Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services

Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes or takeaways.

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

COVID-19 roadmap

Step 2 of the roadmap out of lockdown has begun. Some of the rules changed on 12 April, but many restrictions remain in place.

This guidance has been updated to include measures you should follow at Step 3, from 17 May. 

Find out what you can and cannot do.

This guide was updated on 4 May 2021.

What’s changed

Addition of information for Step 3 of the roadmap. This includes:

  • serving customers indoors
  • updated social contact rules (gatherings of up to 30 people are permitted outdoors; gatherings of up to 6 people or 2 households of any size are permitted indoors) 
  • relaxation of rules around live performances, business events and soft play areas

National restrictions – Spring 2021

On 22 February the government published the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 setting out how COVID-19 restrictions will be eased over 4 steps.

The roadmap has set out indicative, ‘no earlier than’ dates for the steps which are 5 weeks apart.

It takes around 4 weeks for the data to reflect the impact of the previous step. The government will provide a further week’s notice to individuals and businesses before making changes.

Step 2 - from 12 April

Following the move to Step 2, you can serve customers outdoors in groups of up to 6 people or 2 households.

You may allow customers to use toilets, baby changing rooms or breast feeding rooms located inside.

You may wish to erect outdoor shelters. To be considered ‘outdoors’, shelters, marquees and other structures can have a roof. But they need to have at least 50% of the area of their walls open at all times whilst in use.

If your venue serves alcohol, customers must order, be served and eat/drink while seated, even if no alcohol is ordered. If your venue does not serve alcohol, customers can order and collect food and drink from a counter. But they must consume food and drink while seated at a table.

You may provide takeaway food and drink, including alcohol. Customers must not consume takeaway food and drink on the premises or adjacent to the premises.

Step 3 – from 17 May

Following the move to Step 3, you will be able to reopen indoor areas of your venues.

You will be able to serve customers in groups of up to 6 or 2 households indoors, or in groups of up to 30 outdoors.

If your venue serves alcohol, table service will be required. Even if no alcohol is ordered, this means customers must order, be served and eat/drink while seated.

If your venue does not serve alcohol, customers can order and collect food and drink from a counter. But they must consume food and drink while seated at a table.

Indoor entertainment is allowed, including soft play areas.

This guidance will be kept up to date as we move through the steps of the roadmap.

Priority actions to take - what businesses need to do to protect staff and customers

Eight steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus.

1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment

Complete a risk assessment, considering the reasonable adjustments needed for staff and customers with disabilities. Share it with all your staff. Find out how to do a risk assessment.

2. Clean more often

Especially surfaces that people touch a lot. You should ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.

3. Remind your customers and staff to wear face coverings in any indoor space or where the law says they must

You could do this using signs. However, you are not responsible for enforcing customer face covering law. This is an important reminder to help mitigate transmission. Some exemptions apply. Check when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own.

4. Make sure social distancing is maintained between each group of customers

Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one-way system your customers can follow. You should enable people in the same party who do not live together to remain a safe distance apart, if they choose to do so.

5. Provide adequate ventilation

This means supplying fresh air to enclosed space where people are present. This can be natural ventilation through windows, doors and vents, mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, or a combination of both. Read the HSE advice on air conditioning and ventilation.

6. Take part in NHS Test and Trace

Keep a record of all your customers, visitors and staff for 21 days. You must do this by law. Check ‘Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace’ for details.

7. Turn people with COVID-19 symptoms away

Staff members or customers should self-isolate if they or someone in their household has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell. If someone is self-isolating, employers must not ask or make them come to work.  It is an offence to do this.

8. Consider the mental health and wellbeing aspects of COVID-19 for yourself and others.

See the guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of COVID-19.

Other things to be aware of

Three more things to be aware of if your business is a restaurant, pub, bar or takeaway:

Keep groups apart

Space out tables, consider using barriers between groups, and manage the number of customers in the venue. This is required by law.

Manage food and drink service safely

Avoid situations where customers need to collect their own cutlery and condiments. Avoid contact between staff and customers.

Lower music and other background noise

Prevent shouting, singing and dancing in the venue by making sure music and broadcasts are played at a low volume.

These are the priority actions to make your business safe during coronavirus. You should also read the full version of the guidance below.

Introduction

This guide will help you understand how to make your workplace COVID-secure and help stop the spread of COVID-19.

We thank you for playing your part in this national effort.

Who this guide is for

This document is one of a set of documents about how to work safely in different types of workplace.

This one is designed to be relevant to any food preparation or service setting where food and drink is sold for consumption at venues or for takeaway or delivery.

For example:

  • restaurants
  • pubs
  • bars
  • beer gardens
  • food to go
  • cafes
  • self contained hospitality accessed from outside a closed venue
  • social and similar clubs operating as bars and restaurants
  • mobile catering and contact catering or similar environments where food and drink is purchased and consumed at a venue in their indoor or outdoor areas or offered for takeaway or delivery

This guidance also considers entertainment in restaurants, pubs and bars and similar venues where food or drink is served. This is provided they meet current government criteria for safe reopening.

It does not apply to food preparation or food service in clinical or healthcare settings.

If you also provide accommodation services you should refer to guidance for hotels and other accommodation. 

If you also provide entertainment you may wish to refer to the Performing Arts guidance.

We expect to update this document over time. You can check for updates at www.gov.uk/workingsafely.

Who has contributed to this guide

This document has been prepared by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with input from firms, unions, industry bodies and the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. BEIS consulted with Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Public health is devolved in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. This guidance should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements and legislation in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. For advice to businesses in other parts of the UK please see guidance set by the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government.

If you have any feedback on this guidance, please email safer.workplaces@beis.gov.uk.

How to use this guidance

This document gives you guidance on how to open workplaces safely while minimising the risk of spreading COVID-19. It provides practical considerations of how to apply this in the workplace.

You will need to translate this into the specific actions you need to take. These will depend on the nature of your business, including the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated, managed and regulated. You will also need to monitor these measures to make sure they continue to protect customers and workers.

This guidance does not supersede any legal obligations relating to health and safety, entertainment licensing and regulations, employment or equalities. It is important that as a business or an employer you continue to comply with your existing obligations. This includes those relating to individuals with protected characteristics. This contains non-statutory guidance to take into account when complying with these existing obligations.

Remember this guidance does not just cover your employees. You must also take into account employees, agency workers, contractors and other people.

To help you decide which actions to take, you must carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment, just as you would for other health and safety related hazards. This risk assessment must be done in consultation with unions or workers.

1. Thinking about risk

In this section

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

As an employer, by law you must protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety. This include risks from COVID-19. COVID-19 is a workplace hazard. You should manage it 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
  • identifying control measures to manage that risk

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

Your risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has tools to support you.

You should also consider the security implications of any decisions and control measures you intend to put in place. Any revisions could present new or altered security risks you may need to mitigate.

You do not have to write anything down as part of your risk assessment if you:

  • have fewer than 5 workers
  • are self-employed

However, you may still find it useful to do so.

Consult your workers 

As an employer, you have a legal duty to consult 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 may do this by consulting with any recognised trade union health and safety representatives.  

If you do not have any, you can consult with a representative chosen by workers. As an employer, you cannot decide who the representative will be.  

Employers and workers should always come together to resolve issues. If you still cannot do this, see below for other steps you can take.  

Enforcement

Enforcing authorities identify employers who do not take action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks. When they do, they can take a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. The HSE and your local authority are examples of enforcing authorities.

When they identify serious breaches, enforcing authorities can do a number of things. They include:

  • sending you a letter
  • serving you with an improvement or prohibition notice
  • bringing a prosecution against you, in cases where they identify significant breaches

When an enforcing authority issues you with any advice or notices, you should respond rapidly and within their timescales.

The vast majority of employers are responsible. They will work with the government and their sector bodies to protect their workers and the public.

However, inspectors are carrying out compliance checks nationwide to ensure that employers are taking the necessary steps.

How to raise a concern:

If you’re an employee, you can contact:

  • your employee representative
  • your trade union if you have one

You can also contact HSE at:

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

1.1 Managing risk

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

As an employer, you have a duty to reduce workplace risk to the lowest reasonably practicable level. You do this by taking preventative measures.

You must work with any other employers or contractors sharing the workplace to protect everybody’s health and safety.

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

  1. Make sure that workers and customers who feel unwell stay at home and do not attend the venue. By law, businesses may not require a self-isolating worker to come to work.

  2. Increase how often people wash their hands and clean surfaces in the workplace.

  3. Make every reasonable effort to ensure your workers can work safely. Consider reasonable adjustments for workers or customers with disabilities, including hidden disabilities that are not immediately obvious. Anyone who can work from home should do so. Anyone who cannot work from home should go to their place of work, if COVID-secure guidelines are followed closely. When in the workplace, everyone should make every reasonable effort to comply with the government’s social distancing guidelines. These are 2 metres or 1 metre+ with risk mitigation where 2 metres is not viable.

  4. Fresh air helps to dilute the virus in occupied spaces. Provide adequate ventilation through doors, windows and vents, by mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, or through a combination of both.

  5. Consider these additional control measures where 2 metre social distancing is not possible:

    – increase the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning even more
    – keep the activity time involved as short as possible
    – use screens or barriers to separate people each other
    – use back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible, instead of face-to-face
    – reduce the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others)

  6. When you cannot redesign an activity to meet social distance guidelines, ask if your business can continue without that activity. If it cannot, take all mitigation actions possible to reduce transmission risk between staff.

  7. Remind customers and staff to wear face coverings where they are required. For example, through signage or verbal reminders.

  8. If people must work face-to-face for a sustained period with more than a small group of fixed partners, then you will need to assess whether the activity can safely go ahead. No one is obliged to work in an unsafe work environment.

  9. In your assessment you should consider whether the people doing the work are especially vulnerable to COVID-19.

  10. If your building has been unoccupied for a period during any lockdowns, consider legionella risk and HSE advice.

Singing, shouting and aerobic activities generate higher levels of aerosol and increase the risk of transmission further. You should consider these factors when ensuring you have adequate ventilation in the workplace. Lowering background noise, including music, reduces the need for people to sit close or shout. This can reduce the risk of airborne virus emissions and transmission.

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

If you are currently operating, you will already have carried out COVID-19 risk assessment. You should use this document to identify any further improvements you should make.

You must review the measures you have put in place to make sure they are working. You should also review them if they may no longer be effective or if there are changes in the workplace that could lead to new risks.

1.2 Sharing the results of your risk assessment

You should share the results of your risk assessment with your workforce.

If possible, consider publishing the results on your website. We would expect all businesses with over 50 workers to do so.

All businesses should show their workers and customers that they have:

  • properly assessed their risk
  • taken appropriate measures to mitigate this

You should do this by displaying a notification:

  • in a prominent place in your business
  • on your website, if you have one

To show you have followed this guidance, sign and display the notice below.

2. Keeping your customers and visitors safe

In this section

2.1 Supporting NHS Test and Trace

Objective: To support NHS Test and Trace.

Using NHS Test and Trace is vital for keeping the economy open. It will help minimise transmission of the virus.

You must:

  1. Display the official NHS QR code poster. Official NHS QR posters can be generated online.

  2. Ask every customer or visitor aged 16 and over to check in to your venue or provide their contact details. This can be done quickly and easily using the NHS COVID-19 app to scan in the NHS QR code poster.

  3. Have a system in place to ensure that you can collect information from your customers and visitors who do not have a smartphone or do not want to use the NHS COVID-19 app. You must keep this data for 21 days and provide it to NHS Test and Trace if they ask for it. Check what data you need to collect and how it should be managed.

Many businesses that take bookings already have systems for recording this information. This includes restaurants and pubs. Your existing systems may be an effective means of collecting contact details.

Any business that is found not to be compliant with these requirements will be subject to financial penalties.

It is vital that you comply with these requirements to help keep people safe, and to keep businesses open. Find out more about the NHS Test and Trace requirements.

Businesses operating a service where food and drink is not for consumption on the premises are not required to comply with these requirements.

There is separate guidance on keeping a record of staff shift patterns. See section 7.1.

2.2 Keeping customers and visitors safe

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

You should not intentionally facilitate gatherings between a greater number of people than is permitted.

You should also take steps to ensure customer compliance with the rules on social contact. We are now in Step 2 of the roadmap. At Step 2, outdoor gatherings are limited to 6 people or 2 households. A support bubble counts as a single household.

At Step 3, from 17 May, you will be able to serve customers in groups of 6 people or 2 households of any size indoors, or in groups of up to 30 people outdoors.

You may wish to erect outdoor shelters. To be considered ‘outdoors’, shelters, marquees and other structures can have a roof but need to have at least 50% of the area of their walls open at all times whilst in use.

You will usually need to:

  1. Inform customers of guidance through signage or notices when they book or arrive

  2. Ensure staff are familiar with the guidance, and know if any local restrictions are in place.

  3. Ask customers to verbally confirm the number of people in their party at the point of arrival.

2.2.1 Consider neighbouring businesses

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

You will usually need to:

  1. Lower capacity further. Even if it is possible to safely seat a number of people at the venue, it may not be safe for them all to travel or enter that venue.

  2. Stagger entry times with other venues and take steps to avoid queues building up in surrounding areas.

  3. Arrange one-way travel routes between transport hubs and venues.

  4. Advise patrons to avoid particular forms of transport or routes and to avoid crowded areas when in transit to the venue.

2.2.2 Avoid large gatherings

Local authorities should avoid issuing licenses for events that could lead to larger gatherings forming. They should also provide advice to businesses on how to manage events of this type.

If appropriate, the government has powers to close venues hosting large gatherings or prohibit certain events or types of event from taking place.

You will usually need to:

  1. Calculate the maximum number of customers that can reasonably follow social distancing guidelines at the venue. They are 2m, or 1m+ with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable. Take into account total space and specific venue characteristics such as furniture. Also consider likely pinch points and busy areas.

  2. Reconfigure seating and tables to maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m+ with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) between groups of customers. For example, increase the distance between tables.

  3. Manage the entry of customers, and the number of customers at a venue. Do this so that all customers are seated with appropriate distancing. This will ensure that the venue, including areas of congestion, does not become overcrowded. For example, you can manage entry numbers with:

    – reservation systems
    – social distancing markings
    – having customers queue at a safe distance for toilets
    – bringing payment machines to customers

  4. Work with your local authority or landlord to take into account the impact of your processes, including queues, on public spaces. For example, high streets and public car parks.

  5. Work with neighbouring businesses and local authorities to provide additional parking or facilities such as bike-racks, where possible. This will help customers avoid using public transport.

  6. Reduce the need for customers to queue. Where this is unavoidable, use outside spaces for queueing where available and safe. For example, use some car parks and existing outdoor services areas, excluding disabled car parking bays.

  7. Manage outside queues to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals, other businesses or additional security risks. For example, you could:

    – introduce queuing systems
    – have staff direct customers
    – protect queues from traffic by routing them behind permanent physical structures such as street furniture, bike racks, bollards or putting up barriers

  8. Provide clear guidance on social distancing and hygiene to people before and when they arrive. For example by phone, on the website or by email, and with signage and visual aids.

  9. Ensure customers are compliant with rules on social contact.

  10. Encourage customers to use hand sanitiser or handwashing facilities as they enter the venue.

  11. Ensure any changes to entrances, exits and queue management take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them. This includes disabled customers. For example, maintain pedestrian and parking access for disabled customers.

  12. Remind customers who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines.

  13. Ensure outdoor play areas are operated safely. Do this by following guidance for managing playgrounds. Under Step 3, from 17 May, ensure indoor and soft play areas are operated safely. Do this by following guidance for indoor play centres and areas and soft play centres and areas.

  14. Look at how people move through the venue. See how you could adjust this to reduce congestion and contact between customers. For example, by using queue management or one-way flow, where possible.

  15. Plan for maintaining social distancing guidelines in the event of adverse weather conditions. These are 2m, or 1m+ with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable. Be clear that customers cannot seek shelter indoors.

  16. Work with neighbouring businesses and local authorities to consider how to spread the number of people arriving throughout the day. For example, by staggering opening hours. This will help reduce demand on public transport at key times and avoid overcrowding.

  17. See if you can revise schedules for essential services and contractor visits to reduce interaction and overlap between people. For example, by carrying out services at night.

2.3 Managing service of food and drink at a venue

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

You will usually need to:

  1. Maintain social distancing from customers when taking orders from customers. This is 2m, or 1m+ with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable.

  2. Using social distance markings to remind customers to maintain social distancing where necessary. This is 2m, or 1m+ with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable.

  3. Only provide disposable condiments, or clean non-disposable condiment containers after each use.

  4. Reduce the number of surfaces touched by both staff and customers. For example, ask customers not lean on counters when collecting takeaways.

  5. Encourage contactless payments where possible and adjust location of card readers to social distancing guidelines. These are 2m, or 1m+ with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable.

  6. Minimise contact between front of house workers and customers at points of service, where appropriate. For example, use screens or tables at tills and counters to maintain social distancing guidelines.

  7. Minimise customer self-service of food, cutlery and condiments to reduce risk of transmission. For example, provide cutlery and condiments only when food is served. 

2.3.1 Takeaway or delivery

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

You will usually need to:

  1. See guidance on food safety for food delivery.

  2. Encourage customers to order online, on apps or over the telephone. This will help to reduce queues and stagger pick-up times.

  3. Minimise contact between kitchen workers and front of house workers, delivery drivers or riders. For example, by having zones from which delivery drivers can collect packaged food items. 17 may

  4. Limit access to venues for people waiting for or collecting takeaways. Set out clear social distancing markings for delivery drivers, riders or customers queuing. Ask customers to wait outside or in their cars.

  5. Work with your local authority, landlord and neighbours to ensure designated waiting areas do not obstruct public spaces.

2.3.2 Service at the venue

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

If your venue serves alcohol, customers must order, be served and eat/drink while seated, even if no alcohol is ordered.

We are now at Step 2 of the roadmap. At Step 2, you should take payment at the table or at another outdoor location.

If it’s not possible to take payment outdoors, for example due to a technical issue, you can take payment indoors as a last resort. If you need to take payment indoors:

  • the customer should wear a face covering unless exempt
  • you should ensure only one customer is indoors at any time for the purpose of making payment
  • you should operate a tab system to ensure that customers do not need to make multiple indoor payments during their time at the venue

If your venue does not serve alcohol, customers can order and collect food and drink from a counter. They must consume food and drink while seated at a table.

At Step 3, from 17 May, if your venue serves alcohol, table service will be required. Even if no alcohol is ordered, customers must be served, eat and drink while seated.

If your venue does not serve alcohol, customers can order and collect food and drink from a counter. They must consume food and drink while seated at a table.

You will usually need to:

  1. Encourage customers to use contactless ordering from tables where available. For example, through an ordering app.

  2. Adjust service approaches to minimise staff contact with customers. Consider measures such as assigning a single staff member per table.

  3. Adjust processes to prevent customers from congregating at points of service. For example, have only staff collect and return empty glasses to the bar.

  4. Minimise contact between kitchen workers and front of house workers. For example, have food collection zones for front of house staff.

  5. Not allowing customers to consume food or drink on the premises unless they are seated.

2.4 Ventilation

Objective: To use ventilation to mitigate COVID-19’s aerosol transmission risk in enclosed spaces.

Ventilation should be used as a control measure to reduce the risk of aerosol transmission of COVID-19 in enclosed spaces. 

Ventilation will not reduce the risk of droplet or surface transmission. This means you will also be required to put in place other control measures. These include cleaning and social distancing. 

There are different ways of providing ventilation, including: 

  • mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts 
  • natural ventilation which relies on passive flow through openings, such as doors, windows and vents 

You can provide ventilation through a combination of the two. 

The risk of transmission is greater in spaces that are poorly ventilated. HSE guidance on ventilation and air conditioning explains how you can identify those spaces. It also explains steps you can take to improve ventilation. 

Read advice on air conditioning and ventilation from HSE.

2.5 Customer toilets

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

You will usually need to:

  1. Use signs and posters to make people aware: 

    – of how to wash their hands well 
    – that they should wash their hands frequently 
    – that they should not touch their faces 
    – that they should cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into their arms if a tissue is not available 

  2. Consider using social distancing marking in areas where queues normally form. Also consider adopting a limited entry approach, with 1 in, 1 out. If you do this, make sure you avoid creating additional bottlenecks.

  3. Consider making hand sanitiser available on entry to toilets where safe, practical and accessible. Ensure suitable handwashing facilities are available. This includes running water and liquid soap and suitable options for drying. Namely paper towels, continuous roller towels or hand dryers. Consider the needs of people with disabilities.

  4. Set clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets, with increased frequency of cleaning in line with usage. You should use normal cleaning products and pay attention to frequently hand touched surfaces. Consider using disposable cloths or paper roll to clean all hard surfaces.

  5. Keep the facilities well ventilated. For example by ensuring extractor fans work effectively and opening windows and vents where possible.

  6. Take special care when cleaning portable toilets and larger toilet blocks.

  7. Put up a visible cleaning schedule. Keep it up to date and visible.

  8. Provide more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.

2.6 Providing and explaining available guidance

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

You will usually need to:

  1. Provide clear guidance on expected customer behaviours, social distancing and hygiene to people on or before arrival. For example on online booking forms and on-site signage and visual aids. Explain to customers that failure to observe safety measures will result in service not being provided.

  2. Provide written or spoken communication of the latest guidelines to both workers and customers, inside and outside the venue. You should display posters or information setting out how customers should behave at your venue to keep everyone safe. Consider the particular needs of those with protected characteristics, such as those who are hearing or visually impaired.

  3. Where necessary, inform customers that police and local authorities have the powers to enforce requirements in relation to social distancing. They can instruct customers to disperse, leave an area, issue a fixed penalty notice or take further enforcement action.

  4. Inform customers that they should be prepared to remove face coverings safely if asked to do so by police officers and staff for identification.

  5. Encourage workers to remind customers to follow social distancing advice and clean their hands regularly.

  6. Where visits to venues are required, for example, inbound supplier deliveries or safety critical visitors, provide site guidance on social distancing and hygiene on or before arrival.

  7. Ensure information provided to customers and visitors does not compromise their safety. For example, advice on the location or size of queues.

3. Who should go to work?

In this section

Objective: Employers should ensure workplaces are safe for anyone who cannot work from home. We recognise that people who work in these types of workplace often cannot work from home.

Anyone who can work from home should do so. However, you should consider whether home working is appropriate for workers facing mental or physical health difficulties or with a particularly challenging home working environment.

If COVID-secure guidelines are followed closely, the risk of transmission can be significantly reduced.

Employers should consult with their workers to decide who needs to come into the workplace.

You should also consider the impact of workers coming into the workplace on local transport and take appropriate mitigating actions. For example, staggered start and finish times for staff.

You should give extra consideration to people at higher risk.

When employers consider that workers should come into their place of work, they should:

  • reflect this in the COVID-19 workplace risk assessment
  • take action to manage the risks of transmission in line with this guidance

You will usually need to:

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

  2. Monitor the wellbeing of people who are working from home. Help them stay connected to the rest of the workforce. This is especially important if the majority of their colleagues are on-site.

  3. Keep in touch with off-site workers on their working arrangements including their: 

    – welfare 
    – mental and physical health 
    – personal security

  4. Provide equipment for people to work from home safely and effectively. For example, remote access to work systems. Account for different types of needs, including the needs of people with disabilities.

3.1 Protecting people who are at higher risk

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

There are some groups who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. They may be advised to take extra precautions to protect themselves. See guidance on who is at higher risk and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable. 

As an employer, you should make sure suitable arrangements are in place so that they can work safely. Government advice is that clinically extremely vulnerable people no longer need to shield, and should follow the general COVID-19 restrictions which apply to everyone.

We advise clinically extremely vulnerable individuals to work from home where possible. They can still attend work if they cannot work from home. Employers should consider whether clinically extremely vulnerable individuals can take on an alternative role or change their working patterns temporarily to avoid travelling during busy periods. 

You will usually need to: 

  1. See current guidance on protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and protecting vulnerable workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Put measures in place to ensure the workplace is COVID-secure. 

  2. Provide support to staff who are clinically extremely vulnerable, and consider options for altering work arrangements temporarily (if needed) so they can avoid travelling during busy periods. 

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

3.2 People who need to self-isolate

Objective: To stop people physically coming to work, when government guidance advises them to stay at home. This includes people who: 

– have COVID-19 symptoms 
– live in a household or are in a support bubble with someone who has symptoms 
– are required to self-isolate as part of NHS Test and Trace

You will usually need to:

  1. Enable workers to work from home while self-isolating if appropriate. It is illegal to knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.

  2. See current guidance related to statutory sick pay due to COVID-19 for: 

    employers
    employees

  3. Ensure any workers who have symptoms of COVID-19 self-isolate immediately and continue for the next 10 full days. This means that if, for example, their symptoms started at any time on the 15th of the month their isolation period ends at 11:59pm on the 25th.

    These symptoms are:  

    – a high temperature
    – a new, continuous cough
    – a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste

    Workers who have tested positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate immediately and continue for the next 10 full days.

    Workers that test positive but have no symptoms must also self-isolate in this way. Sometimes workers develop symptoms during their isolation period. In these cases, they must restart their 10-day self-isolation period from the day after they develop symptoms.  See the guidance for people who live in households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infections.

  4. Ensure any workers who are contacts of individuals who test positive for COVID-19 self-isolate for a period of 10 days. Contacts must self-isolate immediately and continue for the next 10 full days.

  5. Ensure any workers who have been informed by NHS Test and Trace that they are a close contact of a person who has had a positive test result for COVID-19 follow the requirement to self-isolate. See the guidance for those who have been in contact with, but do not live with, a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

3.3 Equality in the workplace

Objective: To make sure that nobody is discriminated against.

When applying this guidance, be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers or individuals. 

It’s against the law to discriminate against anyone because of their age, sex, disability, race or other ‘protected characteristic’. 

Read the government guidance on discrimination.

As an employer, you have particular responsibilities towards:

You will usually need to: 

  1. Understand and take into account the particular circumstances of those with different protected characteristics.  

  2. Involve and communicate appropriately with workers whose protected characteristics might either: 

    – expose them to a different degree of risk 
    – make any steps you are thinking about inappropriate or challenging for them 

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

  4. Make reasonable adjustments to avoid disabled workers being put at a disadvantage. 

  5. Assess the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers. 

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

4. Social distancing for workers

In this section:

Objective: Ensuring workers maintain social distancing guidelines wherever possible. These are 2 metres or 1 metre+ with risk mitigation where 2 metres is not viable. This includes when they arrive at and depart from work, while they are in work, and when they travel between sites.

You should maintain social distancing in the workplace wherever possible. You should take account of those with protected characteristics because social distancing may not be possible or will be more challenging for workers with certain disabilities. For example, workers in wheelchairs or with visual impairments. You should discuss with disabled workers what reasonable adjustments can be made to the workplace so they can work safely.

If you can, redesign business activities that cannot currently meet social distancing guidelines.

You can mitigate risk by:

  • further increasing the frequency of hand washing and surface cleaning
  • keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
  • using screens or barriers to separate workers from each other and workers from customers at points of service
  • using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible, instead of face-to-face
  • reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’ (so each person works with only a few others)

If you cannot redesign an activity to meet social distancing guidelines, consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate. If it does, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between staff.

Social distancing applies to all parts of a business, not just the place where people spend most of their time. For example, it also covers entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and similar settings.

These are often the most challenging areas to maintain social distancing and you should remind workers specifically.

4.1 Coming to work and leaving work

Objective: To maintain social distancing on arrival and departure and to make sure people can wash their hands.

You will usually need to: 

  1. Stagger arrival and departure times at work. This will cut crowding into and out of the workplace. Take account of the impact on people with protected characteristics. 

  2. Provide additional parking or facilities such as bike racks. This will help people walk, run, or cycle to work where possible. This may not be possible in smaller workplaces. 

  3. Reduce congestion. For example by having more entry points to the workplace. If you have more than one door, consider having one for entering the building and one for exiting. 

  4. Use markings to guide staff coming into an out of the building.

  5. Provide handwashing facilities at entry and exit points. If this is not possible, provide hand sanitiser. Avoid using touch-based security devices such as keypads where possible. 

  6. Provide storage for staff clothes and bags.

  7. Request staff change into work uniforms on site. Use appropriate facilities/changing areas, where staff can meet social distancing and hygiene guidelines.

  8. Wash uniforms on site, where appropriate. Or ask workers to regularly wash uniforms at home.

  9. See guidance on travelling to and from work and getting help with daily activities outside your home during coronavirus. 

4.2 Moving around venues

Objective: To maintain social distancing wherever possible, while people move through the venue.

You should usually:

  1. Reduce movement by discouraging non-essential trips within venues. For example, restrict access to some areas and encourage workers to use radios, telephones or other electronic devices when sending orders from service areas to kitchens, where permitted. Clean them between uses.

  2. Reduce job and location rotation. For example, assign workers to specific areas or keep temporary personnel dedicated to one venue.

  3. Introduce more one-way flow routes through buildings. Use signage that indicates the direction of flow clearly.

  4. Reduce maximum occupancy for lifts and provide hand sanitiser for the operation of lifts. Encourage use of stairs wherever possible.

  5. Make sure that people with disabilities are able to access lifts.

  6. Manage use of high traffic areas to maintain social distancing. This includes corridors, lifts and staircases.

4.3 Working areas

Objective: To make sure people can socially distance when they are at their workstations, wherever possible.

For people who work in one place, working areas should let them maintain social distancing from both each other and the public. For example, waiter captains or cashiers.

Assign working areas to an individual as much as possible. If workers must share work areas, keep the number of people sharing as low as possible.

When working areas cannot be made to comply with social distancing guidelines:

  • ask yourself if the work being done is vital to keep your business going
  • take all mitigating actions you can to cut transmission risk

You will usually need to:

  1. Review layouts and processes to allow workers to work further apart from each other.

  2. Avoid workers working face to face. For example, by working side-by-side or facing away from each other. Where this isn’t possible, use screens to separate people from each other.

  3. Use floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people comply with social distancing guidelines. These are 2m, or 1m+ with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable.

4.4 Food preparation areas

Objective: To maintain social distancing and reduce contact where possible in kitchens and other food preparation areas.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness. It is not known to be transmitted by exposure to food.

You will usually need to:

  1. Follow government guidance on managing food preparation and food service areas.

  2. Allow kitchen access to as few people as possible.

  3. Minimise interaction between kitchen staff and other workers, including when they’re on breaks.

  4. Put teams into shifts. Do this to restrict the number of workers interacting with each other.

  5. Space working areas to maintain social distancing guidelines as much as possible. These are 2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable. We recognise the difficulty of moving equipment such as sinks, hobs and ovens. Consider cleanable panels to separate working areas in larger kitchens.

  6. Provide floor marking to signal social distancing.

  7. Use ‘one way’ traffic flows to minimise contact.

  8. Minimise access to walk-in pantries, fridges and freezers. For example, only allow one person to access these areas at once.

  9. Minimise contact at ‘handover’ points with other staff. For example, when presenting food to serving staff and delivery drivers.

4.5 Entertainment

Objective: To maintain social distancing when providing entertainment within or outside restaurants, pubs, bars and similar venues that serve food or drink.

At Step 3, from 17 May, more types of socially distanced indoor and outdoor events are allowed.

Some types of events, including live performance events and business events, should have a cap on attendance of:

  • 1,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower - indoors
  • 4,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower - outdoors

These events should be ticketed. Read the organised events guidance for more information on the types of event subject to these requirements.

If you are organising a performance event, you should read the performing arts guidance. If you’re organising a business event, you should read the visitor economy guidance.

Any events should be held in a separate room from regular food and drink customers to prevent mixing with event attendees.

You can continue to provide other types of entertainment to food and drink customers. You should continue to follow the guidance below when providing entertainment.

You will usually need to:

  1. Determine the viability of entertainment and maximum audience numbers. Make this consistent with social distancing outside and within venues, and with other safety considerations.

  2. Prevent entertainment, that is likely to encourage audience behaviours with increased transmission risk. For example, loud background music, communal dancing, group singing or chanting.

  3. Reconfigure your entertainment spaces to ensure customers are seated rather than standing. For example, repurposing dance floors for customer seating.

  4. Communicate clearly to customers your arrangements for entertainment. Clearly supervise them with extra staff if appropriate.

4.6 Meetings

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

You will usually need to:

  1. Use remote working tools to avoid in-person meetings.

  2. Ensure participants physically attend meetings only where necessary. They should maintain social distancing guidelines. These are 2m, or 1m+ with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable.

  3. Avoid transmission during meetings caused by sharing objects. For example, pens and documents.

  4. Provide hand sanitiser in meeting rooms.

  5. Hold meetings outdoors whenever possible. Otherwise use rooms where there is good ventilation. This could be:

    – fresh air through open doors, windows and vents
    – mechanical ventilation, such as air conditioning

    You can also provide good ventilation through a combination of both.

  6. Air rooms between meetings. Open all the doors and windows as fully as possible to maximise the ventilation in the room.

  7. Use floor signage to help people maintain social distancing in areas where you hold regular meetings.

4.7 Back of house and common areas

Objective: To maintain social distancing while using common areas.

You will usually need to:

  1. Stagger break times to reduce pressure on break rooms or places to eat. Ensure social distancing is maintained in staff break rooms.

  2. Use safe outside areas for breaks.

  3. Create extra space by using other parts of the venue or building that have been freed up by remote working.

  4. Install screens to protect staff in front of house areas or serving customers at till points.

4.8 Accidents, security and other incidents

Objective: To prioritise safety during incidents.

In an emergency, you do not have to maintain social distancing if that would be unsafe. Examples include:

  • accidents
  • fires
  • break-ins
  • when you are giving first aid

Whenever giving help during emergencies, pay particular attention to sanitation straight afterwards. This includes washing hands.

You will usually need to:

  1. Review your incident and emergency procedures. Ensure they reflect the social distancing principles as far as possible.

  2. Consider whether you have enough appropriately trained staff to keep people safe. For example, have dedicated staff to encourage social distancing or to manage security.

  3. When you are thinking of changing how you work, consider the possible security implications. Your changes may present new or altered security risks. These risks may need mitigations.

  4. For organisations who conduct physical searches of people, consider how to ensure safety of those conducting searches while maintaining security standards.

  5. Carry out a fire risk assessment where spaces have been repurposed.

  6. Follow government guidance on managing security risks.

5. Cleaning the workplace

In this section

5.1 Before reopening

Objective: To make sure that any site or location that has been closed or partially operated is clean and ready to restart. Before you restart work, you should: 

  • assess all sites, or parts of sites, that have been closed 
  • review cleaning procedures and provide hand sanitiser 

You will usually need to: 

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

  2. Most air conditioning systems do not need adjustment if they draw in a supply of fresh air. See the HSE guidance on ventilation and air conditioning for more information.

  3. Follow guidance on reopening food businesses.

  4. Follow guidance on managing legionella risks.

5.2 Keeping the venue clean

Objective: To keep the workplace clean and prevent transmission by touching contaminated surfaces.

You will usually need to:

  1. Follow government guidance on cleaning food preparation and food service areas.

  2. Wedge doors open, where appropriate, to reduce touchpoints. This does not apply to fire doors.

  3. Frequently clean objects and surfaces that people touch regularly. This includes counters and tills. Make sure there are adequate disposal arrangements for cleaning products.

  4. Clean surfaces and objects between each customer use. For example, clean tables, card machines, chairs, trays and laminated menus in view of customers before customer use.

  5. If you’re cleaning after a known or suspected case of COVID-19, refer to the guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings. 

  6. Frequently clean work areas and equipment between uses. Use your usual cleaning products.

  7. Provide extra non-recycling bins for workers and clients to dispose of single use face coverings and PPE. You should refer to the guidance for information on how to dispose of personal or business waste, including face coverings and PPE.

5.3 Keeping the kitchen clean

Objective: To ensure the highest hygiene standards are operated in kitchen areas.

You will usually need to:

  1. Recognise that cleaning measures are already stringent in kitchen areas. Consider the need for additional cleaning and disinfection measures.

  2. Have bins for collection of used towels and staff overalls.

  3. Ensure workers wash their hands before handling plates and cutlery.

  4. Encourage a high frequency of hand washing throughout the day.

5.4 Hygiene - handwashing, sanitation facilities and toilets

Objective: To help everyone keep good hygiene through the working day.

You will usually need to:

  1. Follow government guidance on hygiene in food preparation and food service areas.

  2. Use signs and posters to make people aware:

    – how to wash their hands well 
    – that they should wash their hands frequently 
    – that they should not touch their faces 
    – they should cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into their arms if a tissue is not available

  3. Provide regular reminders and signage to maintain hygiene standards.

  4. Provide hand sanitiser in multiple accessible locations in addition to washrooms. Consider the needs of people with disabilities.

  5. Set clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets. This is to ensure they are kept clean and people socially distance as much as possible.

  6. Enhance cleaning for busy areas.

  7. Take special care when cleaning portable toilets.

  8. Provide more waste facilities and more frequent rubbish collection.

  9. Provide hand drying facilities. Provide paper towels, continuous roller towels or electrical dryers.

  10. Ensure workers wash their hands after handling customer items and before moving onto another task. For example, after collecting used plates for cleaning and before serving food to another table.

5.5 Changing rooms and showers

Objective: To minimise transmission risk in changing rooms and showers.

You will usually need to:

  1. Set clear use and cleaning guidance for showers, lockers and changing rooms where people need to use them. This is to ensure they are kept clean and clear of personal items and that social distancing is achieved as much as possible.

  2. Enhance cleaning of all facilities regularly during the day and at the end of the day.

  3. Keep the facilities well ventilated. For example, ensure extractor fans work effectively and open windows and vents where possible.

5.6 Handling goods, merchandise and other materials, and onsite vehicles

Objective: To reduce transmission through contact with objects that come into the workplace and vehicles at the worksite.

You will usually need to:

  1. Put in place cleaning procedures for goods and merchandise entering the site.

  2. Put in place cleaning procedures for the parts of shared equipment people touch after each use.

  3. Encourage people to wash their hands more often. Put in place more handwashing facilities for workers who handle goods and merchandise. Provide hand sanitiser where this is not practical.

  4. Regularly clean the inside of shared vehicles that workers may take home.

  5. Put in place enhanced handling procedures of laundry. This is to prevent potential contamination of surrounding surfaces, to prevent raising dust or dispersing the virus.

6. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and face coverings

In this section

6.1 Personal protective equipment (PPE)

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

COVID-19 is a different type of risk to the risks you normally face in a workplace. You do not need to manage this risk by using PPE. You need to manage this risk through social distancing, hygiene and fixed teams or partnering.

Do not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 unless you are in a clinical setting or responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.

Unless you’re in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that PPE has an extremely limited role in providing extra protection.

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.

6.2 Face coverings

A face covering is something which safely covers your mouth and nose. It is not the same as a face mask, such as the surgical masks or respirators used by health and care workers. Face coverings are not the same as the PPE used to manage risks like dust and spray in an industrial setting.

Face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk. These include:

  • minimising time spent in contact
  • using fixed teams and partnering for close-up work
  • increasing hand and surface washing

These measures remain the best ways of managing risk in the workplace. We would not expect to see employers relying on face coverings as risk management for the purpose of their health and safety assessments.

People may wear a face visor or shield in addition to a face covering but not instead of one. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth, and do not filter airborne particles.

Find more information on when and where to wear face coverings. 

6.2.1 Face coverings for staff and customers

By law, all businesses must remind customers and staff to wear a face covering where required. For example, by displaying posters or providing verbal reminders.

By law, staff and customers of venues that provide food and drink must wear a face covering indoors, unless they have an exemption. This includes for health, age or equality reasons. No one who is exempt from wearing a face covering should be denied entry if they’re not wearing one.

Customers and staff are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings, including to use the toilet or make payment. They must keep it on until they leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it.

Customers and staff may also choose to wear a face covering outdoors at the venue.

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

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

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

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

You already have legal obligations to protect your staff under existing employment law. This means taking appropriate steps to provide a safe working environment, which may include providing face coverings where appropriate, alongside other mitigations such as screens and social distancing.

You should advise workers how to use face coverings safely. This means telling workers:

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

Be aware that face coverings may make it harder to communicate with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.

7. Workforce management

In this section

7.1 Shift patterns and outbreaks

7.1.1 Shift patterns and working groups

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

You will usually need to:

  1. Manage unavoidable contact so it happens between the same people, as far as possible. Where people are split into teams or shift groups, fix these teams or shift groups.

  2. Consider where congestion caused by people flow and ‘pinch points’ can be improved. Use one-way systems, staggered shifts and assigned staff mealtimes to minimise transmission risk.

  3. Take into account the particular circumstances of people with different protected characteristics. These include disability, maternity and religion. Consider how they may be impacted by shift patterns and measures to reduce people flow.

7.1.2 Supporting NHS Test and Trace

Objective: To support NHS Test and Trace.

You must assist NHS Test and Trace. Do this by keeping a temporary record of:

  • all staff working on your premises
  • staff shift times on a given day
  • staff contact details

You must keep this data for 21 days. You must give this data to NHS Test and Trace if they ask for it. Your efforts could help contain clusters or outbreaks.

Check what data you need to collect and how it should be managed. 

7.1.3 Outbreaks in the workplace

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

You will usually need to:

  1. Make sure your risk assessment includes an up-to-date plan in case there is a COVID-19 outbreak. This plan should nominate a single point of contact (SPOC) where possible. The SPOC should 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 staff with symptoms of COVID-19
    – 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. This will help you to: 

    – implement control measures 
    – assist with communications to staff
    – reinforce prevention messages 

7.2 Work-related travel

7.2.1 Cars, deliveries on motorcycles and bicycles, accommodation and visits

Objective: To avoid unnecessary work travel. To keep people safe when they do need to travel between locations.

You will usually need to:

  1. Walk or cycle where possible. Where not possible, you can use public transport or drive. You must wear a face covering when using public transport. 

  2. Keep to a minimum the number of people outside your household or support bubble travelling together in any one vehicle. Wherever possible:

    – use fixed travel partners 
    – do not sit face-to-face 

  3. Provide adequate ventilation by switching on ventilation systems that draw in fresh air or opening windows. You could open windows only partially if it’s cold. For more information on ventilation in vehicles read HSE guidance on ventilation and air conditioning. 

  4. Clean shared vehicles between shifts or on handover. 

  5. When workers have to stay away from their home, centrally log their stay. Make sure any overnight accommodation meets social distancing guidelines.

  6. Ensure that delivery drivers or riders maintain good hygiene and wash their hands regularly.

7.2.2 Deliveries to other sites

Objective: To help workers delivering to other sites to maintain social distancing and hygiene practices. Examples of other sites include markets or customers’ premises.

You will usually need to:

  1. Put in place procedures to minimise person to person contact during deliveries to other customers. 

  2. Maintain consistent pairing where 2 person deliveries are required.

  3. Minimise contact during payments and exchange of documentation. For example:

    – use electronic payment methods 
    – sign and exchange documents electronically 

7.3 Communications and training

7.3.1 Returning to work

Objective: To make sure all workers understand COVID-19 related safety procedures.

You will usually need to:

  1. Communicate clearly, consistently and regularly. This will improve understanding and consistency of ways of working.

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

  3. Develop communication and training materials for workers prior to returning to site. This is especially important for new procedures for arrival at work.

7.3.2 Ongoing communications and signage

Objective: To make sure all workers are updated on how safety measures are being implemented or updated.

You will usually need to: 

  1. Engage with workers on an ongoing basis. This includes through trade unions or employee representative groups. Do this to monitor and understand any unforeseen impacts of changes to working environments. 

  2. Be aware of and focus on the importance of mental health at times of uncertainty. See the guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of COVID-19. 

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

  4. Use simple, clear messaging to explain guidelines using images and clear language. You should consider people:

    – who do not have English as their first language 
    – who have protected characteristics, such as visual impairments  

  5. Use visual communications to explain changes to rotas or stock shortages. For example, whiteboards or signage. Do this to reduce the need for face-to-face communications.

8. Inbound and outbound goods

Objective: To maintain social-distancing and avoid surface transmission when goods enter and leave the site, especially in high volume situations. For example, distribution centres, despatch areas.

You will usually need to:

  1. Revise pick up and drop off collection points, procedures, signage and markings.

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

  3. Minimise unnecessary contact at gatehouse security, yard and warehouse. For example, non-contact deliveries where the nature of the product allows for use of electronic pre-booking.

  4. Where possible and safe, have single workers load or unload vehicles.

  5. Where possible, using the same pairs of people for loads where more than 1 is needed.

  6. Enable drivers to access welfare facilities when required, consistent with other guidance.

  7. Encourage drivers to stay in their vehicles where this does not compromise their safety and existing safe working practice, such as preventing drive-aways.

  8. Create one-way flow of traffic in stockrooms.

  9. Adjust put-away and replenishment rules to create space for social distancing. Where social distancing cannot be maintained due to workplace design, design and implement sufficient mitigation strategies.

9. Tests and vaccinations

In this section

It’s important that you continue to put measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. These include:  

  • maintaining social distancing 
  • frequent cleaning 
  • good hygiene 
  • adequate ventilation 

This is important even if your workers have:

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

Where you’re providing testing on-site, you should ensure that workplace testing is carried out in a safe manner and in an appropriate setting where control measures are in place to manage the risk of COVID-19 transmission during the testing process. These include:

  • maintaining social distancing 
  • frequent cleaning 
  • good hygiene 
  • adequate ventilation

You should also ensure that an appropriate setting is available for individuals to wait in while their test is processed. 

9.1 Accessing testing

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can get a free NHS test.

If you registered your business for free test kits before 12 April 2021, you can order free rapid lateral flow tests to test employees with no COVID-19 symptoms until 30 June 2021.

If you did not register, you can pay an approved provider to provide tests or run a test site. Read guidance on getting COVID-19 tests for your employees.

Employees who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 can access testing free of charge at home or at a test site. Read guidance on accessing tests if you do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

Regular testing, alongside control measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, will have a key role to play in the future. Regular testing could help identify more positive cases of COVID-19 in the workplace. Read further guidance on your options for workplace testing, or call 119 for more information. 

Where to find more information