Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

The visitor economy

Guidance for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows.

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 the government intends to ease restrictions over time.

This guidance includes changes to restrictions for step 2, which come into effect on 12 April. It will be updated ahead of further steps, which are set out in the roadmap.

What’s changed

This guidance was updated on 8 April to reflect Step 2 of the roadmap.

Introduction

In this section:

What this guidance covers

This guidance will help those in the visitor economy 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

The visitor economy includes tourism, but more broadly refers to a wide variety of businesses which supply products and services to visitors (both staying and non-staying). This includes organisations (such as theme parks, zoos and bowling alleys) as well as activities and events (such as business meetings, trade shows and events at hotels and conference centres).

This guidance is aimed at business owners, operators and workers in the following areas:

  • indoor and outdoor attractions (such as arcades, guided tours, theme parks, family entertainment centres, funfairs, zoos and aquariums).

  • business events (such as conferences, exhibitions, conventions, consumer/trade shows and other events and meetings)

  • outdoor events (including shows and fairs, with guidance provided for event organisers and local authorities)

  • hotels and other guest accommodation (such as self-catering accommodation, B&Bs, camping and caravan parks, hostels, holiday homes, boats and short-term lets), where there are relevant events and activities taking place in that facility. For guidance on everyday operations and running of hotels and guest accommodation, see the guidance for hotels and guest accommodation

This guidance does not cover:

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 (by trade bodies, industry bodies or other organisations in your sector). For example, you can find more detailed advice in the guidance for the hospitality sector from UKHospitality, which will be of interest to many organisations in the visitor economy sector which contain or work with hospitality facilities.

  6. If there are any additional facilities within your premises (such as cafes and bars, personal care services, sport facilities or retail shops) or you are running certain types of events, there may be additional restrictions on those facilities or activities. For example, if you operate an outdoor event which includes a bar, you should also review the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, and the Events Industry Forum’s guidance for outdoor events. 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 need to 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.

  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 in the section on face coverings and PPE, and 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. Provide adequate ventilation where people are in enclosed spaces. This can be natural ventilation (opening windows, doors and vents), mechanical ventilation (fans and ducts), or a combination of both. You can find more information in the section on ventilation and the HSE guidance on ventilation and air conditioning.

  6. You must take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers, visitors and staff for 21 days. This is a legal requirement. Some exemptions apply. You can find more information 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. Encourage contactless payments. Whenever possible, use online booking and pre-payment and ask for contactless payments. You can find more information in the section on minimising transmission through contact.

  10. Consider how your business interacts with the local area, and avoid encouraging crowds. Limit risk by reducing queues on the street outside, staggering entry and exit times (within your venue and with other businesses nearby), and advise customers to avoid particular forms of transport at busy times or routes to avoid crowded areas. You can find more information in the section on capacity, queuing and avoiding crowds.

Back to top

Coronavirus restrictions

In this section:

Coronavirus restrictions are currently in place in England. Find out about 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 for Step 2, which come into effect on 12 April. It will be updated ahead of further steps, which are set out in the roadmap.

Key information for your sector

Business operation and closures

Step 1 (29 March)

Outdoor sport facilities can open to the public, but indoor sport facilities must remain closed. Businesses can operate outdoor premises used for the hire of boats, outdoor sports equipment for recreation such as bicycles or paddle boards and other outdoor watersport equipment.

Some outdoor spaces at closed visitor attractions can be visited, where they are public outdoor places. Visitors must adhere to the rules on social contact. This applies to outdoor locations at visitor attractions such as sculpture parks, botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses, landmarks, and heritage locations including historic parks, gardens, landscapes, ruins and monuments open to the elements, even where entry is paid for. Those outdoor venues and attractions that are permitted to remain open can offer takeaway food and drink (including takeaway alcohol).

Outdoor guided tours are permitted but must operate within the legal gathering limits. Tours can be provided for a single permitted group of visitors (up to 6 people, or two households), or multiple permitted groups that are kept separate throughout the activity. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.

Permitted venues, including exhibition and conference centres, can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely. However, you must not host conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, private dining events or banquets. You can find more information in the section on business meetings and events.

Business meeting/event show-rounds, viewings and site visits for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking can take place at venues which are permitted to open at each step of the roadmap, or where a relevant exemption applies.

Holiday accommodation is not permitted to open for leisure stays. All holiday accommodation may continue to open for legally permitted reasons, 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, education or training purposes. The full list of permitted reasons to provide accommodation can be found in the guidance for hotels and other guest accommodation.

Coaches, boats, aircraft and heritage railways:

Private hire coach tours are only permitted for a private group of a single household/support bubble. The coach driver and tour guide do not count towards the single household/support bubble rule. Private hire coaches must not accommodate groups containing multiple households (excluding support bubbles) travelling together to the same destination or making the same journey, e.g. for the purposes of a leisure tour, this is more akin to ‘indoor gathering’ than it is to ‘public transport’ and will therefore not be permitted until Step 3.

Heritage railway services going from place to place (i.e. point A to point B) are considered ‘public transport’ and can be permitted provided all social distancing and face covering requirements are followed.

Private aircraft and hired self-fly aircraft are permitted for single household/bubble use. International travel remains restricted and holidays abroad are not permitted. You can find more information in the guidance on safer travel, guidance on international travel and the section on changes to operations.

Self-drive day hire of boats is permitted, with restrictions for some types of vessel. Boats which are open-air can be used within the legal gathering limits (by a group of up to 6 people or 2 households/support bubbles). Boats which are enclosed can only be used by people from the same household or support bubble. For more information see the waterway guidance from British Marine.

Skippered boats can operate within daytime hours only, with restrictions for some types of vessel. Boats which are open-air can be used within the legal gathering limits (by groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/support bubbles). Boats which are enclosed can only be used by people from the same household or support bubble. The skipper does not count as part of the group. Where boats are partially enclosed, attendees may only go indoors to access/use the toilet. Travel should be minimised. You can find more information in the waterway guidance from British Marine.

Step 2 - from 12 April, the following will apply:

Outdoor recreation and visitor attractions can reopen, but indoor areas and settings must remain closed. Locations which have both indoor and outdoor facilities can open the outdoor areas and facilities, but indoor areas and facilities must remain closed (other than toilets and facilities such as baby changing rooms). Those outdoor venues and attractions that are permitted to remain open can offer food and drink as a takeaway service or to customers that are seated outdoors socially distanced (you can find more information in the section on hospitality. This applies to many visitor economy settings, including:

  • ziplining and other active outdoor leisure activities
  • adventure parks and activities
  • funfairs and fairgrounds
  • theme parks,
  • water parks, aqua parks,
  • drive in events, such as for cinemas, theatres, and other performances
  • animal attractions, including zoos, safari parks and aquariums
  • skating rinks and trampolining parks
  • visitor attractions at film studios
  • botanical or other gardens, biomes or greenhouses, sculpture parks, landmarks (including observation wheels or viewing platforms) and model villages
  • museums and galleries
  • heritage locations such as stately and historic homes, castles, heritage sites and ruins

Non-essential retail can reopen. This will include but not be limited to: clothing stores, charity and antique shops, homeware stores, showrooms (such as for vehicles which would include caravans), retail travel agents, auction houses and markets and betting shops (subject to additional COVID-secure measures, such as limiting the use of gaming machines).

Personal care facilities and close contact services can reopen. This will include: hair, beauty and nail salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas, which must remain closed), holistic therapy (including acupuncture, homeopathy, and reflexology) and tanning salons. You can find more information in the guidance for close contact services and the guidance for sport facilities (for saunas and steam rooms).

Indoor sports facilities will be permitted to open in addition to outdoor sports facilities. This includes sport facilities such as pitches, courts, golf and mini-golf courses, swimming pools, gyms and leisure centres. You should check the guidance for sport facilities, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

Self-contained accommodation can reopen for leisure stays for groups comprising a single household/support bubble. This is defined as accommodation in which facilities including kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as lounges, sitting areas, and any lifts, staircases or internal corridors used to access the accommodation are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble. See guidance for hotels and guest accommodation for more information.

Outdoor areas at hospitality venues (cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, including in member’s clubs) can reopen, including for takeaway alcohol. These venues may allow customers to use toilets (and facilities such as baby changing rooms) located inside. At any premises serving alcohol, customers will be required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (“table service”). You should check the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.

Business meeting/event show-rounds, viewings and site visits for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking can take place at venues which are permitted to open at each step of the roadmap, or where a relevant exemption applies. From Step 2, this will include conference centres and exhibition halls, including conference centres located within hotels. Viewings of other venues can only take place from Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May.

Some outdoor events organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, such as fetes, funfairs and fairgrounds, and literary fairs, are permitted. These events can take place if they meet the criteria set out in the section on outdoor events and meet specific conditions: they comply with COVID-secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, complete a related risk assessment; and adhere to all legal requirements including maintaining group sizes permitted by the social contact restriction at the relevant step in the roadmap, and also preventing mixing between groups; enforcing social distancing guidelines; and mandating face coverings in indoor areas where required. Events guidance will shortly be published for local authorities setting out more information on the events permitted at each step of the roadmap.

Skippered boats can operate, with restrictions for some types of vessel. Boats which are open-air can be used within the legal gathering limits (by groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/support bubbles) and multiple groups are permitted if the boat tour is organised by a business/organisation, a risk assessment is completed which will take into account capacity limits, COVID-secure guidance is adhered to, and people maintain social distancing and do not mingle outside of their permitted groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/support bubbles). Where boats are partially enclosed, attendees may only go indoors to access/use the toilet. Boats which are fully enclosed can only be used by people from the same household or support bubble. The skipper does not count as part of the group. For more information see the waterway guidance from British Marine.

Self-drive holiday hire of boats where people make overnight stays are permitted for people from the same household or support bubble.

The following businesses must remain closed:

  • Entertainment venues, including theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades and bingo halls
  • Some outdoor entertainment events, such as cinemas, theatres, circuses, air shows and other performance events (with the exception of drive-in entertainment events)
  • Indoor games and recreation facilities, such as bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), water parks and theme parks
  • Indoor animal attractions at zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife centres
  • Indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks.
  • Heritage railway services provided primarily for dining or other recreational purposes; or for the carriage of passengers from the same start and end point then this is an indoor attraction and must remain closed.
  • Private hire coaches must not accommodate groups containing multiple households (excluding support bubbles) travelling together to the same destination or making the same journey, e.g. for the purposes of a leisure tour. Coach tours with multiple groups of people will be permitted at Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May, in line with the wider social contact limits - in groups of 6 people or 2 households indoors.
  • Indoor hospitality venues, such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs. Takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through and delivery can continue to operate - see the section on hospitality measures in visitor economy settings, and the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaways for more information
  • Hotels and other guest accommodation which is not self-contained must remain closed for leisure stays. This includes accommodation, such as hostels, B&Bs, guest houses and any other accommodation with shared facilities including kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as lounges, sitting areas, and any lifts, staircases or internal corridors used to access the accommodation. This will also require the continued closure of any holiday lets or serviced accommodation within apartment buildings that share any of the facilities listed above. All accommodation may continue to open for the current legally permitted reasons, 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, education or training purposes. See guidance for hotels and guest accommodation for more information

You can find more information in the sections on changes to operations and changes to facilities and services.

Workplace testing

You can arrange regular asymptomatic testing for staff who cannot work from home. 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).

Registration for free test kits will close on 12 April; after this date businesses will still be able to access tests through private providers and community testing sites. You can find more information in the section on testing and vaccinations.

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 (each household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible), or an exemption applies. Social distancing should 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 unless an exemption applies. You can find more information in the coronavirus restrictions guidance, and the section on working with the public.

Minimise travel: people should minimise travel and avoid making unnecessary journeys (for example, by combining their trips where possible). International travel remains restricted and holidays abroad are not permitted. You can find more information in the guidance on safer travel and the international travel advice.

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 business meetings and events.

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. You should check the guidance on weddings and civil partnerships or the guidance for funerals and ensure you follow any relevant measures. You can find more information in the section on other events and attractions.

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

Back to top

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. Considering these risks and how to manage them 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 by maintaining 2 metres distance from others (or where 2m is not possible, at least 1m with additional control measures, such as wearing face coverings). 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.

  8. Ensure you are providing adequate ventilation where people are in enclosed spaces. This can be natural ventilation (through opening doors, windows and vents), mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, or a combination of both. You can find more information in the section on ventilation and the HSE guidance on ventilation and air conditioning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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:

  1. Share the results of your risk assessment with your workforce

  2. If possible, consider publishing the results on your website (and we would expect all businesses with more than 50 staff to do so)

  3. 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 aged 16 and over 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.

Many businesses in the visitor economy are required to keep a record of all visitors, customers and staff on the premises, to support NHS Test and Trace.

This applies to venues in the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors, including:

  • amusement arcades
  • casinos, betting shops and bingo halls
  • museums and galleries
  • cinemas
  • public libraries
  • art fairs

This also applies to related sectors, which have separate guidance:

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 aged 16 and over 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.

This is a legal requirement and failure to comply is punishable by fines. You can find out more about these requirements in the NHS Test and Trace guidance.

1.6 Who should go to the workplace

Anyone who can work from home should do so. If it is unreasonable for people to work from home, they can 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, so at times may be advised to take additional steps to protect themselves. Government advice is that clinically extremely vulnerable people no longer need to shield, and should follow the general coronavirus restrictions which apply to everyone.

However, clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to continue to take extra precautions to protect themselves. The guidance on protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable sets out practical steps they can take to minimise their risk of exposure to the virus.

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 if this is advised in future.

  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 put measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, including maintaining social distancing, frequent cleaning, good hygiene and adequate ventilation, even if your employees have:

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

Where you are 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 where possible, frequent cleaning, good hygiene and adequate ventilation. You should also ensure that an appropriate setting is available for individuals to wait in while their test is processed.

You can also order rapid lateral flow tests, to test employees with no coronavirus symptoms. The test kits are entirely free of charge until 30 June 2021 for businesses that register by 12 April.

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

  • 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). After this date, businesses will still be able to access tests through private providers and community testing sites.

Back to top

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 operations and closures - Step 1 (from 29 March)

Some outdoor spaces at closed visitor attractions can be visited, where they are public outdoor places. Visitors must adhere to the rules on social contact. This applies to outdoor locations at visitor attractions such as sculpture parks, botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses, landmarks, and heritage locations including historic parks, gardens, landscapes, ruins and monuments open to the elements, even where entry is paid for. Those outdoor venues and attractions that are permitted to remain open can offer takeaway food and drink (including takeaway alcohol).

Outdoor guided tours are permitted but must operate within the legal gathering limits. Tours can be provided for a single permitted group of visitors (up to 6 people, or two households), or multiple permitted groups that are kept separate throughout the activity. You can find more information in the section on changes to operations.

Permitted venues, including exhibition and conference centres, can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely. However, you must not host conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, private dining events or banquets. You can find more information in the section on business meetings and events.

Business meeting/event show-rounds, viewings and site visits for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking can take place at venues which are permitted to open at each step of the roadmap, or where a relevant exemption applies.

Holiday accommodation is not permitted to open for leisure stays. All holiday accommodation may continue to open for legally permitted reasons, 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, education or training purposes. The full list of permitted reasons to provide accommodation can be found in the guidance for hotels and other guest accommodation.

Non-essential retail must remain closed.

Coaches, boats, aircraft and heritage railways:

Private hire coach tours are only permitted for a private group of a single household/support bubble. The coach driver and tour guide do not count towards the single household/support bubble rule. Private hire coaches must not accommodate groups containing multiple households (excluding support bubbles) travelling together to the same destination or making the same journey (e.g. for the purposes of a leisure tour, this is more akin to ‘indoor gathering’ than it is to ‘public transport’ and will therefore not be permitted until Step 3).

Heritage railway services going from place to place (i.e. point A to point B) are considered ‘public transport’ and can be permitted provided all social distancing and face covering requirements are followed.

Private aircraft and hired self-fly aircraft are permitted for single household/bubble use. International travel remains restricted and holidays abroad are not permitted. You can find more information in the guidance on safer travel, guidance on international travel and the section on changes to operations.

Self-drive day hire of boats is permitted, with restrictions for some types of vessel. Boats which are open-air can be used within the legal gathering limits (by a group of up to 6 people or 2 households/support bubbles). Boats which are enclosed can only be used by people from the same household or support bubble. For more information see the waterway guidance from British Marine.

Skippered boats can operate within daytime hours only, with restrictions for some types of vessel. Boats which are open-air can be used within the legal gathering limits (by groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/support bubbles). Boats which are enclosed can only be used by people from the same household or support bubble. The skipper does not count as part of the group. Where boats are partially enclosed, attendees may only go indoors to access/use the toilet. Travel should be minimised. You can find more information in the waterway guidance from British Marine.

Business operation and closures - Step 2

From 12 April, the following will apply:

Outdoor recreation and visitor attractions can reopen, but indoor areas and settings must remain closed. Locations which have both indoor and outdoor facilities can open the outdoor areas and facilities, but indoor areas and facilities must remain closed (other than toilets and facilities such as baby changing rooms). Those outdoor venues and attractions that are permitted to remain open can offer food and drink as a takeaway service or to customers that are seated outdoors socially distanced (you can find more information in the section on hospitality. This applies to many visitor economy settings, including:

  • ziplining and other active outdoor leisure activities
  • adventure parks and activities
  • funfairs and fairgrounds
  • theme parks,
  • water parks, aqua parks,
  • drive in events, such as for cinemas, theatres, and other performances
  • animal attractions, including zoos, safari parks and aquariums
  • skating rinks and trampolining parks
  • visitor attractions at film studios
  • botanical or other gardens, biomes or greenhouses, sculpture parks, landmarks (including observation wheels or viewing platforms) and model villages
  • museums and galleries
  • heritage locations such as stately and historic homes, castles, heritage sites and ruins

Non-essential retail can reopen. This will include but not be limited to: clothing stores, charity and antique shops, homeware stores, showrooms (such as for vehicles which would include caravans), retail travel agents, auction houses and markets and betting shops (subject to additional COVID-secure measures, such as limiting the use of gaming machines).

Self-contained accommodation can reopen for leisure stays for groups comprising a single household/support bubble. This is defined as accommodation in which facilities including kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as lounges, sitting areas, and any lifts, staircases or internal corridors used to access the accommodation are restricted to exclusive use of a single household/support bubble. See guidance for hotels and guest accommodation for more information.

Some outdoor events organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, such as fetes, funfairs and fairgrounds, and literary fairs, are permitted. These events can take place if they meet the criteria set out in the section on outdoor events and meet specific conditions: they comply with COVID-secure guidance including taking reasonable steps to limit the risk of transmission, complete a related risk assessment; and adhere to all legal requirements including maintaining group sizes permitted by the social contact restriction at the relevant step in the roadmap, and also preventing mixing between groups; enforcing social distancing guidelines; and mandating face coverings in indoor areas where required. Events guidance will shortly be published for local authorities setting out more information on the events permitted at each step of the roadmap.

Skippered boats can operate, with restrictions for some types of vessel. Boats which are open-air can be used within the legal gathering limits (by groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/support bubbles) and multiple groups are permitted if the boat tour is organised by a business/organisation, a risk assessment is completed which will take into account capacity limits, COVID-secure guidance is adhered to, and people maintain social distancing and do not mingle outside of their permitted groups of up to 6 people or 2 households/support bubbles). Where boats are partially enclosed, attendees may only go indoors to access/use the toilet. Boats which are fully enclosed can only be used by people from the same household or support bubble. The skipper does not count as part of the group. For more information see the waterway guidance from British Marine.

Self-drive holiday hire of boats where people make overnight stays are permitted for people from the same household or support bubble.

The following businesses must remain closed:

  • Entertainment venues, including theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades and bingo halls
  • Some outdoor entertainment events, such as cinemas, theatres, circuses, air shows and other performance events (with the exception of drive-in entertainment events)
  • Indoor games and recreation facilities, such as bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), water parks and theme parks
  • Indoor animal attractions at zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife centres
  • Indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks.
  • Heritage railway services provided primarily for dining or other recreational purposes; or for the carriage of passengers from the same start and end point then this is an indoor attraction and must remain closed.
  • Private hire coaches must not accommodate groups containing multiple households (excluding support bubbles) travelling together to the same destination or making the same journey, e.g. for the purposes of a leisure tour. Coach tours with multiple groups of people will be permitted at Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May, in line with the wider social contact limits - in groups of 6 people or 2 households indoors.
  • Indoor hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs. Takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through and delivery can continue to operate - see the section on hospitality measures in visitor economy settings, and the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaways for more information
  • Hotels and other guest accommodation which is not self-contained must remain closed for leisure stays. This includes accommodation, such as hostels, B&Bs, guest houses and any other accommodation with shared facilities including kitchens, sleeping areas, bathrooms and indoor communal areas such as lounges, sitting areas, and any lifts, staircases or internal corridors used to access the accommodation. This will also require the continued closure of any holiday lets or serviced accommodation within apartment buildings that share any of the facilities listed above. All accommodation may continue to open for the current legally permitted reasons, 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, education or training purposes. See guidance for hotels and guest accommodation for more information

If your venue is closed to the public, you are permitted to open your venue if necessary for a limited number of legally permitted reasons (but should adhere to COVID-secure measures where relevant):

  • 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

Permitted venues, such as exhibition and conference centres, can open function and event spaces for essential work, education and training purposes (see the section on business meetings and events for more information). Event spaces can also be used to provide socially beneficial public services such as Nightingale hospitals.

Where closed venues are permitted to open, people can only mix between households if an exemption applies. For example, if it is for work purposes, or voluntary or charitable purposes.

You can find more information in the coronavirus restrictions guidance.

Travel and overnight stays

There are restrictions on travel and overnight stays in England.

  • Overnight stays are permitted for members of the same household or support bubble.

  • People should minimise travel and avoid making unnecessary journeys (for example, by combining their trips where possible).

  • People are permitted to travel to visit, maintain, clean and collect belongings from their second homes, self-catering holiday homes, caravans on parks or boats, if they are not your primary residence, but people should minimise travel where possible. You must adhere to indoor social contact limits at this stage and only make overnight stays as a single household or support bubble.

  • International travel remains restricted and holidays abroad are not permitted.

  • International visitors may continue to enter the country, but must follow steps including quarantine and COVID-19 tests. You can find more information on managing guests who are quarantining after international travel (including testing) in the guidance for hotels and other guest accommodation. There are additional restrictions on travel from some countries; people who have visited or passed through a ‘red-list’ country (from which travel to the UK is banned) in the last 10 days must quarantine for 10 days in a managed quarantine hotel. You can find more information in the guidance on what to do when you arrive in England.

You can find more information in the guidance for safer travel and the guidance for hotels and guest accommodation.

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.

Step 1 (from 29 March)

Outdoor sport facilities can open to the public, but indoor sport facilities must remain closed. Businesses can operate outdoor premises used for the hire of boats, outdoor sports equipment for recreation such as bicycles or paddle boards and other outdoor watersport equipment.

Personal care facilities (such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons, spas and massage services) must remain closed.

Permitted venues, including exhibition and conference centres, can hire out function and event spaces for essential work, education and training, where these events cannot reasonably be conducted remotely. However, you must not host conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, private dining events or banquets. You can find more information in the section on business meetings and events.

Business meeting/event show-rounds, viewings and site visits for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking can take place at venues which are permitted to open at each step of the roadmap, or where a relevant exemption applies.

Additional facilities and services permitted from Step 2

  • Indoor sports facilities will be permitted to open in addition to outdoor sports facilities. This will include: gyms and leisure centres, swimming pools, sports courts (such as tennis and basketball courts), golf courses, including mini golf, water sports venues, climbing wall centres, driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas at riding centres, archery venues, dance studios and fitness centres. You should check the guidance for sport facilities and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures and social contact rules.
  • Personal care facilities and close contact services will reopen. This will include: hair, beauty and nail salons, spas and massage centres (except for steam rooms and saunas), holistic therapy (including acupuncture, homeopathy, and reflexology) and tanning salons. You can find more information in the guidance for close contact services and the guidance for sport facilities (for saunas and steam rooms).
  • Indoor swimming pools will reopen but indoor water slides should remain closed. Unless a specific exemption exists, indoor swimming pools must only be attended/used in line with the wider social contact limits at this stage - as a single household or bubble indoors and for the purposes of exercise, therefore indoor water slides at these settings should close. The indoor water slides at these settings can reopen in Step 3, no earlier than 17 May when indoor entertainment and water parks reopen. Changing rooms can open at Step 2 but people should arrive at gym/leisure facilities ready and shower at home, and should minimise use of changing rooms.
  • Business meeting/event show-rounds, viewings and site visits for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking can take place at venues which are permitted to open at each step of the roadmap, or where a relevant exemption applies. From Step 2, this will include conference centres and exhibition halls, including conference centres located within hotels. Viewings of other venues can only take place from Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May.
  • 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. 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 other events and attractions.

You should check the guidance for hotels and guest accommodation for further information on services and facilities in accommodation settings.

2.3 Hospitality (food and drinks) in visitor economy settings

There are restrictions on hospitality facilities that will apply to any relevant facilities (such as bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes) within your venue. There are also restrictions on how you provide food and drink to guests in other settings, teas and coffees in business meetings.

Hospitality facilities:

Step 1 (from 29 March):

Except where used for permitted activities, hospitality facilities (such as restaurants, bars, pubs and takeaway services) must remain closed, with the exception of providing food and drinks for takeaway, delivery, click-and-collect and drive-through.

Step 2 - from 12 April, the following will apply:

  • Hospitality facilities attached to your venue, such as restaurants, bars, pubs and takeaway services, can open to serve customers who are seated outdoors, or to provide takeaway food and drink (including takeaway alcohol). These venues may allow customers to use toilets (and facilities such as baby changing rooms) located inside. Where outdoor hospitality service is being provided to customers who will remain on the premises:
  • at any venue that serves alcohol, customers will be required to order, be served and eat/drink while seated (even if no alcohol is ordered). Payment should also be taken at the table or at another outdoor location. If it is not possible for a venue to take payment outdoors, for example because the venue’s portable payment device is not working correctly or if other types of payment, such as cash, cannot be used, then payment can be taken indoors. If a venue needs to take payment indoors, it should ensure that only one customer is indoors at any one time for the purpose of making payment and it should operate a tab system to ensure that customers do not need to make multiple indoor payments during their time at the venue.
  • if a venue doesn’t serve alcohol, then customers can go indoors to order, collect and pay for food and drink at a counter, but they must consume any food and drink while seated outdoors.
  • Hospitality venues may provide takeaway food and drink (including takeaway alcohol).
  • Indoor service is not permitted.
  • You should check the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services, and ensure you adhere to any relevant measures.
  • You should check the guidance for hotels and guest accommodation for further information on hospitality in accommodation settings.

It is a legal requirement for staff and customers to wear face coverings in some settings like retail, leisure and hospitality venues (unless they have a valid reason not to wear one, such as a medical exemption).

Where this applies, businesses also have a legal duty to remind people to wear face coverings. You can find more information in the section on face coverings and PPE

2.4 Business meetings and events

If your venue is or contains a conference centre or other meeting facilities, you may be able to open these for a limited number of legally permitted reasons.

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

The legal gathering limits do not apply to essential work, education or training events. Attendees are not limited to gathering in groups of up to 6 people or 2 households.

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.

  • 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.

  • Business meeting/event show-rounds, viewings and site visits for the purpose of viewing the venue for a future booking can take place at venues which are permitted to open at each step of the roadmap, or where a relevant exemption applies. From Step 2, this will include conference centres and exhibition halls, including conference centres located within hotels. Viewings of other venues can only take place from Step 3 - no earlier than 17 May.

  • Catering can be provided at meetings and events for essential work, education and training purposes. This does not extend to activities that are not strictly related to the essential work, education or training, such as private dining or social purposes with work colleagues. If an essential work, education or training activity changes into a primarily social gathering, then social contact and indoor hospitality restrictions apply, and the activity must stop. This means that things like post-work drinks or festive celebrations must not take place in breach of the rules. Those participating in such a gathering could be fined, as could any premises hosting it.

  • 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 visitor economy 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.

What you should do:

Some parts of this information will be relevant only to larger events, and should be used to inform your planning for when these events are permitted to reopen.

  1. Check with the work, education or training organiser to ensure they are aware of the national restrictions, and that the meeting is essential and cannot be delayed or reasonably conducted remotely. Ask them to keep the number of attendees as small as possible.

  2. Consider pre-attendance screening, and prevent people attending if they have symptoms of COVID-19 (or a positive test) or have recently had any contact with someone positive or symptomatic, or have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

  3. Ensure customers are aware of any restrictions and safety measures in place, for example when booking or registering.

  4. Review meeting rooms and seating areas to ensure they allow social distancing. Space out chairs and tables to meet social distancing requirements, and discourage close face-to-face interaction between guests. Any auditorium or theatre-style seating at conferences and other large events should follow the principle for audience seating in the guidance for performing arts venues.

  5. Use signs and floor markings where needed, to highlight social distancing requirements, and direct staff to bathrooms and shared facilities. Ensure that social distancing measures are in place not just where the meeting is being conducted, but also entrances and exits, break rooms, canteens and similar settings.

  6. Ensure that meeting rooms are cleaned thoroughly between users and the frequent touch points such as door handles and surfaces are continuously kept clean through an event. Minimize the use of shared objects, such as pens and paper.

  7. Consider ways to manage groups of visitors, for example splitting delegates into smaller groups to manage entry and exit (colour-coding groups can help with routes and signage) and staggered lunch or break times.

  8. Consider providing (or recommending the purchase of) name tags and a badge holder for business cards, to avoid the exchange of business cards.

  9. Where hospitality is permitted, ensure that food and drinks can be consumed in line with safety and social distancing requirements. Arrange specific areas for food and drink provision such as lunches, teas and coffees (serve catering in the room where the meeting is taking place if possible, otherwise in a specific designated area), ensure visitors consume food and drink while seated, manage visitors to avoid crowding (for example, by organising delegates into groups), and arrange seating and tables to maintain social distancing guidelines (2m, or 1m with risk mitigation where 2m is not viable) between customers of different households or support bubbles. You should also use clear messaging on when face coverings should be worn. You can find more information in the sections on hospitality (food and drinks) in visitor economy settings, and face coverings and PPE.

  10. Avoid situations which encourage people to raise their voices, as this increases transmission risk. Where possible, do not play music or broadcasts, or lower the volume so that it does not make normal conversation difficult. Where possible, use microphones (cleaned between users) for communicating to larger groups. You can also use static microphones (rather than roving microphones which are passed between people) for delegates to ask questions, which should be cleaned between users. Consider providing disposable cleaning wipes and a bin, so that delegates can clean the microphone after their own use. Speakers should wear face coverings when presenting and speaking where possible, and speak at least 2m from attendees. Microphones and podiums should be cleaned between speakers.

  11. Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running fresh air ventilation systems at all times. Hold meetings outdoors or in well-ventilated rooms whenever possible. You can find more information in the section on managing your facility.

  12. Encourage contactless payments where possible.

  13. Consider any relevant guidance that has been produced for your sector. You can find links to resources and guidance for your sector (including indoor and outdoor attractions, meetings and events) in the section on where to find more information.

2.5 Other events and attractions (outdoor events, weddings, funerals)

Organised outdoor events

At Step 1, outdoor events are not permitted. 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.

Some outdoor events organised by a business, charity, public body or similar organisation, are permitted at Step 2 providing that:

  • Event organisers follow all relevant COVID-secure guidance depending on the type of event. This guidance varies according to the type of event and could include outdoor events, funfairs, performing arts or sports events.
  • Organisers and attendees adhere to all legal requirements including maintaining group sizes permitted by the social contact restriction at the relevant step in the roadmap, and preventing mixing between groups; enforcing social distancing guidelines; and mandating face coverings in indoor areas where required.
  • All reasonable action has been taken by the event organiser to mitigate risk to public health.

An event can take place at Step 2 if:

  1. All three of the following conditions are met:

    a)The event takes place outdoors

    b) Attendees are expected to arrive and leave the event in a staggered manner throughout the day

    c) It does not involve attendees converging on and congregating in a site for specific discrete performance or activity, such as a theatre or music performance

    OR

  2. It is a drive-in performance or show

This could therefore permit events such as:

  • agricultural shows
  • steam rallies
  • flower shows
  • gardening shows and events
  • literary fairs
  • car boot sales
  • community fairs
  • village fetes
  • animal and pet shows
  • funfairs and fairgrounds
  • drive-in cinemas and drive-in performance events (eg comedy, dance, music, theatre and air shows) - where people should remain in their vehicle for the duration of the performance
  • food and drink festivals

Events that are able to commence from Step 2 are not subject to a capacity cap on attendees. However, we expect these events to have fewer than 4,000 attendees per day. Organisers of events that are likely to have more than 4,000 attendees should notify the local authority and should only take place if the event organisers can assure the local authority that attendees will be dispersed across a sufficiently large geographic area or will be sufficiently distributed throughout the day, so as to mitigate the risk of crowding at the venue (including entry and exit points; toilet facilities; and food and drink facilities) and on public transport.

Step 2 social contact rules in England will remain the same as in Step 1 - outdoor gatherings must be limited to groups of six people or two households, with no indoor mixing allowed unless otherwise exempt. This limits people from attending an event in a group of larger than 6 people or 2 households. A ‘household’ can include a linked support bubble.

Local authorities are responsible for permitting or prohibiting organised outdoor events from taking place in their local area, within the framework which the government has provided for permitting events at each step of the roadmap. Decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis, with consideration given to both the risks and the mitigations in place as well as the economic and social benefits that events offer to local communities. Local authorities should not issue blanket bans on permitted events, and should assess each event in discussion with the organiser based on the COVID-secure guidance and relevant government restrictions in place at the time. Any refusal by a local authority to permit an event should be based on clear evidence that points to inadequate alignment with guidance or government restrictions, or to the absence of a comprehensive risk assessment.

See Coronavirus (COVID-19): Organised events guidance for local authorities for more information.

Appeals

There is an appeals process for events organisers should a local authority reject an application for an event. If a local authority does not permit an event, the Direction must contain details of the routes open to challenge it. There are two routes - one is to lay a complaint before the magistrates’ court and the second is to submit representations to the Secretary of State (directionnotification@dhsc.gov.uk).

More information on each of these routes can be found in the guidance on local authority powers to impose restrictions.

Organised outdoor event planning

This guidance provides a quick reference guide for those organising outdoor events such as 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. It is not intended to replace full guidance and you should also read the full version of the relevant guidance depending on the type of event. This could include outdoor events, funfairs, performing arts or elite sport events.

What you should do:

  1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. This is a legal requirement. Take into account emergency situations and any security risks. Share it with all your staff. You can find guidance in the section on how to do a risk assessment and in relevant guidance on outdoor events, funfairs, performing arts or elite sport. Keep it up-to-date as guidance and public health risks may change.

  2. Consult your local authority as early as possible. The earlier you do this, the more time you are providing to secure agreement for your event to proceed and any relevant licenses to be issued. Your local authority will review your risk assessment and can give you advice on how to manage your event whilst reducing risks to the local area.

    Find out if the local authority intends to convene a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) and how best to engage with this. If they do not intend to convene a SAG, contact the local Director of Public Health to discuss the event and whether any additional assurances are needed. Even when all necessary permissions are granted, your local authority can consider prohibiting, restricting or imposing requirements if they consider an event a serious and imminent threat to public health - so a good two-way channel of communication is essential. You can find relevant links and resources in the section on where to find more information.

  3. Engage with neighbouring businesses, transport operators and local transport authorities to assess any risks to the local area of increased visitors from other locations and potentially apply additional mitigations.

  4. 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.

  5. Ask your customers to wear face coverings in any indoor space or where required to do so by law. That is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions apply. Check when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own. You can find more information in the section on face coverings and PPE.

  6. 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 and considering whether extra marshals are required to enforce this. You can find more information in the section on minimising transmission through contact.

  7. Ensure that customers adhere to social distancing guidance and legal gathering limits. Put up signs to remind customers to maintain social distancing. You can find out more information in the sections on working with the public and minimising transmission through contact.

  8. Increase ventilation in enclosed structures such as marquees, for example by lifting or removing side walls or using fans to circulate fresh air.

  9. Support NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers, visitors and staff for 21 days and displaying an official NHS QR code poster. You can find out more information in the section on NHS Test and Trace, and the guidance on maintaining records to support NHS Test and Trace for details.

  10. 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 be isolating.

You should also read the full version of the relevant guidance depending on the type of event. This could include outdoor events, funfairs, performing arts or elite sport events.

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 permitted for up to 6 attendees from Step 1, and 15 attendees from Step 2 in COVID-secure venues that are permitted to open or where a broader exemption applies.

  • Celebrations such as receptions are not permitted at Step 1, but can take place with up to 15 people at Step 2. These should be in the form of a sit down meal and must only take place in COVID-secure venues that are permitted to open or where a broader exemption applies.

  • Wedding show-rounds, viewings and site visits can only take place at venues when the venue is permitted to open. This means whether an in-person viewing can take place will depend on the current step of the roadmap, and the venues open at that time. For example, in-person viewings at indoor visitor attractions at heritage sites (such as stately or historic homes and castles) can only take place from Step 3 (no earlier than 17 May) when these venues are permitted to reopen. Viewings at accommodation sites can take place at Step 2. People must not visit a closed venue for the purposes of a wedding viewing. Virtual tours or other arrangements should be considered, until venues reopen.

  • Funerals can be attended by up to 30 people. Wakes and other commemorative events can take place in venues that are permitted to open, for up to 6 attendees from Step 1, and 15 attendees from Step 2.

  • 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.

3. Managing visitors

In this section:

3.1 Working with the public

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 can find more information on social distancing in the guidance on stopping the spread of coronavirus.

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 coronavirus 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 (each household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible) or an exemption applies.
  • 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.
  • 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).

People should minimise travel and avoid making unnecessary journeys (for example, by combining their trips where possible).

You can find more information in the coronavirus restrictions guidance.

Businesses should not intentionally facilitate gatherings that breach legal gathering limits.

You must take all reasonable steps not to 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 reduce the risk of transmission for your customers, guests, visitors or audience members, by minimising contact opportunities.

What you should do:

  1. Consider how you can make any customer interaction areas safer. For example, in reception or ticket sales areas this could mean increased cleaning, keeping the activity time as short as possible and considering the addition of screens between guests and staff. In activity areas, it could mean having clearly designated positions from which employees can provide assistance to customers whilst maintaining social distance.

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

  3. Avoid situations which encourage people to raise their voices, which increases transmission risk. Where possible, do not play music or broadcasts, or lower the volume so that it does not make normal conversation difficult.

  4. Review your facility’s cleaning schedules and hygiene measures. This should include providing handwashing facilities and hand sanitiser, and encouraging staff and customers to wash their hands regularly. You should pay particular attention to high-traffic areas such as entrances, touchpoints such as door handles and handrails, and clean shared equipment between users. You can find more information in the section on managing your facility.

  5. Assess your venue’s capacity and put in place measures to ensure social distancing can be maintained at all times. You should take particular care to manage areas where crowding could occur, and put in place measures to manage queues and pinch-points such as entranceways. You can find more information in the section on capacity, queuing and avoiding crowds.

  6. Minimise customer self-service (e.g. of food, cutlery or condiments) and sharing of equipment or resources. Where equipment has to be handled by multiple users (such as staff radios, casino chips or laser tag equipment) it should be cleaned regularly (and whenever possible, between users) or replaced with a new, clean object as needed. If operating with shared equipment is essential, you should review any other measures that may be needed, such as making handwashing facilities or hand sanitiser available nearby. You can find more information in the section on managing your facility.

  7. Check whether face coverings are required in all or specific areas of your facility, and ensure this is communicated to guests. Encourage guests to wear face coverings on communal corridors. You can find more information in the section on face coverings and PPE.

  8. Check whether there are additional rules for specific areas in your facility (such as shops, restaurants and bars, soft play areas) and ensure you follow the appropriate guidance. You can find more information in the section on changes to facilities and services.

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 (2 metres distance, or at least 1m with additional control measures where 2m is not possible) can be maintained between guests, and avoid risk of 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

Additional considerations for the visitor economy (where permitted to open):

  • Assess your venue’s capacity. This will vary depending on layout or usage. Calculate the total floorspace and put in place a capacity limit which can reasonably enable 2m social distancing between guests. Take into account the specific nature of your activities or events. For indoor events and activities, you should consider additional limits to capacity or allow for more social distancing if the activities require a range of movement.

  • For performances or events where there is no ticketing, consider using other communication approaches, coupled with stewarding, to manage the numbers attending. Free, open, unticketed and unfenced performances or events will need to demonstrate a robust approach to control numbers and manage social distancing, as well as fulfilling requirements to support contact tracing in the event of a subsequent case of COVID-19.

  • Manage your facility or event scheduling so that groups of attendees, large bookings or audiences for different performances are not arriving or using the facility at the same time in a way that compromises adherence to social distancing, and to allow for adequate cleaning.

  • Consider ways to manage groups of visitors, for example splitting delegates into smaller groups to manage entry and exit (colour-coding groups can help with routes and signage) and staggered lunch or break times.

  • If you facilitate live events, reconfigure entertainment spaces so that audiences are seated rather than standing where possible. For example, you could repurpose ticketed standing areas as ticketed seating areas. Ensure that the audience placement allows for social distancing. You can find more information about how to seat audiences (particularly for auditorium or theatre-style venues) in the guidance for the performing arts.

  • Consider how to manage crowding before and after performances. Extra stewarding or marshalling may be needed at key pinch-points, and care should be taken to remove any barriers at exits that might cause crowding.

  • Ensure any changes to venues or premises take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, such as disabled customers. This may include entrances and exits, queue management and seating arrangements. Ensure any changes or measures are communicated appropriately before any performance as well as when in the venue or premises.

  • Manage queues to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals or other businesses, for example by introducing queuing systems, using barriers and having staff direct customers. If outdoor queuing is likely, let customers know that they may need to queue in rain or colder weather, and to bring umbrellas or wear warm clothing if needed.

  • If your event is outdoors, review the specific guidance in the section on outdoor events, and consider how you will engage with your relevant bodies like your local authority.

Back to top

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 control measures, such as wearing face coverings).

What you should do:

  1. Ensure that all staff are aware of social distancing guidance and the need to maintain 2 metres distance from others.

  2. Consider the needs of staff with protected characteristics, 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 all areas of your facility. 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. You can find advice on measures which may be appropriate in different settings in the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on social distancing to make your workplace COVID-secure.

  4. Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full in relation to a particular activity, you should consider whether that activity needs to continue for your business to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission for your staff.

You should also consider other control measures to minimise risk. These could include:

  • Minimising the number of staff on-site, or reducing the number of people in close proximity in the work area.

  • 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. You can find more information in the section on shift patterns and working groups.

  • Limiting the movement of staff around the site. You can find more information in the section on moving around buildings.

  • 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. You can find more information in the section on keeping the site clean.

  • Encouraging staff to wash hands frequently, and providing hand sanitiser in areas with poor access to hand washing. You can find more information in the section on hygiene.

  • Ensuring higher-risk activities (involving close contact) are as brief 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). You can find more information in the section on workplaces and workstations.

  • Avoiding face-to-face working wherever possible, for example by arranging desks/workspaces so that staff are back-to-back or side-to-side. You can find more information in the section on workplaces and workstations.

  • Maintaining good ventilation by opening doors, windows and vents, where possible. You can find more information in the section on ventilation and guidance from the Health and Safety Executive on ventilation and air conditioning.

You can find further advice in the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on social distancing to make your workplace COVID-secure.

Further considerations for visitor economy settings:

  • Consider using clearly designated supervising positions, from which staff leading activity (or instructors and coaches) can provide advice or assistance to customers while maintaining appropriate social distancing.

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

  • Ensure that staff who work with multiple groups can do so safely. They should maintain strict social distancing and hygiene measures with each group, and minimise contact with participants (for example avoiding demonstrating games on or with participants).

  • Consider how to manage risk for visiting staff who work across multiple locations. Work with staff to understand the number of facilities they visit and consider whether you should take any steps to manage this risk. For example, reducing the number of contacts they are exposed to (by reducing the number or size of groups, or number of locations) or using testing as a supplementary measure. Ensure they are aware of the safety measures you have put in place in your facility.

  • Minimise the use of shared objects, and ensure they are cleaned between users. For example, put in place picking-up and dropping-off collection points where possible, rather than passing goods hand-to-hand. Keep returns separate from displayed merchandise or stock, to reduce the likelihood of transmission through touch.

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).

Additional considerations for the visitor economy:

  • Use visual communications (for example, whiteboards or signage) to explain changes to conference schedules or logistics to reduce the need for face-to-face communications.

  • Consider whether you have enough appropriately trained staff to implement safety measures. For example, having dedicated staff to encourage social distancing or to manage security.

  • For organisations which conduct physical searches of visitors, ensure staff are appropriately trained and take steps to minimise risk. Consider how to ensure the safety of those conducting searches while maintaining security standards. You can find more information in the guidance on managing security risks.

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. Use screens or barriers to create a physical barrier between individuals or workspaces where possible (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 schedule 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).

Back to top

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 or poor maintenance.

    Most air conditioning systems do not need adjustment if they draw in a supply of fresh air, 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 doors, windows and vents to improve natural ventilation. You can find more information in the section on ventilation and Health and Safety Executive guidance on ventilation and air conditioning.

  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 doors, windows and vents, where possible. You can find more information in the section on ventilation and Health and Safety Executive guidance on ventilation and air conditioning.

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

Additional considerations for the visitor economy:

  • Check if there is specific sector advice on cleaning your facility. For example, for advice on theme park rides and attractions see the guidance from the Showmen’s Guild of Great Britain.

  • Introduce enhanced cleaning of all facilities regularly during the day and at the end of the day, with particular regard to any shared facilities or equipment.

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, windows and vents where possible, and ensuring extractor fans work effectively.

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

  6. Ensure suitable options for drying are available (either paper towels or hand dryers). Consider the needs of people with disabilities.

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

Additional considerations for the visitor economy:

  • Encourage customers to use handwashing facilities or hand sanitiser as they enter the premises to reduce the risk of transmission by touching products or surfaces.

  • Check and refill hand sanitiser facilities regularly, particularly in busy areas.

  • Ensure handwashing facilities or hand sanitiser stations are available near shared facilities, equipment and objects (for example, at the entrance and exit of theme park attractions and rides).

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.

5.5 Ventilation

Ventilation can be used as a control measure to reduce the risk of transmission of COVD-19. Tiny airborne particles can travel further than droplets, and in poorly ventilated spaces this can lead to viral particles spreading between people. Good ventilation can reduce this risk.

Ventilation into any building should be optimised to ensure a fresh air supply is provided to all areas of the facility and increased wherever possible.

What you should do:

  1. Consider how best to maximise ventilation in your facility. There are different ways of providing ventilation, including mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, natural ventilation which relies on passive flow through openings (doors, windows, vents) or a combination of the two. Open doors, windows and air vents where possible, to improve natural ventilation.

  2. Keep toilet, shower and changing facilities well-ventilated, for example by opening doors, windows and air vents where possible and ensuring extractor fans work effectively. The risk of transmission is greater in spaces that are poorly ventilated.

  3. Consider if you should take further steps to increase ventilation, particularly in areas which have limited air output or where higher-risk activity (such as exercise or people singing or raising their voices) takes place. For example, by opening doors, windows and air vents.

  4. Take additional steps to minimise risk. Ventilation will not reduce the risk of droplet or surface transmission, so other control measures such as cleaning and social distancing are also required.

You can find more detailed advice on identifying poorly ventilated spaces, and further steps you can take to improve ventilation, in the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on ventilation and air conditioning.

Back to top

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 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.

Face coverings for facilities in visitor economy settings

Staff and workers

There are some types of workplace where face coverings must be worn by staff. This includes retail, leisure and hospitality facilities. In these settings, face coverings may be required for some or all staff.

  • 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).

  • Staff who don’t work in public areas or have close contact with members of the public do not have to wear face coverings. However, you should encourage or allow staff to wear face masks 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.

Visitors, guests, customers and audiences

There are some settings where face coverings are required for visitors. This includes:

  • shops and retail settings
  • hospitality venues such as bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes (except when customers are seated at a table to eat or drink)
  • theatres
  • personal care and beauty facilities such as hair salons
  • visitor attractions and entertainment venues
  • public areas in hotels and hostels.

You should check if this applies to your facility.

In these settings, it is a legal requirement for customers to wear face coverings unless they have a valid reason not to (such as a medical exemption). You have a legal duty to remind your customers to wear face coverings where it is mandated.

People can remove face coverings in these settings in some scenarios, such as:

  • if asked to do so by staff for identification or age-identification (e.g. when purchasing alcohol)
  • if required in order to receive treatment or services, for example when getting a facial
  • if undertaking exercise
  • when seated to eat or drink in a hospitality premise such as a pub, bar, restaurant or cafe (face coverings must be put back on once they have finished eating or drinking)

There may be other rules for different facilities in your venue. For example, people are not required to wear face coverings in sport facilities, however they should be encouraged to wear face coverings in enclosed public areas when not engaging in sport or physical activity. Staff providing close-contact services (such as massage therapists and beauty treatments) are required to wear a visor and a specific type of face mask. You can find more information in the guidance on close contact services and sport facilities.

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.

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.

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.

Back to top

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.

  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.

Back to top

Where to find more information

In this section:

Guidance for your sector

Indoor and outdoor attractions:

Meetings and events:

Outdoor event planning:

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)

Back to top