use of signage.
  3. Increasing the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning in every workplace.
  4. Businesses and workplaces should make every reasonable effort to ensure their employees can work safely. Anyone who can work from home should do so. Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work, if COVID-19 Secure guidelines are followed closely. When in the workplace, everyone should make every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable).
  5. Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, in relation to a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity can be redesigned to maintain a 2m distance or 1m with risk mitigations.

Further mitigating actions include:

– further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning
– 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 (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
– reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others)

  1. Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, even through redesigning a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff.
  2. Finally, if people must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, then you will need to assess whether the activity can safely go ahead. No one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment.
  1. In your assessment you should have particular regard to whether the people doing the work are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.
  2. If your building has been unoccupied for a period during any lockdowns, consider legionella risk and HSE advice.

The recommendations in the rest of this document are ones you should consider as you go through this process. You could also consider any advice that has been produced specifically for your sector, for example by trade associations or trades unions.

If you are currently operating, you will already have carried out an assessment of the risks posed by COVID-19 in your workplace. You should use this document to identify any further improvements you should make. You must review the measures you have put in place to make sure they are working. You should also review them if they may no longer be effective or if there are changes in the workplace that could lead to new risks.

Sharing the results of your risk assessment

You should share the results of your risk assessment with your workforce. If possible, you should consider publishing the results on your website (and we would expect all businesses with over 50 workers to do so). We would expect all businesses to demonstrate to their workers and customers that they have properly assessed their risk and taken appropriate measures to mitigate this. You should do this by displaying a notification in a prominent place in your business and on your website, if you have one.

Below you will find a notice you should display in your workplace to show you have followed this guidance.

Staying COVID-19 Secure

Supporting NHS Test and Trace

Objective: To support NHS Test and Trace

Continued opening up of the economy is reliant on NHS Test and Trace being used to minimise transmission of the virus.

When businesses are permitted to open, you must:

  1. Ask 1 member of every party who visits your premises to provide their contact details to assist NHS Test and Trace. Refuse entry to those who refuse to provide contact details.
  2. Have a system in place to ensure that you can collect that information from your customers and visitors, and provide this data to NHS Test and Trace, if it is requested. Check what data you need to collect and how it should be managed.
  3. Keep a record of all staff working on your premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details.​
  4. Display an official NHS QR code poster from 24 September 2020, so that customers and visitors can ‘check-in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details. Official NHS QR posters can be generated online.

Many businesses that take bookings already have systems for recording this information – including restaurants, hotels and pubs. These existing systems may be an effective means of collecting contact details, but if such a system is not in place, this will now be required in order to be compliant with the new regulations on NHS Test and Trace. Organisations must have a system in place for people who do not have a smartphone or do not want to use the NHS COVID-19 app.​

Any business that is found not to be compliant with these regulations will be subject to financial penalties. It is vital that you comply with these regulations to help keep people safe, and to keep businesses open.​ Find out more about how NHS Test and Trace works.​

Businesses operating a service where food and drink is taken off the premises immediately, including businesses operating on a takeaway basis under the national lockdown, are not required to comply with these requirements.

There is separate guidance on keeping a record of staff shift patterns, which can be found here.

Keeping your customers and visitors safe

Objective: To minimise the risk of transmission and protect the health of customers and visitors in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway venues

Businesses should not intentionally facilitate gatherings between a greater number of people than is permitted; and should take steps to ensure customer compliance with the limits on gatherings.

Steps could include:

  1. Informing customers of guidance through signage or notices at the point of booking or on arrival.
  2. Ensuring staff are familiar with the guidance, and if any local restrictions are in place.
  3. Asking customers for verbal confirmation of the number of people in their party at the point of arrival.

If permitted to open, individual businesses or venues should consider the cumulative impact of many venues re-opening in a small area. This means working with local authorities, neighbouring businesses and travel operators to assess this risk and applying additional mitigations.

Steps could include:

  1. Further lowering capacity – even if it is possible to safely seat a number of people inside a venue, it may not be safe for them all to travel or enter that venue.
  2. Staggering entry times with other venues and taking steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding areas.
  3. Arranging one-way travel routes between transport hubs and venues.
  4. Advising patrons to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the venue.

Local authorities should avoid issuing licenses for events that could lead to larger gatherings forming and provide advice to businesses on how to manage events of this type. If appropriate, the government has powers under schedule 22 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 to close venues hosting large gatherings or prohibit certain events (or types of event) from taking place.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Calculating the maximum number of customers that can reasonably follow social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) at the venue. Taking into account total indoor and outdoor space, specific venue characteristics such as furniture as well as likely pinch points and busy areas.
  2. Where permitted to open, reconfiguring indoor and outdoor seating and tables to maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) between customers of different households or support bubbles. For example, increasing the distance between tables.
  3. Managing the entry of customers, and the number of customers at a venue, so that all customers are seated with appropriate distancing. This is to ensure that the venue, including areas of congestion does not become overcrowded. Managing entry numbers can be done, for example, through reservation systems, social distancing markings, having customers queue at a safe distance for toilets or bringing payment machines to customers, where possible.
  4. Working with your local authority or landlord to take into account the impact of your processes, including queues, on public spaces such as high streets and public car parks.
  5. Working with neighbouring businesses and local authorities to provide additional parking or facilities such as bike-racks, where possible, to help customers avoid using public transport.
  6. Reducing the need for customers to queue, but where this is unavoidable, discouraging customers from queuing indoors and using outside spaces for queueing where available and safe. For example, using some car parks and existing outdoor services areas, excluding disabled car parking bays.
  7. Managing outside queues to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals, other businesses or additional security risks, for example by introducing queuing systems, having staff direct customers and protecting queues from traffic by routing them behind permanent physical structures such as street furniture, bike racks, bollards or putting up barriers.
  8. Providing clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to people on arrival, for example, signage, visual aids and before arrival, such as by phone, on the website or by email.
  9. Ensuring customers are compliant with rules on social contact. This is required under the ‘Covid-secure’ regulations.
  10. Encouraging customers to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the venue.
  11. Ensuring any changes to entrances, exits and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, including disabled customers. For example, maintaining pedestrian and parking access for disabled customers.
  12. Reminding customers who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines.
  13. Where permitted to open, ensure indoor, outdoor and soft play areas are operated safely by following guidance for managing playgrounds and guidance for indoor areas and soft play.
  14. Looking at how people move through the venue and how you could adjust this to reduce congestion and contact between customers, for example, queue management or one-way flow, where possible.
  15. Planning for maintaining social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) in the event of adverse weather conditions, being clear that customers cannot seek shelter indoors.
  16. Where permitted to open, working with neighbouring businesses and local authorities to consider how to spread the number of people arriving throughout the day for example by staggering opening hours; this will help reduce demand on public transport at key times and avoid overcrowding.
  17. Determining if schedules for essential services and contractor visits can be revised to reduce interaction and overlap between people, for example, carrying out services at night.

Ensure indoor, outdoor and soft play areas are operated safely by following guidance for managing playgrounds and guidance for indoor areas and soft play

Managing service of food and drink at a venue

Objective: To manage interactions at the venue resulting from service of food and drink

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Maintaining social distancing (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) from customers when taking orders from customers.
  2. Using social distance markings to remind customers to maintain social distancing (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) where necessary.
  3. Providing only disposable condiments or cleaning non- disposable condiment containers after each use.
  4. Reducing the number of surfaces touched by both staff and customers. For example, asking customers not lean on counters when collecting takeaways.
  5. Encouraging contactless payments where possible and adjusting location of card readers to social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable).
  6. Minimising contact between front of house workers and customers at points of service where appropriate. For example, using screens or tables at tills and counters to maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable).

Takeaway or delivery

Objective: To manage interactions at the venue resulting from selling food and drinks for takeaway or delivery

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. See government guidance on food safety for food delivery.
  2. Encouraging customers to order online, on apps or over the telephone to reduce queues and stagger pick-up times.
  3. Minimising contact between kitchen workers and front of house workers, delivery drivers or riders, for example, by having zones from which delivery drivers can collect packaged food items.
  4. Limiting access to venues for people waiting for or collecting takeaways. Setting out clear demarcation for social distancing (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) for delivery drivers, riders or customers queuing. Asking customers to wait outside or in their cars.
  5. Working with your local authority, landlord and neighbours to ensure designated waiting areas do not obstruct public spaces.

Service at the venue

Objective: To manage interactions at the venue resulting from service of food and drink in indoor and outdoor services areas

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Encouraging use of contactless ordering from tables where available. For example, through an ordering app.
  2. Adjusting service approaches to minimise staff contact with customers. Table service for ordering, service and payment must be used in venues which sell alcohol, whether indoors or outdoors. Consider further measures such as assigning a single staff member per table.
  3. Adjusting processes to prevent customers from congregating at points of service. For example, having only staff collect and return empty glasses to the bar.
  4. Minimising contact between kitchen workers and front of house workers. For example, by having zones from which front of house staff can collect food.
  5. Encouraging use of outdoor areas for service where possible. For example, increasing outdoor seating or outdoor points of service such as stalls.
  6. Not allowing customers to consume food or drink inside the premises unless they are seated.


Objective: To use ventilation to mitigate the transmission risk of COVID-19

Ventilation can be used as a control measure to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Tiny airborne particles can travel further than droplets and in poorly ventilated spaces this can lead to viral particles spreading between people. Good ventilation can reduce this risk.

Good ventilation can be different for areas depending on how many people are in there, how the space is being used, and the particular layout of the area. Therefore you will need to consider the particular ventilation requirements in the area you are considering.

Read advice on air conditioning and ventilation from HSE.

Customer toilets

Objective: To ensure that toilets are kept open and to ensure/promote good hygiene, social distancing, and cleanliness in toilet facilities. Public toilets, portable toilets and toilets inside premises should be kept open and carefully managed to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency and to avoid touching your face, and to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available.
  2. Consider the use of social distancing marking in areas where queues normally form, and the adoption of a limited entry approach, with 1 in, 1 out (whilst avoiding the creation of additional bottlenecks).
  3. To enable good hand hygiene consider making hand sanitiser available on entry to toilets where safe and practical, and ensure suitable handwashing facilities including running water and liquid soap and suitable options for drying (either paper towels or hand dryers) are available.
  4. Setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets, with increased frequency of cleaning in line with usage. Use normal cleaning products, paying attention to frequently hand touched surfaces, and consider use of disposable cloths or paper roll to clean all hard surfaces.
  5. Keeping the facilities well ventilated, for example by fixing doors open where appropriate.
  6. Special care should be taken for cleaning of portable toilets and larger toilet blocks.
  7. Putting up a visible cleaning schedule can keep it up to date and visible.
  8. Providing more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.

Providing and explaining available guidance

Objective: To make sure people understand what they need to do to maintain safety

  • Providing clear guidance on expected customer behaviours, social distancing and hygiene to people on or before arrival, for example on online booking forms and on-site signage and visual aids. Explaining to customers that failure to observe safety measures will result in service not being provided.
  • Providing written or spoken communication of the latest guidelines to both workers and customers inside and outside the venue. You should display posters or information setting out how customers should behave at your venue to keep everyone safe. Consider the particular needs of those with protected characteristics, such as those who are hearing or visually impaired.
  • Where necessary, informing customers that police and the local authorities have the powers to enforce requirements in relation to social distancing and may instruct customers to disperse, leave an area, issue a fixed penalty notice or take further enforcement action.
  • Informing customers that they should be prepared to remove face coverings safely if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purposes of identification.
  • Encouraging workers to remind customers to follow social distancing advice and clean their hands regularly.
  • Where visits to venues are required, for example, inbound supplier deliveries or safety critical visitors, providing site guidance on social distancing and hygiene on or before arrival.
  • Ensuring information provided to customers and visitors, such as advice on the location or size of queues, does not compromise their safety.

We have summarised the salient points in the current government guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services. It is strongly recommended the official government guidance is read in full before reopening your venue.

Note: At the present time, Government advice is that office workers and non operational staff who can work from home should do so.

Protecting people who are at higher risk

Objective: To support those who are at higher risk of infection and/or an adverse outcome if infected

The Public Health England report Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19 shows that some groups of people may be at more risk of being infected and/or an adverse outcome if infected. Read the progress update reports.

The higher-risk groups include those who:

  • are older males
  • have a high body mass index (BMI)
  • have health conditions such as diabetes
  • are from some Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds

You should consider this in your risk assessment. Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are strongly advised to work from home. If they cannot work from home, they should not attend work for this period of restrictions. Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals who cannot attend work for this reason may be eligible for support. See the current guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable.

National lockdown and the clinically extremely vulnerable

Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals are advised not to attend work during the national lockdown. If individuals cannot work from home, then they should not attend work. Employers should consider whether clinically extremely vulnerable individuals can take an alternative role, or change their working patterns temporarily to enable them to work from home. Where that is not possible, employers should not require individuals to attend work, but have a conversation about alternative arrangements including consideration of the use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough).

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Provide support for workers around mental health and wellbeing. This could include advice or telephone support.
  2. See current guidance for advice on who is in the clinically extremely vulnerable and clinically vulnerable groups.

People who need to self-isolate

Objective: To make sure individuals who are advised to stay at home under existing government guidance to stop infection spreading do not physically come to work. This includes individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19, those who live in a household or are in a support bubble with someone who has symptoms and those who are advised to self-isolate as part of the government’s test and trace service.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. By law, employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.
  2. Enabling workers to work from home while self-isolating if appropriate.
  3. See current guidance for employers and employees relating to statutory sick pay due to coronavirus.
  4. Ensuring any workers who have symptoms of COVID-19 – a high temperature, new and persistent cough or anosmia – however mild, should self-isolate for at least 10 days from when the symptoms started. Workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate for at least 10 days starting from the day the test was taken. Where a worker has tested positive whilst not experiencing symptoms but develops symptoms during the isolation period, they should restart the 10-day isolation period from the day the symptoms developed. This only applies to those who begin their isolation on or after 30 July 2020.
  5. Ensuring any workers who are contacts of individuals who test positive for COVID-19 self-isolate for a period of 10 days. Contacts will need to self-isolate for 10 days from the day after contact with the individual who tested positive has taken place.
  6. See the guidance for people who have symptoms and those who live with others who have symptoms.
  7. Ensuring any workers who have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace follows the requirement to self-isolate. See the guidance for those who have been in contact with, but do not live with, a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Bringing Employees Back To Work

Social Distancing – General Considerations

  • Stagger staff shift start, end and break times to avoid crowding
  • Arrange shifts to maintain same staff working where possible
  • Consider splitting teams – minimise occupants physically in the workplace
  • Consider using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) whenever possible
  • Consider how staff are travelling to/from work. Public transport users should be offered additional flexibility
  • Facilitate home/remote working to minimise workplace exposure
  • Offer staff alternative tasks if concerns are raised
  • Creating additional space by using other parts of the workplace that have been freed up by remote working
  • Providing more storage for workers clothes and bags
  • Consider what steps will be taken by managers and staff where visitors/occupants/customers are not following social distancing measures. Shop floor and till areas in a retail setting, reception and communal areas in an office setting
  • Use floor markings inside to facilitate compliance with the social distancing advice of 2 metres or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, particularly in the most crowded areas and where queueing is likely
  • Place clear signage throughout the workplace reminding visitors/customers/occupants of the social distancing measures and asking them to follow these rules
  • Review the layout of the workplace to ensure aisles/walkways are as clear as possible to accommodate 2m social distancing or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable, including the removal of fixtures and obstacles as necessary
  • Consider one-way systems using floor markings and signage to highlight system and direction
  • Make regular announcements to remind staff/customers/visitors/occupants to follow social distancing advice
  • Erect physical barriers at reception areas and till points using flexiplastic to provide a barrier for those operating the space. These should be included in workplace cleaning programmes If necessary, use staff to manage the flow of people in high footfall areas In a retail setting, where till points are close together, consider closing every other till point. Assess whether this is also necessary for self-scan tills In an office setting, consider social distancing for reception staff and contactless methods of registering visitors and occupants
  • Leave non-essential doors open to minimise the number of people who touch them. This does not apply to fire doors
  • Customer order collection points should be set up to ensure the 2 metre separation either by floor markings or by limiting the number of customers that can wait at a time
  • Consider limiting the number of customers or workplace occupants in enclosed spaces such as lifts.
  • Remove promotions and features where customers are likely to congregate, such as product demonstrations or visual display units displaying non critical information in reception areas.
  • In retail settings, to limit congestion, consider restocking/replenishing only outside of store opening hours. If replenishment must be done in opening hours, assess how this can be done without compromising employee or customer safety
  • Encourage cashless purchases
  • Self-checkout/touch screens/keypads – If these remain in operation a member of staff must be available to regularly wipe these areas. Ideally between each use.

Accidents, Security and other Incidents

In the event of an emergency, such as a fire or security threat people do not have to stay 2 meters apart if it would be unsafe to do so. It would be advisable that in such an event particular attention is given to sanitisation measures immediately after the end of the event.

People involved in the provision of assistance to others should pay particular attention to sanitation measures immediately afterwards including washing hands.

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Reviewing your business incident and emergency procedures to ensure they reflect the social distancing principles as far as possible.
  2. Considering whether your business has enough appropriately trained staff to keep people safe. For example, having dedicated staff to encourage social distancing or to manage security.
  3. Considering the security implications of any changes your business intends to make to your operations and practices in response to COVID 19, as any revisions may present new or altered security risks which may need mitigations.
  4. For organisations who conduct physical searches of people, considering how to ensure safety of those conducting searches while maintaining security standards.
  5. Following government guidance on managing security risks.

Changing rooms, Customer Seating and Special Assistance 

Consider keeping changing rooms closed. If this is not possible, you must have a colleague in place at all times to ensure social distancing is maintained. In an office setting, this could be managed with adequate signage and communications.

  • Introducing enhanced cleaning of all facilities regularly during and at the end of the day
  • Where customers require specialist advice/assistance in a retail setting, ensure colleagues giving the advice have a clearly designated position, ideally with a secure barrier as provided at till points
  • Remove or limit customer/visitor seating in store/reception/communal space. If seating is provided, space out appropriately

In store or business products for trial prior to purchase

If you provide in store or business products for customers to trial prior to purchase or use e.g. TV’s, headphones, computers these must be set up to enable social distancing rules to be followed:

  • Consider whether it is better for staff to demonstrate instead of customers/visitors touching the item or provide hand sanitiser in these areas
  • In a retail setting, stop services which require direct interaction with customers such as providing make up advice, nail bars or personal shopping.
  • If workplaces choose not to provide customer/visitor assistance, it is advisable to highlight this prior to purchase. If workplaces are providing this service they should provide suitable protection and advice for this to be conducted safely.

Handling goods, merchandise and other materials

To reduce transmission through contact with objects that come in the store

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. Encouraging increased handwashing and introducing more handwashing facilities for workers and customers or providing hand sanitiser where this is not practical.
  2. Limiting customer handling of merchandise, for example, through different display methods, new signage or rotation of high-touch stock.
  3. Putting in place picking-up and dropping-off collection points where possible, rather than passing goods hand-to-hand.
  4. Staggering collection times for customers collecting items, with a queuing system in place to ensure a safe distance of 2m or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable.
  5. Setting up ‘no contact’ return procedures where customers take return goods to a designated area.
  6. Encouraging contactless refunds, where possible.
  7. Storing items that have been returned, donated, brought in for repair or extensively handled, for example tried on shoes or clothes, in a container or separate room for 48 hours, or cleaning such items with usual cleaning products, before displaying them on the shop floor. Materials used for cleaning can be disposed of normally.
  8. Providing guidance to how workers can safely assist customers with handling large item purchases.
  9. Considering placing protective coverings on large items that may require customer testing or use, for example, furniture, beds or seats. Ensuring frequent cleaning of these coverings between uses, using usual cleaning products.
  10. Cleaning touch points after each customer use or handover. For some examples, such as rental equipment, and test drive and rental vehicles, interior and exterior touchpoints should be considered.

Cafes, Canteen’s and Toilets

Consider whether it is safe to keep customer/visitor toilets open or if these should be available on request

If open, regular cleaning should include manual multi-person touch points such as door handles, flushes, taps, etc.

In a retail setting, Baby changing facilities should be available but consider frequency of cleaning.

Cafes and restaurants should either be closed until further notice or provide take away services only and should be securely closed off to ensure customers do not use them for seating. Social/Physical distancing measures should be taken to manage take away only environments.

Recommendations on how to implement

Ensure all staff are aware of the social distancing measures that are in place and trained on how they should support these measures being observed. Remind staff that social distancing applies in all areas of the workplace, including non-customer facing areas.

Using signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, avoid touching your face and to cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into your arm if a tissue is not available.

Regular and visible written or verbal communication of the government messages

Frequent reminders using the following:

  • Additional signage to ask staff not to turn up for work if they have symptoms.
  • Written communication.
  • Posters and signage.
  • Daily reminders to all staff via noticeboard and/or intranet.

In staff canteens and rest areas government advice is, it is very unlikely that coronavirus is transmitted through food.

Workplace canteens may remain open where there are no practical alternatives for staff to obtain food. As far as reasonably possible, a distance of 2m or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable should be maintained between users.

General Considerations

Regular and visible written/verbal communication of the government messages

Daily reminders about hand washing and correct coughing etiquette using the following:

  • Additional signage
  • Written communication
  • Posters and signage
  • Daily reminders to all staff via noticeboards and/or intranets

Provision of hand sanitiser in high traffic/customer interaction areas such as:

  • Reception Areas
  • Till points or changing rooms, if open
  • Staff rooms
  • Backdoor for staff and delivery drivers
  • Regular cleaning of multi-person contact points including door handles, keypads
  • Provide additional pop-up handwashing stations or facilities if possible. Provide soap, water and hand sanitiser, if available
  • Facilitate regular handwashing breaks for all workplace occupants and staff. Introduce frequent deep cleaning of work areas, with attention to multi contact points. For example, between shifts, staff change overs and/or during breaks.
  • Encourage use of disinfectant wipes to clean all equipment before and after each use.
  • Stagger staff shift start, end and break times to avoid crowding
  • Arrange shifts to maintain same staff working together, where possible
  • Facilitate home/remote working to minimise workplace exposure
  • Offer staff alternative tasks if concerns are raised
  • Have available sufficient gloves, masks and/or visors for those colleagues who require them. If you supply re-useable visors ensure colleagues are reminded to clean them regularly during use, and before and after each use
  • Remind staff not to share items for example, pens when signing in or out
  • Consider how staff security checks can be managed while maintaining social distancing.


  • Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should continue to do so.
  • COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace, and needs to be managed through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering, not through the use of PPE.
  • Workplaces should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 outside clinical settings or when responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Unless you are in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that the role of PPE in providing additional protection is extremely limited. However, if your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, then you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Any PPE provided must fit properly.

Face coverings

By law, staff and customers of venues that provide food and drink will be required to wear a face covering, unless they have an exemption. By law, all businesses must remind customers and staff to wear a face covering where required (for example by displaying posters). You are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until you leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it.

A face covering can be very simple and may be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing isn’t possible. It just needs to cover your mouth and nose. It is not the same as a face mask, such as the surgical masks or respirators used by health and care workers. Similarly, face coverings are not the same as the PPE used to manage risks like dust and spray in an industrial context. Supplies of PPE, including face masks, must continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.

Face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including minimising time spent in contact, using fixed teams and partnering for close-up work, and increasing hand and surface washing. These other measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace and government would therefore not expect to see employers relying on face coverings as risk management for the purpose of their health and safety assessments.

Face coverings are mandatory on public transport and for customers in a number of indoor premises including at pubs, bars, restaurants, cafés and takeaways. Face coverings may be removed when seated to eat or drink in a pub, bar, restaurant or café. You must put a face covering back on once you finish eating or drinking.

Find further detail on when and where to wear face coverings.

Businesses should take reasonable steps to encourage customer compliance for example through in store communications or notices at the entrance. If necessary, police can issue fines to members of the public for non-compliance. Businesses will not be required to provide face coverings for their customers.

Some people don’t have to wear a face covering including for health, age or equality reasons. No one who is exempt from wearing a face covering should be denied entry if they are not wearing one.

Employers must ensure all staff of venues that provide food and drink wear face coverings in areas that are open to the public and where they come or are likely to come within close contact of a member of the public, unless they have an exemption. Employers must not, by law, prevent their staff from wearing a face covering where they are required to do so.

Where face coverings are required for staff, businesses are expected to provide these as part of their health and safety obligations. However, staff are welcome to use their own face coverings if they choose.

If businesses have taken steps to create a physical barrier or screen between workers and members of the public then staff behind the barrier or screen will not be required to wear a face covering. Enforcement action can be taken if barriers and screens are in place which do not adequately mitigate risks.

Businesses already have legal obligations to protect their staff under existing employment law. This means taking appropriate steps to provide a safe working environment, which may include providing face coverings where appropriate, alongside other mitigations such as screens and social distancing Businesses should advise workers how to use face coverings safely.

This means telling workers:

  • wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and before and after removing it
  • when wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands
  • change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
  • continue to wash your hands regularly
  • change and wash your face covering daily
  • if the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions; if it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual waste
  • practise social distancing wherever possible

Please be mindful that the wearing of a face covering may inhibit communication with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.

Shift patterns and working groups

Objective: To change the way work is organised to create distinct groups and reduce the number of contacts each worker has

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. As far as possible, where people are split into teams or shift groups, fixing these teams or shift groups so that where contact is unavoidable, this happens between the same people.
  2. Considering where congestion caused by people flow and ‘pinch points’ can be improved. Using one-way systems, staggered shifts and assigned staff mealtimes are possible ways to minimise the risk of transmission.
  3. You must assist the test and trace service by keeping a temporary record of your staff shift patterns for 21 days and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks. Check what data you need to collect and how it should be managed.

Outbreaks in the workplace

Objective: To provide guidance in an event of a COVID-19 outbreak in the workplace

Steps that will usually be needed:

  1. As part of your risk assessment, you should ensure you have an up to date plan in case there is a COVID-19 outbreak. This plan should nominate a single point of contact (SPOC) where possible who should lead on contacting local Public Health teams.
  2. If there are more than 5 cases of COVID-19 within 14 days associated with your workplace, you should contact your local PHE health protection team to report the suspected outbreak. Find your local PHE health protection team.
  3. If the local PHE health protection team declares an outbreak, you will be asked to record details of symptomatic staff and assist with identifying contacts. You should therefore ensure all employment records are up to date. You will be provided with information about the outbreak management process, which will help you to implement control measures, assist with communications to staff, and reinforce prevention messages.

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