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

Image Alt


Recovery Phase: Office

Business meetings

Objective: To reduce transmission due to face-to-face meetings and maintain social distancing in meetings

Steps that will be needed will include:

  • Preventing the attendance of anyone who is symptomatic; has recently been symptomatic; tested positive for COVID-19; or if they are a contact of someone symptomatic or has been identified by the NHS Test & Trace programme as someone who has been a close contact of a case. See current guidance for people who have symptoms and those who live with others who have symptoms.
  • Avoiding the potential for transmission of COVID-19 during meetings, for example avoiding sharing pens and other objects.
  • Encouraging customers to use handwashing facilities or hand sanitiser (where washing facilities are not available) as they enter the premises to reduce the risk of transmission by touching products or surfaces.
  • Ensuring that meeting rooms are cleaned thoroughly between users and the frequent touch points such as door handles and surfaces are continuously kept clean through an event.
  • Ensuring that social distancing applies to all parts of a premises where the meeting is being conducted, not just the place where people spend most of their time, but also entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and similar settings. These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing.
  • Holding meetings outdoors or in well-ventilated rooms whenever possible. See below for more information on air ventilation.
  • Having socially distanced seating and/or spacing out any tables to meet social distancing requirements.
  • When indoors avoid those speaking doing so directly face to face with other participants whenever possible.
  • Taking steps to avoid loud speaking or shouting, such as not using background music and the use of microphones.
  • For areas where regular meetings take place, using floor signage to help people maintain social distancing.

Conferences and events

In addition to interventions above, the following mitigations should be meticulously applied when planning business and consumer trade events:

  • Crowd Density Standard: at a capacity allowing for compliance with social distancing of 2m, or 1m with mitigation (approximately equivalent to a density of 10㎡ per person)
  • Controlled entry: staggering admission to ensure socially distanced arrival
  • Managing queues outside the venue to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals or other businesses, for example by introducing queuing systems, using barriers and having staff direct customers
  • Controlled flow during an event: introducing one-way systems and timed tickets to control flow and alleviate congestion
  • Providing floor markings, where appropriate, and signage to remind both workers and customers to follow to social distancing wherever possible
  • Assigning appropriately distanced seating where events have a seated element and encourage seated events
  • Ensuring that on site speakers are subject to restrictions on live performances – see performing arts guidance for more information
  • The opening up of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. You should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your business but effective for managing disease transmission risks, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed.

Air extraction and ventilation measures

Ventilation is an important part of mitigating against the transmission of COVID-19. Ventilation into the building should be optimised to ensure a fresh air supply is provided to all areas of the facility and increased wherever possible.

You should consider:

  • Increasing the existing ventilation rate by fully opening dampers and running fans on full speed
  • Operating the ventilation system 24 hours a day
  • Increase the frequency of filter changes
  • In the absence of known ventilation rates, a carbon dioxide sensor shall be used as a surrogate indicator to switch on additional mechanical ventilation or open windows.

Further guidance is provided in the CIBSE COVID-19 Ventilation guidance.

Bringing Employees Back To Work: Industry Specific

Social Distancing

Government guidance states you must maintain social distancing in the workplace wherever possible.

Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to 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.

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)

Social distancing applies to all parts of a business, not just the place where people spend most of their time, but also entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and similar settings. These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing.

  • Stagger staff shift start, end and break times to avoid crowding
  • Arrange shifts to maintain same staff working together, 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 workingProviding 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 programmesIf 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 2m social distancing, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable 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

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:

  • Encouraging increased handwashing and introducing more handwashing facilities for workers and customers or providing hand sanitiser where this is not practical.
  • Limiting customer handling of merchandise, for example, through different display methods, new signage or rotation of high-touch stock.
  • Putting in place picking-up and dropping-off collection points where possible, rather than passing goods hand-to-hand.
  • 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.
  • Setting up ‘no contact’ return procedures where customers take return goods to a designated area.
  • Encouraging contactless refunds, where possible.
  • 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.
  • Providing guidance to how workers can safely assist customers with handling large item purchases.
  • 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.
  • 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.

The New Norm >
< Industry Specific