Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Heritage locations

Guidance for people who work or volunteer in heritage locations.

Applies to: England (see guidance for Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland)

COVID-19 roadmap

The government has published the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England. This explains how restrictions will be eased over time.

This guidance includes changes to restrictions that come into force on 29 March. It will be updated ahead of further steps, which are set out in the roadmap.

What’s changed

This guidance was updated on 16 March 2021:

  • New shorter format focussing on actions to make your workplace COVID-Secure

  • Updated guidance covering Step 1 of the roadmap out of lockdown ## Introduction

In this section:

What this guidance covers

This guidance will help those in the heritage sector understand how to make their workplaces COVID-secure. It covers practical steps that employers, employees and volunteers need to take to work safely.

This includes guidance on how to operate safely within the current restrictions, for those venues which are permitted to operate. It also includes guidance for closed venues, which will help you to prepare for reopening when it is safe to do so.

Who this guidance is for

It is primarily aimed at nationally designated heritage assets such as nationally listed buildings (Grade I, II* or II), scheduled monuments, registered parks and gardens (Grade I, II* or II), cultural World Heritage Sites and registered battlefields. It also covers all archaeological sites, as most archaeological fieldwork is carried out on non-designated archaeological sites.

This guidance is aimed at those who operate, manage or work/volunteer in heritage locations. This includes those who:

  • operate heritage attractions open to the public, such as a castle, historic house, historic park, garden or landscape, industrial heritage monument or open-air site/museum including mobile heritage

  • work or volunteer in sites or places open to the public that occupy an historic structure, site or landscape, such as a place of worship, or a public art gallery which happens to be in a historic building

  • operate businesses in historic premises for example a retail unit in a listed building

  • are specialists or their employers who carry out a range of activities such as site visits, inspections, surveys, excavations, fieldwork, repair, conservation, construction in/on historic buildings or on sites with heritage significance (including work on historic marine sites such as licensees of Protected Wrecks)

This guidance is not intended to apply to the following locations. However some aspects of this guidance are likely to be relevant, and operators can follow these measures where it would help them to manage their locations safely.

  • Historic buildings that are solely private residences.

  • Museum collections. This guidance covers historic buildings that contain museum collections, but not the collections themselves. You should refer to guidance from the Museums Association and the Institute of Conservation.

  • Portable antiquities. See the guidance on searching for archaeological finds in England during COVID-19.

  • Sites designated locally such as conservation areas or buildings on local lists, and other heritage projects with comparable considerations including industrial, maritime and transport heritage assets.

How to use this guidance

  1. You need to do a COVID-19 risk assessment to identify and manage any potential risks. This includes the risks and actions in this document, as well as any you identify that are specific to your business or site. You can find more information about COVID-19 risk assessments in the section on how to do a COVID-19 risk assessment.

  2. This guidance gives you key principles to follow in relation to risks in the workplace for your sector, and suggests actions you should take to mitigate these risks. You should consider how best to mitigate these risks, and take the actions which are most appropriate for your organisation.

  3. This guidance does not supersede any of your existing legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment or equalities.

  4. This guidance applies to volunteers as well as employed staff.

  5. You should follow the steps set out in this guidance as well as reviewing any relevant guidance produced for your sector. For example, you can find detailed advice on reopening museums from the National Museum Directors’ Council, museum collections from the Museums Association and the Institute of Conservation, advice on archeological work from Prospect and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, and advice on cleaning sensitive historic surfaces from Historic England. You can find links in the section on where to find more information.

  6. There are other pieces of guidance which may be relevant to your location, such as guidance for the construction industry (if there is construction underway or planned in your location), and guidance for public places (urban centres and green spaces) (which may apply to your location or public parts of it). You should check the guidance if it applies to your location, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

  7. If there are any additional facilities within your premises (for example, cafes and bars, leisure attractions or retail shops) or you are running certain types of events, there may be additional restrictions on those facilities or activities. You should check the guidance for relevant facilities or events (you can find links in the section on where to find more information) and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

Priority actions to take

When your venue is permitted to open, you should follow all the steps set out in this document in order for your workplace to be COVID-secure. The following key steps are a summary of the priority actions you should take to protect yourself, your staff and your customers.

  1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment, including consideration of the reasonable adjustments needed for staff and customers with disabilities. Share it with all your staff. You can find more information in the section on how to do a COVID-19 risk assessment and HSE guidance.

  2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently. You can find more information in the section on keeping the site clean.

  3. Ask your customers to wear face coverings where required to do so by law, and in any indoor space. This is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. You can find more information on face coverings requirements in the section on face coverings and PPE. You can find more detail on face coverings and exemptions in the government guidance on face coverings.

  4. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one-way system that your customers can follow. You can find more information in the section on working with the public.

  5. Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running fresh air ventilation systems at all times. You can find more information in the section on managing your facility.

  6. Support NHS Test and Trace by displaying an official NHS QR code poster, and keeping records of staff and visitors for 21 days. You can find more information on the requirements for visitor economy settings in the section on NHS Test and Trace, and more detail on how to keep records in the NHS Test and Trace guidance.

  7. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should self-isolate and get a test. You can find more information in the section on people who need to self-isolate.

  8. Ensure customers are aware of the legal limits on group sizes. Check with customers on arrival who they are with and how many people will be attending. Put up signs to remind customers to interact only with their group. You can find more information in the section on working with the public.

  9. Check which activities are permitted at your site under the current rules. Heritage buildings and landscapes can be used for a multitude of different activities, ventures and events and each site is likely to be different. You can find more information in the sections on changes to operations and changes to facilities and services.

  10. Consider if you need consent for any physical interventions. Temporary works needed to allow heritage sites to function safely in response to COVID-19 may be carried out in ways that will not require consent, but you should seek advice as permission may be needed in some cases. You can find more information in the section on temporary works at historic sites.

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National restrictions

In this section:

National restrictions are currently in place in England. Find out about the restrictions and what you can and cannot do

This page includes guidance on how to operate safely within the current restrictions, for those venues which are permitted to operate. It also includes guidance for closed venues, which will help you to prepare for reopening when it is safe to do so.

This guidance includes changes to restrictions that come into force on 29 March. It will be updated ahead of further steps, which are set out in the roadmap.

Key information for your sector

  • Some outdoor heritage locations can be visited for the purposes of exercise and recreation (for example, for a picnic), where they are public outdoor places. Visitors must adhere to the rules on social contact (see below) and should stay local (within the village, town, or part of the city where they live) but can travel a short distance within the local area if necessary (for example, to access an open space). Where possible, you should minimise travel. This applies to outdoor heritage locations including cultural World Heritage Sites and historic parks, gardens, landscapes, ruins and monuments open to the elements, even where entry is paid for.

  • Those outdoor venues that are permitted to remain open can offer food and (non-alcoholic) drinks as a takeaway service.

  • Indoor locations, such as roofed and enclosed historic buildings remain closed, although any grounds including car parks and toilets can remain open, where they can be accessed separately to the indoor attractions.

  • Visitor centres remain closed, at both indoor and outdoor heritage locations. Toilets may remain open.

You can find more information in the guidance on national restrictions, and the section on changes to operations.

Other relevant measures to be aware of

  • Social contact: people can meet outdoors in groups of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households. A group made up of 2 households can include more than 6 people, but only where all members of the group are from the same 2 households (or support/childcare bubbles, where eligible). Social distancing must be maintained between people who do not live together or share a bubble. Indoors, people are not permitted to meet others they do not live with (or share a bubble with). You can find more information in the national restrictions guidance, and the section on working with the public.

  • Events and meetings: Permitted venues, including exhibition and conference centres, can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training purposes, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely. However, they must not host conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, private dining events or banquets. You should check the guidance for the Visitor Economy and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures. You can find more information in the section on meetings and events.

  • Weddings/civil partnerships and funerals: Weddings and civil partnerships are only permitted in exceptional circumstances. You should check the guidance on wedding and civil partnerships receptions and celebrations and funerals and ensure you follow any relevant measures. You can find more information in the section on meetings and events.

  • Hospitality: Hospitality facilities attached to your facility, such as restaurants, bars, pubs and takeaway services, must remain closed, with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. Those outdoor venues and attractions that are permitted to remain open can offer food and (non-alcoholic) drinks as a takeaway service. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery. You can find more information in the section on changes to facilities and services and the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services.

  • Non-essential retail areas must remain closed. You should check the guidance for retail shops, stores and branches, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

  • Leisure, recreation and sport facilities must remain closed. This includes indoor and outdoor sport, leisure facilities, games and recreation facilities. You should check the guidance for sport facilities, and the visitor economy, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

  • Accommodation: hotels and guest accommodation must remain closed, except in specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes. You should check the guidance for hotels and guest accommodation, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

Where a premises or venue delivers a mix of services, only those services that are permitted to be open should be available.

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1. COVID-19 risks

In this section:

1.1 How to do a Covid-19 risk assessment

As an employer, you must protect people from harm. This includes taking reasonable steps to protect your workers and others from coronavirus. This is called a COVID-19 risk assessment and it will help you manage risk and protect people.

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.

While you cannot completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19, you need to think about the risks your staff and others face and do everything reasonably practicable to minimise them. Your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to.

How to do a COVID-19 risk assessment:

COVID-19 is a hazard in the workplace and 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. If you have fewer than 5 workers, or are self-employed, you don’t have to put your risk assessment in writing, but it can be useful to do so.

The Health and Safety Executive has published information on how to do a COVID-19 risk assessment, and you can also find more resources in their general advice on managing risk and risk assessments.

In your risk assessment you should:

  • identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus
  • think about who could be at risk
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
  • act to remove the activity or situation, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk

Your COVID-19 risk assessment should include an up-to-date plan for what you will do in the event of an outbreak in your workplace. This includes nominating a member of staff as the single point of contact (SPOC) who will contact local Public Health teams. You can find more information and resources on handling outbreaks in the section on COVID-19 cases or outbreaks in the workplace.

Your risk assessment should also take into account the impact of your policies on groups who have protected characteristics, and to those who are more at risk of being infected with COVID-19 or have a higher risk of serious illness. You can find more information in the section on protecting people at higher risk.

Consulting your workers

Employers have a duty to consult their workers 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.

You could consult the health and safety representative selected by a recognised trade union or, if there isn’t one, a representative chosen by workers. As an employer, you cannot decide who the representative will be.

Raising concerns:

Employers and workers should always come together to resolve issues.

If concerns still cannot be resolved, you or your workers can contact your employee representative, or your trade union if you have one.

You can also contact HSE’s COVID-19 enquiries team:

1.2 Key actions to include

As an employer, you have a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level by taking preventative measures. You should make sure your risk assessment includes the following key action areas, as well as any risks and issues specific to your organisation, so that everybody’s health and safety is protected.

Remember that a risk assessment is not a fixed document, and you should update it when risks change or new issues occur. You must also review the measures you have put in place to make sure they are working, if there are changes to the law or government guidance which affect your workplace, or if there are changes in the workplace that could lead to new risks.

Key points to consider in your risk assessment:

  1. Ensure that workers, customers and visitors who feel unwell do not come to the workplace. By law, businesses must not require a self-isolating worker to work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating (normally their home). See the section on who should go to the workplace for more information.

  2. Remind customers, visitors and staff to wear face coverings where they are required (e.g. by putting up signs). It is a legal requirement for staff and customers to wear face coverings in certain settings such as retail and hospitality venues, unless an exemption applies. In these settings, businesses also have a legal duty to remind people to wear face coverings. See the section on face coverings and PPE for more information.

  3. Increase the frequency of cleaning for higher-risk areas (such as surfaces) and encourage frequent hand washing. See the section on managing your facility for more information.

  4. Make every reasonable effort to ensure your staff can work safely. This includes consideration of reasonable adjustments for employees or customers with disabilities, including hidden disabilities that are not immediately obvious. This also includes following government guidance on whether staff should work from home. For those who can’t work from home, ensuring that COVID-secure guidance is closely followed in the workplace. See the section on who should go to the workplace for more information.

  5. Ensure that people make every reasonable effort to comply with social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable). Where social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full for a particular activity, consider redesigning the activity or taking further steps (such as using fixed teams or putting up screens) to mitigate risk. See the section on managing your workforce for more information.

  6. Assess the risk levels of relevant activities (and any mitigations you put in place), to determine whether the activities can safely go ahead. If a high-risk activity (such as working face-to-face for a sustained period) cannot be redesigned, consider whether the activity needs to continue for the business to operate and take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risks. Nobody is obliged to work in an unsafe environment, so you should take steps to keep your staff safe and take into account the impact on people with higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. See the section on managing your workforce for more information.

  7. Consider the risks arising from periods of closure. If your building is unoccupied or has reduced occupancy during a period of restrictions, you should take steps to manage any risks that could arise when reopening (for example, by reviewing HSE’s guidance on the risk of legionella). See the section on reopening after a period of closure for more information.

1.3 How to share your risk assessment

You should share the results of your risk assessment to show your workers and customers that you have properly assessed the risk levels and taken appropriate mitigating measures.

What you should do:

  • share the results of your risk assessment with your workforce
  • if possible, consider publishing the results on your website (and we would expect all businesses with more than 50 staff to do so)
  • display the COVID-secure notice (below) in your workplace, to show you have followed this guidance

Download the COVID-secure notice for your workplace.

1.4 COVID-19 cases or outbreaks in the workplace

You should ensure you and any relevant staff (such as managers or supervisors) are aware of the steps to take if there is a case or outbreak of COVID-19 in your workplace.

What you should do:

  1. Ensure you have an up-to-date plan setting out the steps to take if there is a COVID-19 outbreak in your workplace or facility. This includes designating a single point of contact (SPOC) who will lead on contacting local Public Health teams.

  2. Contact your local PHE health protection team if you’ve had an outbreak and need further guidance. 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.

1.5 NHS Test and Trace

The rules on what you need to do when a group enters your venue have changed.

If this applies to your facility, you must ask every customer or visitor to scan the NHS QR code using their NHS COVID-19 app or provide their name and contact details, not just a lead member of the group. This is to ensure everyone receives the necessary public health advice in a timely manner.

Hospitality facilities (including restaurants, cafes or bars within other types of venue) are legally required to refuse entry to those who refuse to check in or provide their contact details.

You can find more information in the guidance on NHS Test and Trace.

If your heritage facility is permitted to open, you may be legally required to keep a record of all visitors, customers and staff on the premises, to support NHS Test and Trace.

This applies to heritage locations open to the public (such as castles, stately homes and other historic houses), but not to unstaffed, unticketed heritage sites that are open to the public (for example, ruins or prehistoric sites) or archaeological and historic sites which are not open to the public.

If this applies to your facility, you need to keep these records for 21 days and make them available when requested by NHS Test and Trace or local public health officials, to help contain clusters or outbreaks. You must also display an official NHS QR code poster so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details.

This is a legal requirement and failure to comply is punishable by fines. You can find more information in the guidance on NHS Test and Trace.

What you must do:

  1. Ask every customer or visitor to provide their name and contact details.

  2. Keep a record of all staff working on your premises and shift times on a given day, and their contact details.

  3. Keep these records of customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and provide data to NHS Test and Trace if requested.

  4. Display an official NHS QR code poster, so that customers and visitors can ‘check in’ using this option, as an alternative to providing their contact details. However, you must still have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details for those who do not have access to a smartphone.

  5. Ensure you manage this information in line with data protection regulations.

You can find out more about these requirements in the guidance on NHS Test and Trace.

If your heritage facility is permitted to open, you may be legally required to keep a record of all visitors, customers and staff on the premises, to support NHS Test and Trace.

This applies to heritage locations open to the public (such as castles, stately homes and other historic houses), but not to unstaffed, unticketed heritage sites that are open to the public (for example, ruins or prehistoric sites) or archaeological and historic sites which are not open to the public.

1.6 Who should go to the workplace

Under the national restrictions, people must not leave or be outside their homes except where necessary for legally permitted reasons. People can leave their homes to go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, only if they cannot reasonably do so from home.

Anyone who can work from home should do so. Those who cannot work from home are permitted to go to their place of work.

You should review your business or facility management plans and consult your employees to determine who needs to come into the workplace, giving extra consideration to those people at higher risk.

What you should do:

  1. Consider the maximum number of people who can be safely accommodated on the site.

  2. Monitor the wellbeing of staff who are working from home and help them to stay connected to the rest of the workforce, especially if the majority of their colleagues are on-site.

  3. Keep in touch with off-site workers on their working arrangements, including their welfare, physical and mental health and personal security.

  4. Provide equipment to allow staff to work from home safely and effectively, such as remote access to work systems. Consider how best to account for different types of needs, including the needs of people with disabilities.

1.7 Protecting people who are at higher risk

There are some groups who are at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. If employees are in these groups, they may be advised to follow additional measures. See guidance on who is at higher risk from coronavirus.

Clinically extremely vulnerable people are at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus. They may be advised to work from home or to follow shielding guidance. You should check the guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, and ensure you are following the latest advice. This may include altering work arrangements if they are advised not to come into the workplace, and providing additional support. Those living with clinically extremely vulnerable individuals who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves can still attend work if they cannot work from home.

Clinically vulnerable people are at moderate risk of severe illness from coronavirus. They should take additional care to follow the relevant guidance in their area, including any specific measures for clinically vulnerable people. You should consider this in your risk assessment, and look at how best to support staff in these groups.

What you should do:

  1. See current guidance on who is at higher risk from coronavirus, and ensure that you are aware of any specific measures for people who are clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable.

  2. Provide support to staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable, and consider options for altering work arrangements if they are advised not to come into the workplace.

  3. Provide mental health and wellbeing support for workers. This could include advice or telephone support.

1.8 People who need to self-isolate

All businesses are prohibited from requiring self-isolating workers to come into work.

If you are made aware of a worker needing to self-isolate, you must ensure that they do not come to the workplace. It is against the law for you to knowingly require or encourage someone who is required to self-isolate to come to the workplace. This includes people with a positive test, people who are advised to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app, and people required to self-isolate in relation to travel.

What you should do:

  1. Ensure workers who are required to self-isolate do not come into the workplace.

  2. Enable staff to work from home while self-isolating, if appropriate.

  3. Ensure you and your staff are familiar with the symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, new and persistent cough, or a loss of/change in sense of taste or smell) and what they should do if they develop symptoms or are required to isolate.

  4. Review guidance for employers and employees on statutory sick pay due to coronavirus.

You can find more information in the guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection, for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus infection who do not live with the person, and what to do if you’re told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app.

1.9 Equality in the workplace

When you are applying this guidance, you should be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers or individuals. For instance, employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage compared to non-disabled people in the workplace.

It is breaking the law to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, ethnicity, sex or disability.

Employers also have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers and those who are new or expectant mothers.

What you should do:

  1. Take steps to understand the particular circumstances of those with different protected characteristics, and take them into account in your working safely policies.

  2. Involve and communicate appropriately with staff whose protected characteristics might either expose them to a different degree of risk, or might make any steps you are thinking about inappropriate or challenging for them.

    Measures such as social distancing may not be possible or will be more challenging for workers with certain disabilities, such as individuals in wheelchairs or with vision impairments. You should discuss with disabled employees what reasonable adjustments can be made to the workplace so they can work safely.

  3. Consider whether you need to put in place any particular measures or adjustments to take account of your duties under the equalities legislation.

  4. Make reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled staff being put at a disadvantage, and assess the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.

  5. Make sure that the steps you take do not have an unjustifiable negative impact on some groups compared to others, for example, those with caring responsibilities or those with religious commitments.

1.10 Testing and vaccinations

It’s important that you continue to follow the working safely measures, even if your employees have:

  • received a recent negative test result
  • had the vaccine (either 1 or 2 doses)

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 can get a free NHS test.

You can also order rapid lateral flow tests, to test employees with no coronavirus symptoms. Anyone with symptoms should get a free NHS test as soon as possible.

Ordering COVID-19 tests for employees with no coronavirus symptoms

You can register to order tests if:

  • your business is registered in England

  • you employ 10 people or more

  • your employees cannot work from home

Register and order COVID-19 tests for your employees

Free test kits will be available until the end of June. However, your organisation must register interest by 12 April (even if you are currently closed and want to receive them at a later date).

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2. Managing operations

In this section:

2.1 Changes to operations

Measures to control the infection rate may restrict your operations, including whether you can open and how people can use your venue. Enforcement action can be taken against businesses or organisations that do not comply with the law. You can find more information on compliance and enforcement in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England.

Business closures

During the current national restrictions, heritage locations (including stately or historic homes, castles and other heritage sites) are subject to restrictions.

  • Indoor locations, such as roofed and enclosed historic buildings remain closed although any grounds including car parks and toilets can remain open, where they can be accessed separately to the indoor attractions.

  • Some outdoor heritage locations can be visited for the purposes of exercise and recreation (for example, for a picnic), where they are public outdoor places. Visitors must adhere to the rules on social contact (see below) and should stay local (within the village, town, or part of the city where they live) but can travel a short distance within the local area if necessary (for example, to access an open space). This applies to outdoor locations at visitor attractions such as cultural World Heritage sites and heritage locations including historic parks, gardens, landscapes, ruins and monuments open to the elements, even where entry is paid for.

  • Visitor centres remain closed, at both indoor and outdoor heritage locations.

You can also open your venue if necessary for a limited number of legally permitted reasons:

  • enabling access by the site owners or managers, staff or people authorised by them (including volunteers) for maintenance where this is reasonably necessary
  • work to ensure readiness to open, such as receiving deliveries of supplies
  • providing essential voluntary or public services (including the provision of food banks or other support to the homeless or vulnerable, hosting blood donation sessions, or support in an emergency)
  • making a film, television programme, audio programme or audio-visual advertisement
  • voting or related activities

Exercise and recreation

Some visitor locations which have outdoor locations can be used by the public for exercise and recreation (such as a picnic), even where the indoor attraction is closed. They can do this alone, with 1 person from another household, or with their household (or support or childcare bubble).

This applies to certain visitor attractions and heritage locations where the outdoor setting is a public outdoor place (regardless of whether entry is paid), such as:

  • the grounds of stately or historic homes
  • the grounds of castles
  • gardens, landscapes, ruins and monuments open to the elements

Where this applies, the outdoor venues and attractions that are permitted to remain open can offer food and (non-alcoholic) drinks as a takeaway service.

Indoor locations at these sites, such as roofed and enclosed buildings, must remain closed, although any grounds including car parks and toilets can remain open where they can be accessed separately to the indoor attractions.

2.2 Changes to facilities and services

Measures to control the infection rate may restrict the facilities or services your venue can provide. If you deliver a mix of services, only those services that are permitted to be open should be available.​ This could mean, for example, that your venue can open (where permitted) but some facilities within it must stay closed.

  • Hotels and guest accommodation within heritage locations must remain closed, except in specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes. You should check the guidance for hotels and guest accommodation, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

  • Hospitality facilities (such as restaurants, bars, pubs and takeaway services) must remain closed, with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. Those outdoor venues and attractions that are permitted to remain open can offer food and (non-alcoholic) drinks as a takeaway service. All food and drink (including alcohol) can be provided by delivery. You should check the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

  • Non-essential retail areas within heritage locations must remain closed. You should check the guidance for retail shops, stores and branches, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

  • Sport, leisure and recreation facilities within heritage locations must remain closed. This includes indoor and outdoor leisure and sports facilities such as courts and greens; riding arenas; archery, driving, shooting ranges; skating rinks and indoor play centres. You can find more information in the guidance for sport facilities and the guidance for the visitor economy.

2.3 Specific considerations for heritage facilities

COVID-secure guidance should be implemented without compromising historic locations.

You should follow the measures set out in this COVID-secure guidance, but consider how to implement or adapt them to take account of the specific needs of your heritage site. You should ensure that historic fabric is protected, but where measures cannot be implemented to make a site, area or activity safe, it should not be opened to the public.

What you should do (where permitted to open):

  • Consider how best to inform and remind visitors of special measures, particularly if they are complex, varied or likely to be forgotten. For example, you could reinforce messages on signs through spoken communication from a greeter or curators, or designate staff as ‘social distancing champions’ to remind customers to follow relevant guidance.
  • Adapt measures to your site. You should consider different ways to implement safety measures that do not cause issues for historic buildings or materials, such as communicating information and one-way routes through temporary barriers or standalone signs, rather than posters. Temporary floor markings (e.g. using tape, stickers, reversible paint or signs) can also be used, although care should be taken when using any adhesives or marking materials as they may damage sensitive floor materials (particularly if in place for extended periods).
  • Ensure that measures maintain accessibility. Where routes are revised (e.g. through implementing one-way systems) consider how to ensure they remain accessible to all visitors. Where temporary routes are not accessible to people using wheelchairs, you must make every effort to find a practical alternative (e.g. using alternative entrances and exits for users in wheelchairs and carers).
  • Take a proportionate approach. A famous stately home popular with guests may need a mix of approaches (regular signs on visitor routes, and staff on-hand to remind visitors of special measures and social distancing), while an isolated archaeological site or remote historic structure is unlikely to need any specific signs or special measures.
  • Discourage people from touching shared equipment or surfaces, except where this is necessary (e.g. holding a stair handrail for safety). Increase cleaning of higher-risk areas such as handrails.
  • Consider how to safeguard historic fabric without jeopardizing the safe movement of staff and visitors. Historic buildings such as places of worship or ruined structures often have constrained spaces such as small rooms, narrow staircases and limited entrance or exit points, which prevent social distancing being fully implemented. However, in most cases, some access will still be possible, for example by limiting the number of people entering the space or staggering entrance and exit times. You should consider measures to avoid overcrowding at entrances and exits and ensure social distancing can be maintained in queues.
  • Consider the cumulative effect when a number different risks cannot be fully managed. For example a narrow, uneven stairwell where social distancing cannot be maintained, with steep steps so visitors are reliant on ropes that cannot be regularly cleaned, in tight spaces where hand sanitiser cannot be provided - in this scenario the cumulative issues represent a high level of risk to visitors and staff, and areas which can only be accessed via this route should stay closed (even if the areas themselves are low-risk).
  • Consider how best to minimise risk in outdoor areas (such as historic parks, gardens and archaeological sites). This could mean different ways of creating temporary visitor routes and one-way systems, such as creating mown paths in grassland. You should avoid placing routes (and equipment such as bins and benches) over archaeological features or earthworks, or damaging garden planting or features. Monitor routes for visitor erosion and revise them as needed to protect your site.
  • Minimise transmission risk when using shared/corporate vehicles such as minibuses. Where these are necessary (e.g. to take visitors from one part of a large heritage site to another) consider ways to minimise risk. This could include lowering the number of passengers in the vehicle at one time, and leaving empty seats between passengers. See the section on work-related travel for more information, or see the guidance for safer travel.
  • Consider whether activities can be managed safely as part of your risk assessment. If an activity cannot take place safely, you should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and if so take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission. For example, allowing visitors to observe heritage specialists carrying out excavations may be possible by implementing social distancing. However, if the activity is in an enclosed space, additional measures may be required, such as installing temporary screens).
  • Where risks cannot be addressed, consider alternative ways to deliver activities. If risks cannot be managed for a particular activity, the activity should not go ahead. However, you should consider alternative ways to deliver the activity, such as live-streaming the activity to audiences in a safer space or at home, or using social media to engage the public in the activity.
  • Review any relevant guidance for specific property types (such as the guidance for places of worship), specific activities that may take place on your site (such as metal-detectoring - see the guidance on searching for archaeological finds) or sector-specific advice (such as guidance on cleaning and managing historic locations from Historic England).

Tax, consent and planning permission

Closures and tax-exemptions

Where heritage locations fall under the Conditional Exemption Tax Incentive Scheme, it may not be possible for owners to meet all their undertakings due to local or national restrictions.

Additional measures taken as a result of Covid-19 restrictions, including closing or delaying the opening of national heritage locations, will not be considered to have broken their agreement.

You can find more information in the guidance on capital taxation and tax-exempt heritage assets.

Consent and planning permission

You should consider whether you will require consent or planning permission for any physical interventions or safety measures taken at your location.

Where physical alterations are necessary that affect a listed building or scheduled monument, listed building consent (LBC) or scheduled monument consent (SMC) will be required.

Temporary works needed to allow heritage sites to function safely in response to COVID-19 may be carried out in ways that will not require consent, but you should confirm this by seeking appropriate advice, from your local planning authority (in relation to LBC) or Historic England (in relation to SMC).

You can find more information in the section on temporary works at historic sites.

2.4 Meetings and events

Restrictions apply to meetings and events, which may affect your heritage location if it contains facilities for meetings and events.

Permitted venues, including exhibition and conference centres, can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training purposes. This includes, for example:

  • exams for a group of students from the same school, college or university
  • mandatory or work-critical training courses, such as training towards a formal qualification
  • hiring a venue to provide additional office space where this is essential to allow safe social distancing of employees from the same company

If venues have multiple, separate meeting facilities, these can be hired out simultaneously for separate meetings/events if the groups can be kept separate.

Business meetings and events

Meetings and events are only permitted under certain circumstances. Where meetings and events are permitted, social distancing should be maintained and the venue should demonstrate it has followed COVID-secure guidance. More information can be found in the guidance for the visitor economy, and in other guidance for specific types of event, such as guidance for the performing arts.

  • Permitted venues, including exhibition and conference centres, can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training purposes, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely. However, you must not host conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, private dining events or banquets.

  • In-person meetings for work, training or education purposes should only take place where they cannot be delayed or reasonably be conducted remotely, and only where social distancing can be maintained and the venue can demonstrate it has followed COVID-19 guidance.

  • Essential events must not contain social elements such as receptions, and hospitality areas remain subject to restrictions (you can find more information in the sections on changes to facilities and services , and hospitality (food and drinks) in HOTELS settings.

  • Some venues or facilities which would otherwise be closed can open for a small number of exempt activities, such as elite sport training and competition, performing arts training/rehearsal and filming (without an audience), childcare and supervised activities for children, and to enable the provision of medical treatment, blood donation and food banks.

  • Other events which do not meet the above requirements, including guided tours and illumination trails, are not permitted.

Weddings/civil partnerships and funerals

Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals can take place, however there are limitations on the types of activity and the number of guests who can attend.

  • Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are only permitted in exceptional circumstances, for example where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery. Ceremonies can only take place in a COVID-secure venue or a public outdoor space, with a maximum of 6 attendees.

  • Wedding and civil partnership celebrations are not permitted.

  • Funerals are permitted with strict limits on attendance, and must only take place in COVID-19 secure venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances.

  • Funerals can be attended by up to 30 people. Wakes and other commemorative events are permitted and can be attended by up to 6 people.

  • People are permitted to stay away from their homes overnight in order to attend a funeral or related commemorative event.

Where they are permitted, strict social distancing should be maintained by those who do not live together or share a support bubble. Where there are capacity limits, these do not apply to venue/site staff, who are not counted towards the number of attendees. You should check the guidance for wedding and civil partnerships receptions and celebrations and funerals and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

Outdoor events are not currently permitted under the national restrictions. This includes drive-in performances or cinemas, air shows, agricultural shows, carnivals, funfairs, fetes, steam rallies, community fairs, car boot sales, firework displays, flower shows, gardening events, historical re-enactment events, literature fairs, animal and pet shows.

You can find more information in the guidance for visitor economy settings (including business events, large events, attractions and leisure events).

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3. Managing visitors

In this section:

3.1 Working with the public

There is a legal requirement for certain settings to implement COVID-secure guidelines. This includes ensuring customers adhere to social distancing guidance and legal gathering limits. You can find more information on social distancing in the guidance on stopping the spread of coronavirus.

Clear communication to customers, visitors, guests and audiences is important, to ensure that they take all reasonable measures to comply with social distancing and hygiene measures throughout their visit.

You should also take into account the legal gathering limits that apply, as these may affect the types of activity that can take place, and how many people can gather or mix (particularly for indoor activities).

Social contact rules and gathering limits

You should ensure your facility operates in line with the national restrictions and legal gathering limits.

Outdoors

  • People can meet in groups of up to 6 people, or as a group of 2 households. A group made up of 2 households can include more than 6 people, but only where all members of the group are from the same 2 households (or support/childcare bubbles, where eligible).
  • Social distancing must be maintained between people who do not live together or share a bubble.
  • People can meet in all outdoor settings, including private gardens and outdoor sport facilities.
  • Different rules apply when participating in organised sport. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations, and grassroots sport guidance for the public and sport providers.

Indoors:

  • People are not permitted to meet others they do not live with (or share a bubble with).

Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble. People should minimise travel and avoid making unnecessary journeys (for example, by combining their trips where possible). Overnight stays are not permitted.

You can find more information in the national restrictions guidance.

Businesses should not intentionally facilitate gatherings that breach legal gathering limits, and you must take all reasonable steps to ensure that customers comply with the limits on gatherings.

You should not take bookings for a greater number of people than is permitted, or allow such groups to enter. You should also ensure that customers are aware of the rules on gathering limits and what this means in your facility. You can find more information on enforcement and fines in the relevant coronavirus regulations.

3.2 Minimising transmission through contact

Where permitted to open to the public, you should minimise the risk of transmission for your customers, guests, visitors or audience members, by minimising contact opportunities.

Considerations for heritage attractions (when permitted to reopen):

  1. Consider whether your location requires additional measures to allow for social distancing. Older buildings often have a complex layout, which may make it difficult to manage the flow of visitors and customers in a socially distanced way. You should consider the best way to manage this for your facility, for example by temporarily suspending guided groups, implementing one-way systems or keeping closed sections of the building which make visiting unsafe.

  2. Ensure you have appropriate measures in place to avoid crowding. This may involve restricting numbers, and contingency measures to avoid crowding in, at or near the property.

  3. Remove or restrict visitor interpretation material that visitors are normally encouraged to touch, including items of clothing.

  4. Clean shared equipment (such as audio guides) between use by different people. Take steps to minimise risk to staff handling the equipment.

  5. Take steps to ensure people (such as tour leaders) do not need to shout or raise their voices, as this can increase the risk of transmission. This may include revising tour schedules so that visitor groups are not in the same space simultaneously, or refraining from playing music or broadcasts at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult.

  6. Reconfigure entertainment spaces so that customers are seated (in fixed, socially distant positions) rather than standing, where possible.

  7. Minimise contacts around transactions, for example by using online booking and pre-payment and encouraging contactless payments wherever possible.

3.3 Providing and explaining relevant guidance

Where permitted to open to the public, you should provide and explain any relevant guidance to make sure people understand how to use your facility safely.

You must take all reasonable steps to ensure that customers comply with the limits on gatherings. You should not take bookings for a greater number of people than is permitted, or allow such groups to enter. You should also ensure that customers are aware of the rules on gathering limits and what this means in your facility.

You also have a legal duty to remind people to wear face coverings, if this is required in your facility. See the section on face coverings and PPE for more information.

What you should do (where permitted to open):

  1. Consider how you can inform visitors of any relevant guidance and changes to processes in advance of their visit, for example on your website, when booking by phone or email, and in your digital marketing.

  2. Ensure that visitors are aware of the rules on gathering limits, and how this affects your facility and the services you offer. For example, ensuring your website informs customers of any group limits before they book, and that they are made aware of any guidance on how to behave when they arrive.

  3. Provide clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to visitors on arrival, for example through signs and visual aids at entrances. Make sure to consider the needs of people with protected characteristics, for example those who are hard of hearing or visually impaired.

  4. Consider other ways you can communicate relevant information to visitors throughout their visit, for example spoken communication from a greeter or reception staff, or designating staff as ‘social distancing champions’ to remind customers to follow relevant guidance.

  5. Inform visitors of the rules on face coverings and how this applies to your facility. See the section on face coverings and PPE for more information.

  6. Consider how you can ensure this information is communicated to all of your customers, for example those who do not speak English as a first language, and those with protected characteristics (e.g. people who are hard of hearing or visually impaired).

3.4 Capacity, queuing and avoiding crowds

Where permitted to open to the public, you should carefully manage the number of visitors in your facility, and their movements, to ensure that social distancing can be maintained and avoid crowding.

What you should do (when permitted to open):

  1. Manage the number of visitors to your facility to ensure that social distancing can be maintained. Some businesses and organisations also have specific capacity limits relevant to their sector.

  2. Enforce capacity limits by managing ticket sales and entry, for example, by implementing timed ticketing or asking customers to book ahead where possible. You must take all reasonable steps to adhere to social contact restrictions when taking a booking and managing entry (and advising groups not to break the rules when on the premises) or you will be breaking the law.

  3. If your facility organises events or activities where large numbers of people attend at the same time, put in place measures to ensure that social distancing can be maintained in queues and within the premises.

  4. Consider the cumulative impact of many venues reopening in the local area. You should think about how to collaborate with local authorities, neighbouring businesses, travel operators and Local Transport Authorities to assess this risk and apply any additional mitigations required.

Additional mitigations could include:

  • 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)
  • staggering entry times with other venues and taking steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding areas
  • arranging one-way travel routes between transport hubs and venues
  • advising patrons to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the venue

4. Managing your workforce

In this section:

4.1 Social distancing for staff

You should maintain social distancing in the workplace wherever possible. This means ensuring that all staff adhere to social distancing guidance by maintaining 2 metres distance from others (or where 2m is not possible, at least 1m with additional risk mitigations, such as wearing face coverings or opening windows to increase ventilation).

Social distancing applies to all parts of a premises where business is conducted, not just areas open to the public. This includes work areas where people spend most of their time, but also entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and other settings. These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing, so you should consider the most appropriate measures for your facility.

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 you could take for higher-risk activity:

  • increasing the frequency of cleaning, including disinfecting of heavy footfall and frequent touch points such as surfaces and door handles, with particular attention to shared showers, changing rooms, and toilets/restrooms
  • encouraging staff to wash hands frequently, and providing hand sanitiser in areas with poor access to hand washing
  • keeping activity time as short as possible
  • using screens or barriers to create a physical barrier between individuals or workspaces (particularly where an individual is in contact with a high volume of people, such as reception or ticket office staff)
  • avoiding face-to-face working wherever possible, for example by arranging desks/workspaces so that staff are back-to-back or side-to-side
  • reducing the number of people each individual has contact with, for example by using fixed teams or partnering so that each person works with only a few others

Additional considerations for heritage locations (where permitted to open):

  1. Consider different ways to implement safety measures that do not cause issues for historic buildings or materials, such as communicating information and one-way routes through temporary barriers or standalone signs, rather than posters. Ensure cleaning materials and schedules are appropriate for historic surfaces and materials (see the section on keeping your site clean and Historic England’s guidance on cleaning and disinfecting historic surfaces).

  2. Consider how best to increase ventilation in a way which does not endanger historic items. Doors and windows can be propped open if they do not cause an environmental, collection, safety, fire or security risk. You may need to review your fire safety and other arrangements especially if you have reduced staff, are reconfiguring spaces or closing rooms.

  3. Consider how to install any relevant safety equipment, such as screens, in a way which does not cause damage to a historic building or archaeological site.

  4. Use alternative or temporary measures to ensure you do not cause damage to important historic locations or materials. This could mean using temporary floor markings to ensure social distancing, although care should be taken when using any adhesives or marking materials as they may damage sensitive floor materials (particularly if in place for extended periods).

4.2 Communications and training

You should ensure that workers are informed of relevant safety measures implemented or updated.

What you should do:

  1. Engage with workers and worker representatives through existing communication routes to explain and agree any changes in working arrangements.

  2. Ensure staff returning to the workplace are given any relevant training or updated guidance in advance, particularly where it relates to new procedures for arrival at work. Use remote or visual communication to explain changes where possible, to reduce the need for face-to-face communications.

  3. Provide clear, consistent and regular communication of any relevant safety measures or changes to policy/procedure. Use simple messaging to explain guidelines using images and clear language, with consideration of those for whom English is not their first language.

  4. Ongoing engagement with workers (including through trades unions or employee representation groups) to monitor implementation of changes to working environments, and understand any unforeseen impacts.

  5. Communicate approaches and operational procedures to suppliers, customers or trade bodies to help their adoption and to share experience.

  6. Increase awareness and focus on the importance of mental health at times of uncertainty. This may include sharing guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19).

4.3 Workplaces and workstations

Workstations should be assigned to an individual wherever possible. If they need to be shared, they should be shared by the smallest number of people possible and cleaned frequently.

For people who work in one fixed place, workstations should allow them to maintain social distancing wherever possible. If it is not possible for workstations to be sufficiently far apart, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and if so take all mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission.

What you should do:

  1. Review layouts to ensure workspaces are spaced to allow for social distancing. If fixed workspaces cannot be moved, consider leaving empty desks or workspaces between individuals.

  2. Avoid face-to-face working wherever possible, for example by arranging desks/workspaces so that staff are back-to-back or side-to-side.

  3. Consider using screens or barriers to create a physical barrier between individuals or workspaces (particularly where an individual is in contact with a high volume of people, such as reception or ticket office staff).

  4. Reduce the number of people each individual has contact with by using fixed teams or a consistent pairing system, particularly if people have to work in close proximity (such as maintenance activities that cannot be redesigned).

  5. Consider using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people socially distance.

  6. Minimise contacts around transactions, for example by using contactless payments wherever possible.

  7. Ensure that demonstrations or other promotional activities are designed to minimise direct contact and to maintain social distancing.

4.4 Shift patterns and working groups

You should review working patterns to minimise risk to staff by reducing the number of contacts each worker has.

What you should do:

  1. Consider ways to minimise staff contacts and exposure, for example through staggered shifts and assigned staff mealtimes. You should take into account the particular circumstances of those with protected characteristics, including disability, maternity and religion, and how they may be impacted by changes to shift patterns.

  2. Consider revising schedules for planned work and essential services to minimise contact with other staff and customers, for example by carrying out services at night or less busy times of the day.

  3. Where workers are split into teams or shift groups, consider fixing these teams or shift groups so that any unavoidable contact is between the same people.

    How to use fixed teams/groups:

    — Group individuals into fixed teams that work together throughout a production or project, or for specific periods, to minimise the risk of transmission beyond these fixed teams.

    — Keep fixed teams in separate areas or scheduling breaks at different times, to minimise risk during breaks or when moving around a venue.

    — Ensure that there is no swapping between designated fixed teams. This is to reduce the risk of whole-team impact in the event of one member of a team contracting COVID-19.

    — Ensure that support workers for disabled workers or performers are included as a member of the fixed team.

  4. Identify areas where people have to directly pass things to each other (such as equipment and supplies) and finding ways to remove direct contact, for example by using drop-off points or transfer zones.

  5. Assist NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of staff shift patterns for 21 days and providing the data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks (see the section on NHS Test and Trace for more information, or read the guidance on NHS Test and Trace).

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5. Managing your facility

In this section:

5.1 Reopening after a period of closure

If your site or location has been closed or partially operated during a period of restrictions, you should make sure it is clean and safe before you reopen.

What you should do:

  1. Check whether you need to service or adjust ventilation systems so that they do not automatically reduce ventilation levels due to lower than normal occupancy levels.

    Most air conditioning systems do not need adjustment, however where systems serve multiple buildings, or you are unsure, advice should be sought from your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers or advisers.

  2. Open windows and doors frequently to encourage ventilation, where possible.

  3. Consider the risks arising from periods of closure. If your building is unoccupied or has reduced occupancy during a period of restrictions, you should review HSE’s guidance on the risk of legionella.

5.2 Keeping the site clean

You should ensure that you keep the workplace clean and safe. This includes minimising potential transmission routes by cleaning surfaces and touchpoints, and minimising use of shared objects.

What you should do:

  1. Frequent cleaning of work areas, equipment, bathrooms and other high-traffic areas, using your usual cleaning products.

  2. Frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces that are touched regularly, including door handles, lift buttons and handrails, and making sure there are adequate disposal arrangements for cleaning products.

  3. Clear workspaces and remove waste and belongings from the work area at the end of a shift.

  4. If you are cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19 then you should follow the measures set out in the guidance for cleaning in non-healthcare settings.

  5. Provide extra waste facilities for staff and visitors to dispose of single-use face coverings and PPE. You should refer to the guidance on disposing of personal or business waste during the coronavirus pandemic for more information.

  6. Maintain good ventilation by opening windows and doors, where possible.

  7. Consider wedging doors open to reduce touchpoints where appropriate. This does not apply to fire doors, which should be kept closed.

Specific considerations for heritage locations:

  • Ensure cleaning materials and schedules are appropriate for historic surfaces and materials. Some historic surfaces are vulnerable to damage through inappropriate cleaning, for example with strong chemicals (such as concentrated bleach).
  • Consider the most effective ways of regularly cleaning sensitive historic surfaces in high-traffic areas (such as entrances / stairways and offices in listed buildings) or touchpoints (such as handrails and surfaces) without causing lasting damage to them.
  • Consider alternative approaches where increased frequency or intensity of cleaning would be damaging to a surface or material. For example, placing temporary covers over sensitive surfaces before cleaning other areas, or leaving areas empty for appropriate periods between visits.
  • Review specialist advice. You should review Historic England’s guidance on cleaning and disinfecting historic surfaces, or consult specialists for advice on particularly sensitive historic materials.

5.3 Hygiene: washing hands, sanitation and toilet facilities

You should take steps to ensure that good levels of hygiene are maintained throughout the facility.

What you should do:

  1. Use signs and posters to build awareness of good hand-washing technique, the need to increase hand-washing frequency, and good hygiene practices like avoiding touching your face and coughing or sneezing into your arm. Considering how to ensure safety messages reach those with hearing or vision impairments.

  2. Frequently clean toilet facilities. Set clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets to ensure they are kept clean and social distancing can be maintained, including putting up a visible and up-to-date cleaning schedule. Special care should be taken for cleaning of portable toilets and larger toilet blocks.

  3. Provide hand sanitiser in toilet facilities as well as areas where there may be a higher risk of transmission (such as reception and entrance foyers, doorways and lifts). You should check frequently to ensure you maintain adequate supplies at all times, and ensure that any equipment placed is accessible to, and does not impede, wheelchair users.

  4. Keep the facilities well-ventilated, for example by opening doors and windows where possible.

  5. Increase the number of waste facilities and frequency of rubbish collection.

  6. Use disposable paper towels in hand-washing facilities where possible.

  7. Minimise the use of portable toilets. Special care should be taken for cleaning of portable toilets and larger toilet blocks.

5.4 Moving around buildings

You should ensure that social distancing can be maintained wherever possible while people travel to, through, and from the workplace.

Arriving and leaving:

  1. Ensure you and your staff are familiar with the Department for Transport’s guidance on safer travel. Consider ways to help people walk or cycle to work if they can, such as installing bike racks.

  2. Consider staggering arrival and departure times, where appropriate, to reduce crowding into and out of the workplace (making sure to consider the impact on those with protected characteristics).

  3. Take steps to minimise transmission risk when using corporate vehicles such as work minibuses. This could include lowering the number of passengers in the vehicle at one time, and leaving empty seats between passengers.

  4. Reduce congestion around entry and exit points, for example by having more entry points to the workplace if possible, and introducing one-way flow with markings and signage.

  5. Provide hand washing facilities or hand sanitiser at entry and exit points and ensure it is accessible.

  6. Consider alternatives to touch-based security devices (such as keypads), for example so that staff can show a pass to security personnel from a distance. If touch-based security devices are necessary, adjust processes to reduce the risk of transmission (for example by cleaning pass readers regularly, and asking staff to hold their passes near readers rather than touching them).

    Within the facility:

  7. Reduce movement by discouraging non-essential trips within buildings and sites, for example by restricting access to some areas, or encouraging use of radios or telephones (note that items shared by staff members will require cleaning between users).

  8. Introduce one-way flow through buildings. Provide floor markings and signage to remind both workers and customers to follow social distancing guidance wherever possible.

  9. Regulate use of high-traffic areas including corridors, lifts, turnstiles and walkways to maintain social distancing.

  10. Provide accessible hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts, and reduce maximum occupancy to ensure that social distancing can be maintained. Encourage the use of stairs instead of lifts wherever possible, but ensure that people with disabilities are able to access lifts.

  11. Consider the needs of those with protected characteristics, such as those who are hearing or visually impaired.

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5.5 Temporary works at historic sites

Where physical alterations that affect listed buildings or scheduled monuments are necessary, listed building consent (LBC) or scheduled monument consent (SMC) is usually required. However, if temporary works are needed to allow heritage sites to function safely in response to COVID-19, they can be carried out in ways that will not require consent, but you should confirm this by seeking appropriate advice, from your local planning authority (in relation to LBC) or Historic England (in relation to SMC).

There are a number of ways in which physical interventions can be undertaken without damaging the historic fabric of listed buildings, and which do not affect what is important about a place (the ‘special interest’ in the case of a listed building). For example, temporary structures such as gazebos can be erected in the grounds of designated heritage assets to provide shelter for queueing visitors. These types of interventions will not need LBC (although planning permission may be required - see the box below).

It is an offence to carry out unauthorised works to a listed building, a scheduled monument or a protected wreck.

If you are unsure of a site’s status, speak to the local planning authority (in the case of listed buildings) or Historic England (in the case of scheduled monuments or protected wrecks).

Key points for heritage locations:

  • Check which system applies to your heritage location. This may be LBC, SMC or another system (for example, many places of worship are exempt from LBC as they have a parallel system of management). On a complex site with multiple structures, more than one system may apply. You can find more information on the different systems below, in the section on guidance for different types of facility. You should check with your local planning authority and Historic England which system applies to your location and follow the relevant processes.

  • Record any measures taken on your risk assessment, including changes to processes or physical alterations to heritage assets. The site operator should review changes regularly to ensure they are effective, and that they are not causing permanent damage to the historic fabric.

  • Check if you need planning permission or advertising consent. Planning permission may be required for some temporary changes (such as installing a gazebo in the grounds of a designated heritage asset), even where LBC or SMC is not. Advertising consent may be needed for changes involving signage. You should check whether consent or permission are required for your planned works with your local planning authority (or Historic England in relation to SMCs).

  • When installing temporary structures such as gazebos, ensure they are not located in archaeologically sensitive areas. The insertion and removal of spikes and fixings can damage underlying archaeology. You can find further advice from Historic England on installing temporary structures.

  • Contact sector specialists (such as the Historic England regional office) if you need advice. Sector bodies can help you to understand what you need to do, or suggest alternative ways in which COVID-19 mitigation measures might be achieved without the need for consent, for example by locating them away from the monument.

5.6 Guidance for different types of facility

Scheduled Monuments

  • Most interventions to scheduled monuments will require SMC to be obtained in advance.
  • If you are considering works to a scheduled monument (temporary or otherwise), you should contact the relevant Historic England regional office, who can suggest ways to implement safety measures without the need for consent.

World Heritage Sites

  • Some parts or elements of World Heritage Sites may also have a national designation, and must follow this guidance to operate in a COVID-Secure way. However they should also be aware of any advice issued by relevant bodies such as World Heritage Site Coordinators and their Steering Groups.
  • It is the responsibility of individual operators to assess their site to determine whether it is safe to allow public access. Extensive World Heritage Sites, such as the City of Bath, will contain many individual historic commercial premises, attractions and publicly accessible historic spaces, and should ensure they have reviewed guidance for the relevant areas and types of facility within their site.

Marine sites

  • Marine wrecks may be designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 (PoWA), the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 (PoWRA) or as Scheduled Monuments.
  • It is an offence to carry out unauthorised works to a protected wreck or scheduled monument. If you are unsure of a site’s status, speak to Historic England and the Marine Management Organisation.
  • All professional and recreational divers should comply with HSE regulations and relevant guidance on safe diving.
  • Social distancing measures should be implemented where possible and practical, including at dive centres and dive boat transit for both crew and divers.

Places of Worship

  • Many places of worship are exempt from LBC as they have a parallel system of management in place. You should check with your local planning authority and Historic England which system applies to your location and follow the relevant processes.
  • In the case of churches where the religious group or denomination benefits from ecclesiastical exemption, works to listed churches are controlled by the denomination, except where the works need planning permission (mostly works to the exteriors of churches).
  • The denomination’s special advisers will be able to advise the congregations of those churches as to which works need consent, and may also be able to advise on appropriate relaxations of the system in some generic circumstances.

Listed Buildings

Many works to listed buildings require consent, even for limited or temporary works. However, where temporary works are necessary in order to operate safely within Covid-19 restrictions, local planning authorities may choose to apply the consent and permission systems flexibly, with the benefit of appropriate specialist advice.

Some examples of work which may not require Listed Buildings Consent are listed below. This should not be treated as a definitive list, given the wide variety and unique nature of historic buildings and sites, and the impact of measures will differ. You can find more information on consent in Historic England guidance, or speak to your local planning authority.

You should also remember that some works may also require planning permission, and some new signage may require advertisement consent.

LBC may not be needed

An LBC is unlikely to be needed where you are adding or installing temporary measures which do not cause any permanent damage. This could include:

  • installing temporary screens
  • temporarily covering surfaces
  • adding temporary floor markings and signage
  • ‘boxing-in’ particularly sensitive features
  • adding temporary lightweight shelter structures (such as gazebos or marquees)
  • installing temporary ramps in new accessible routes
  • adding temporary signs to indicate new/one-way routes
  • adding temporary freestanding barriers, signs and hand sanitiser stations

LBC likely to be needed

An LBC is more likely to be required where the work is invasive or non-reversible. This could include:

  • inserting safety screens or barriers that remove or cut through historic detailing (such as decorative cornices or coving), or where chases are cut into historic wall surfaces
  • removing or altering features such as historic handrails, even if for a temporary period
  • Installing signage intended to be permanent, and which affects the physical fabric and/or visual appearance of the structure
  • widening doors, making new openings, inserting permanent ramps, removing stairs or other permanent alterations for new staff, customer or visitor flows
  • making extensive nail or screw holes important historic fabric in order to secure screens, barriers or other structures

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6. Face coverings and PPE

In this section:

6.1 Face coverings

Face coverings are required in many public indoor places, as well as settings like public transport. This can apply to both staff and visitors, unless they have a valid reason for not wearing one (such as a medical exemption or other permitted reason). If this applies to your business, you have a legal duty to remind your customers to wear face coverings where it is mandated. You should ensure you are aware of the rules on face coverings and how this applies to your facility.

If face coverings are not required in your facility, you should consider asking or encouraging your customers and visitors to wear them. It is strongly encouraged that everyone wears face masks in enclosed public spaces (even where it is not legally required), particularly where social distancing may be difficult or where people may come into contact with others they do not live with or share a support bubble with.

If staff are not legally required to wear face coverings, you should review the risks in your workplace, and assess the need for face coverings on a case-by-case basis. You may want to encourage staff to wear face coverings in the workplace, particularly if social distancing is difficult in their role, or they are likely to have to interact with people from outside their household or support bubble. You should support your workers if they choose to wear face coverings.

However you should remember that 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 measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace and you should not rely on face coverings as a sole form of risk management.

What you should do:

  1. Ensure you and your staff are familiar with the rules on face coverings and how this applies to your facility. Consider whether you should encourage staff or visitors to wear face coverings in areas where it is not legally mandated.

  2. Ensure that face coverings are worn by staff where required. It is against the law to prevent your staff from wearing a face covering where they are required to do so.

  3. Provide face coverings to staff, if they are required. Where staff need to wear face coverings for their work, you should provide these (as it is a health and safety requirement), but allow staff to use their own face coverings if they choose to.

  4. Take reasonable steps to ensure that visitors are informed of the rules on face coverings, for example through notices at the entrance and in-store communications. You may also want to inform visitors that they should be prepared to remove face coverings if asked to do so by police officers and staff for the purposes of identification (for example, if your business sells age-restricted products).

  5. Consider the impact on people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound, and ways to mitigate this (such as giving staff training on safe or alternative means of communication).

You can find further detail on when and where to wear face coverings (as well as the enforcement measures which can be taken if you do not comply with the law) in the guidance on face coverings.

Face coverings for heritage facilities

  • Face coverings must be worn by visitors in indoor heritage locations, when they are permitted to open to the public. They must wear a face covering when entering, and keep it on until they leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it (for example, while eating, or if asked to remove it by staff for identification).

  • Face coverings do not have to be worn by visitors in outdoor heritage locations.

  • You have a legal duty to remind your customers to wear face coverings where they are required.

  • Staff who work in an indoor area that is open to the public and where they’re likely to come into contact with a member of the public must wear a face covering (unless there is a physical barrier, such as a perspex screen, between them and customers). This also applies to any retail, leisure or hospitality areas of your accommodation facility, such as shops and restaurants.

  • Staff who don’t work in public areas or have close contact with members of the public do not have to wear face coverings. This also applies to any retail, leisure or hospitality areas of your accommodation facility, such as shops and restaurants. However you should encourage or allow staff to wear face coverings if they choose to, particularly if social distancing is difficult in their role, or they are likely to have to interact with people from outside their household or support bubble.

6.2 Personal protective equipment (PPE)

PPE protects the user against health or safety risks at work. It can include items such as safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses. This does not include face coverings, which are covered in the section on face coverings.

Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should continue to do so.

Where you do not use PPE in your usual work activity, you should not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19. PPE is only recommended in certain scenarios such as clinical settings, or for people responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

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.

What you should do:

  1. Review the need for PPE in your risk assessment. 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.

  2. If your risk assessment does show that PPE is required, you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Any PPE provided must fit properly.

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7. Travel and transport

In this section:

7.1 Work-related travel

You should avoid unnecessary work travel and keep people safe when they do need to travel between locations.

What you should do:

  1. Minimise non-essential travel – consider remote options first.

  2. Ensure you and your staff are familiar with the Department for Transport’s guidance on safer travel. This means walking or cycling where possible, though when not possible, people can use public transport or drive.

  3. Minimise the use of shared vehicles for people from different households or support bubbles (where it is permitted) by using fixed travel partners, increasing ventilation by opening windows, and avoiding sitting face-to-face.

  4. Minimise transmission risk when using corporate vehicles such as work minibuses. This could include lowering the number of passengers in the vehicle at one time, and leaving empty seats between passengers.

  5. Ensure shared vehicles are cleaned between shifts or on handover.

  6. Where workers are required to stay away from their home, centrally log the stay and make sure any overnight accommodation meets social distancing guidelines.

For more information about work-related travel to make deliveries to other sites, see the section on deliveries and handling goods.

7.2 Deliveries to other sites

You should ensure that workers delivering to other sites (such as factories, logistics sites or customers’ premises) can maintain social distancing and hygiene practices.

What you should do:

  1. Ensure you and your staff are familiar with the Department for Transport’s guidance on safer travel.

  2. Minimise the use of shared vehicles by using fixed travel partners, increasing ventilation by opening windows, and avoiding sitting face-to-face.

  3. Ensure shared vehicles are cleaned between shifts or on handover.

  4. Put in place procedures to minimise person-to-person contact during deliveries to other sites.

  5. Use solo workers to make deliveries and load or unload vehicles, where it is possible and safe. Where two-person deliveries are required, maintain consistent pairing where possible to minimise transmission risk.

  6. Minimise contact during payments and exchange of documentation, for example by using electronic payment methods and electronically signed and exchanged documents.

  7. Where workers are required to stay away from their home, centrally logging the stay and making sure any overnight accommodation meets social distancing guidelines.

7.3 Inbound and outbound goods

You should ensure that on-site and visiting workers maintain social distancing and avoid surface transmission when goods enter and leave the site.

What you should do:

  1. Ensure you and your staff are familiar with the Department for Transport’s guidance on safer travel.

  2. Review pick-up and drop-off collection points, procedures, signage and markings, and consider ways to minimise transmission risk.

  3. Minimise unnecessary contact at delivery points such as security checkpoints, delivery yards and warehouses. For example, consider implementing non-contact deliveries where the nature of the product allows for use of electronic pre-booking.

  4. Consider methods to reduce the frequency of deliveries, for example by ordering larger quantities less often.

  5. Use solo workers to make deliveries and load or unload vehicles, where it is possible and safe. Where two-person deliveries are required, maintain consistent pairing where possible to minimise transmission risk.

  6. Encourage drivers to stay in their vehicleswhere this does not compromise their safety and existing safe working practice, such as preventing drive-aways. However you should ensure drivers have to access welfare facilities when required.

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Where to find more information

In this section:

Guidance for your sector

Historic England guidance on supporting the heritage sector, caring for historic places(including cleaning sensitive historic surfaces), and reopening heritage locations.

Museums and museum collections: guidance from the National Museum Directors’ Council, the Museums Association and the Institute of Conservation

Portable antiquities: guidance on searching for archaeological finds in England during COVID-19

Archeological work: guidance from Prospect and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists

Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax: guidance on capital taxation and tax-exempt heritage assets

Scheduled Monuments Consent: contact the Historic England regional office

Listed Buildings Consent: see the Historic England guidance, or speak to your local planning authority

Marine sites: guidance on safe diving, Historic England marine management guidance and the Marine Management Organisatio

Guidance on construction and other outdoor work

Guidance for places of worship

Resources

How to find your local PHE health protection team

The COVID-secure notice you can display in your workplace if you follow this guidance

Health and Safety Executive guidance on COVID-19 risk assessments, social distancing to make your workplace COVID-secure, ventilation and air conditioning and general advice on managing risk

Register and order COVID-19 tests for your employees

Support for businesses and employers during coronavirus (COVID-19)

General guidance for employees during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guidance for employers and employees on statutory sick pay due to coronavirus.

Guidance on maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace

Coronavirus guidance and support

COVID-19: What you need to do

Guidance on the current restrictions and what you can and cannot do

Guidance on education, universities and childcare, and advice for schools and out-of-school settings

Guidance on accessing green spaces

Guidance on face coverings

Guidance on NHS Test and Trace and self-isolation

Guidance on NHS COVID-19 testing

Guidance on safer travel

Guidance on social distancing

Guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guidance for wedding and civil partnerships receptions and celebrations and funerals

Guidance on who is at higher risk from coronavirus, and for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

What to do if you or someone in your household has symptoms or tests positive.

What to do if you have close contact with someone outside your household who has symptoms or tests positive

Guidance for workplace settings

Guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings

HSE guidance on the risk of legionella

Guidance on disposing of personal or business waste during the coronavirus pandemic

Working safely in close contact services (including hairdressers and beauty facilities)

Working safely in factories, plants and warehouses

Working safely in heritage locations

Working safely in hotels and guest accommodation

Working safely in indoor and outdoor sport facilities (including gyms, saunas and steam rooms)

Guidance for outdoor gyms and playgrounds, and soft play areas

Working safely in the performing arts

Working safely in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway service

Working safely in retail shops, stores and branches

Working safely in visitor economy settings (including business events, large events, attractions and leisure events)

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