Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Events and attractions

Guidance for people who work in settings related to events and visitor attractions.

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

Omicron variant: changes to restrictions

New measures have been put in place as a precaution, because cases of a variant of concern have been found in the UK. There are changes to the rules in England on self-isolation, testing after international travel, and face coverings, which apply from 4am on Tuesday 30 November.

Customers and staff are legally required to wear face coverings indoors in shops and on public transport services. This includes:
- shops and close contact services (such as hairdressers and beauty therapists), including those within another type of business or facility
- shops and communal areas in shopping centres
- public transport services (such as buses, trains and trams) and transport services open to the public (such as indoor areas of private hire coaches, open-top bus tours and leisure boats)
- transport hubs (such as airports; maritime ports; rail, bus and coach stations), including any businesses located within a transport hub (except hospitality venues like cafes and bars)

This guidance will be updated shortly to include more information on these changes.

What’s changed

30 November 2021: Information box added on new measures (face coverings, self-isolation and testing after international travel) because of the Omicron variant. Further information on these measures will be added shortly.

Priority actions

There are six main actions you can take to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus (COVID-19). These are called priority actions as they are important steps that will apply to most businesses. Read the full guidance for advice on how to do this in a way that works for your workplace.

  1. Complete a health and safety risk assessment that includes risks from COVID-19. This should consider the points below in the rest of this guidance. It should also take into account any reasonable adjustments needed for staff and customers with disabilities. You should share your risk assessment with your staff. Read more about risk assessments and additional advice for event organisers.

  2. Provide adequate ventilation. Make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air to enclosed spaces where there are people present. This can be natural ventilation (windows, doors and vents), mechanical ventilation (fans and ducts), or a combination of both. Identify any poorly ventilated spaces that are usually occupied (a CO2 monitor may help in some cases) and consider how to improve fresh air flow in these areas. Heritage locations should take into account the preservation of the building or artefacts displayed. Read more in the section on ventilation.

  3. Clean more often. It’s especially important to clean surfaces that people touch a lot. Heritage locations should ensure cleaning materials and schedules are appropriate for historic surfaces and materials. You should ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and to clean their hands frequently. Read more about cleaning and hygiene.

  4. Turn away people with COVID-19 symptoms. Staff members or customers should self-isolate immediately if they show any symptoms of COVID-19 and book a PCR test as soon as possible, even if they are fully vaccinated. If they receive a positive COVID-19 test result, they must complete their full self-isolation period. They must also self-isolate if they are informed by NHS Test and Trace that they are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, unless they are exempt (see more on when people need to self-isolate). If you know that a worker is legally required to self-isolate, you must not allow them to come to work. It’s an offence to do this. Read more about COVID-19 cases in the workplace.

  5. Enable people to check in at your venue. You are no longer legally required to collect contact details, however doing so will help to support NHS Test and Trace to reduce the spread of the virus. You can enable people to check in by providing an NHS QR code poster, though you do not have to ask customers to check in or turn them away if they refuse. If you display an NHS QR code, you should also have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details for those who ask to check in but do not have the app. Read more about NHS QR codes.

  6. Communicate and train. Keep all your workers, contractors and visitors up-to-date on how you’re using and updating safety measures. Read more about communicating with workers and communicating with customers.

Some areas or types of facility within your premises or event may have their own specific guidance. If this is relevant to you, review the guidance for hospitality venues (such as cafes and bars), shops, branches and close contact services, offices, factories and labs, construction and other outdoor work, and hotels and guest accommodation. You can also check with relevant organisations in your sector, as they may have tailored advice for specific types of facility or business.

Introduction

In this section:

What this guidance covers

This document gives you guidance on how to manage your workplace safely and organise events while reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. It provides practical considerations on how to apply this in a workplace which provides visitor attractions (such as a theatre, historic building, theme park or conference centre) or when organising events (such as exhibitions, trade shows, live performances, festivals, street events and sporting events).

This guidance is informed by the findings of the Events Research Programme, which conducted research at pilot events (including sport, theatre, live music and business events) to establish how transmission risks can be reduced and managed. It includes advice for event organisers and local authorities on how to manage risks to ensure that events can take place safely.

To help you decide which actions to take, you must carry out an appropriate assessment of the risks that apply to your workplace (find out how to do a risk assessment). You can then identify the most appropriate actions to help to keep staff, customers and others safe. You must consult unions or workers as part of this process, and you may also want to consult industry representatives.

You are not required to implement every action listed in this guidance. You should use this guidance to consider the risk within your business and help decide the appropriate measures to adopt. The priority actions are a good place to start, as they are important measures which will apply to most businesses.

This guidance does not supersede your existing legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment and equalities duties. It’s important that as a business or an employer you continue to comply with your existing obligations. This includes those relating to equality between individuals with different protected characteristics. This document contains non-statutory guidance to take into account when complying with these existing obligations.

Remember this guidance does not just cover your workers. You must also take into account customers and guests, agency workers, contractors, volunteers and other people who visit your workplace.

Who this guidance is for

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

Visitor attractions and recreational facilities

  • Indoor and outdoor attractions, such as arcades, guided tours, water parks and theme parks, family entertainment centres, funfairs and fairgrounds, visitor attractions at film studios, and animal attractions at zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife centres.
  • Leisure and recreation facilities, such as bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, laser quest, escape rooms, paintballing, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks), adventure parks and activities (such as ziplining), and trampolining centres.
  • Heritage attractions open to the public, such as a castle, historic house, historic park, garden or landscape, industrial heritage monument or open-air site including mobile heritage.
    • This includes nationally designated heritage assets such as nationally listed buildings (Grade I, II* or II), scheduled monuments, registered parks and gardens (Grade I, II* or II), cultural World Heritage Sites and registered battlefields.
    • It also covers all archaeological sites, as most archaeological fieldwork is carried out on non-designated archaeological sites. This also includes businesses and organisations which work in/on historic buildings or on sites with heritage significance (including work on historic marine sites such as licensees of Protected Wrecks), such as construction, fieldwork or conservation activity. These types of settings and businesses may also wish to review any relevant advice in the guidance for construction and outdoor work.
  • Sites or places open to the public that occupy a historic structure, site or landscape, such as a place of worship which happens to be a historic building.
  • Performing arts venues, such as theatres, concert halls, and dedicated music venues (which host music and other programming artists that perform in front of audiences).

Events

  • Indoor and outdoor events of any size, organised by businesses, charitable organisations, or public bodies. This includes business events (such as conferences, exhibitions, conventions, consumer/trade shows and other events and meetings), grassroots sport events, performing arts events (including theatre, music and other live performance events and festivals), and other events (including shows, fashion events, street events and fairs).
  • Elite sport competitions, where they are run as an event with spectators. If you are organising an elite sport event, you should ensure it operates in line with the guidance for elite sport which covers all other aspects of elite sport operations. You should also follow the relevant measures for events in this guidance, where you are organising an event with spectators, as well as maintaining your business-as-usual engagement with Safety Advisory Groups and other relevant partners.
  • Local authorities and other local partners, who work with event organisers to ensure that events can take place safely.

This guidance does not cover:

  • Hotels and other guest accommodation (such as self-catering accommodation, B&Bs, camping and caravan parks, hostels, holiday homes, boats and short-term lets), except where there are relevant events and activities taking place in that facility. For advice on everyday operations and running of hotels and guest accommodation, see the hotels and guest accommodation guidance.
  • Grassroots sport participation, provision and facilities - see the separate guidance for grassroots sport facilities.
  • Elite sport operations and management (including events without spectators) - see the separate guidance for elite sport.

  • Transport services as a visitor attraction or tourism activity, such as hire of boats and planes, and domestic cruises. You can find the advice on these services in the safer transport guidance for operators. Where these services are used for holiday accommodation (such as caravans, or holiday hire of boats), this is covered by the hotels and guest accommodation guidance.

  • Other types of heritage organisation, including those listed below. However some aspects of this guidance are likely to be relevant, and operators can follow these measures where it would help them to manage their locations safely.
    • Historic buildings that are solely private residences.
    • Museums which are in historic buildings should have reference both to this guidance and to the specific guidance for the museums sector issued by the National Museum Directors’ Council, and which has been prepared in line with guidance published by the government.
    • Sites designated locally such as conservation areas or buildings on local lists, and other heritage projects with comparable considerations including industrial, maritime and transport heritage assets.

Risk assessments

In this section:

As an employer, by law you must protect workers and others (including contractors, volunteers, customers and other users) from risks to their health and safety. This includes risks from COVID-19. COVID-19 transmission is a hazard that can occur in the workplace. You should manage it in the same way as other workplace hazards.

You must:

  • complete a risk assessment of COVID-19 in the workplace
  • identify ways to manage those risks

Doing a risk assessment will help you decide whether you have done everything you need to to manage the risks of COVID-19.

Failure to carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, and put in place control measures to manage the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace, may be considered a breach of health and safety law.

How to do a risk assessment

Follow the steps set out in the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on how to do a risk assessment and how to assess COVID-19 risks.

This will help you to:

  • identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of COVID-19
  • think about who could be at risk
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
  • identify the controls needed to reduce the risk
  • monitor the controls you put in place to make sure they are working as you expected

If you have 5 or more employees, you are required to record your risk assessment. You can use the risk assessment templates provided by HSE. If you have fewer than 5 workers you do not have to write anything down as part of your risk assessment, but you may find it helpful to do so.

Consult your workers

You should include your workers in this process. As an employer, you have a legal duty to consult workers on health and safety matters. You can do this by listening and talking to them about the work they do and how you will manage the risks from COVID-19.

You could also consult industry representatives, such as a recognised trade union health and safety representative. If you do not have any, you can consult with a representative chosen by workers. As an employer, you cannot decide who the representative will be.

Raising concerns

Employers and workers should always come together to resolve issues.

You should let your employees know that they can tell you if they’re worried about any workplace risks. They can also contact their employee representative or their trade union (if they have one).

Employees can also contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) if they have concerns.

They can submit a working safely enquiry form or contact HSE’s COVID-19 enquiries team on 0300 790 6787 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm).

Enforcement

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

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

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

If an enforcing authority issues you with any advice or notices, you should respond rapidly and within their timescales. Inspectors are carrying out compliance checks nationwide to ensure that employers are taking the necessary steps.

Local authority powers - public health

Local authorities have temporary powers to help them to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This means they can place restrictions on a business if there is a serious and imminent threat to public health because of COVID-19. This could mean limiting the number of people who can attend an event, changing the way a venue operates to reduce the risk of transmission or prohibiting an event from happening.

These powers can only be used where they are necessary to protect public health. The measures imposed by the local authority must be a proportionate way to secure that protection. They cannot be used to place blanket restrictions on types of events or venues. See the guidance on local authority powers to impose restrictions for more information.

Managing risk

To carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment, you should consider all the different ways the virus can be spread (aerosols, droplets and surfaces) and put in place measures that work together to reduce the risk of transmission.

To identify the most effective and appropriate actions for your workplace, think about the transmission types that present the greatest risk in your workplace and the actions that would help you to reduce the risks. This will depend on the nature of your business (including the size and type of workplace), and how it’s organised, operated, managed and regulated.

Some activities can increase the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19. This happens where people are doing activities which generate more particles as they breathe heavily, such as singing, dancing, exercising or raising their voices. You should consider the specific risks of your facility or event, and take additional care to manage situations where there is a higher risk of catching or passing on COVID-19.

If you are organising events, you should also consider the risk factors identified by the Events Research Programme when undertaking risk assessments for their particular event or premises. Read additional risk guidance for events.

Some risk assessments may need to be broken down to cover different areas and different time periods within the same venue, particularly for large events. For example, those working at concession stands may be in an area with large concentrations of people for a significant part of the event, whereas attendees will move in and out of the area and have less exposure.

You should ensure that your risk assessment can explain the actions you are taking and why they have been chosen. You should monitor any measures you put in place to make sure they continue to protect customers and workers, and update your risk assessment if needed.

What to include in your risk assessment

The main way of spreading COVID-19 is through close contact with an infected person. When someone with COVID-19 breathes, speaks, coughs or sneezes, they release particles containing the virus that causes COVID-19. These particles can be breathed in by another person as aerosols or droplets.

  • You can reduce aerosol (airborne) transmission by ensuring the workplace is well-ventilated. This could mean increasing natural ventilation by letting in fresh air, increasing mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, and using outdoor space where possible. It’s important to identify poorly ventilated spaces that are usually occupied and improve fresh air flow in these areas. Read more about ventilation.

  • You can reduce droplet transmission by putting in place measures which reduce contact between people who do not normally mix. This could mean placing screens or barriers between people who will come into close proximity to each other, reducing the amount of time involved in customer-facing activities, or thinking about whether you can organise your teams or arrange your workplace in a different way. Read about reducing contact for workers and managing customers, spectators and audiences.

Surfaces and objects can be contaminated with COVID-19 when people who are infected cough or sneeze near them, or if they touch them.

  • You can reduce surface transmission by keeping your workplace clean (particularly surfaces that people touch regularly), providing hand sanitiser and encouraging good hygiene behaviours such as regular handwashing. Read more about cleaning and hygiene.

Your risk assessment should also include:

  • How you will reduce the risk of COVID-19 cases being brought in to your workplace by asking staff and customers who feel unwell not to attend. Remember that you must not require a worker who is legally required to self-isolate to work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating (normally their home) – this is the law. See COVID-19 cases in the workplace.
  • What you will do if there is a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 in your workplace. This should include an up-to-date plan for managing cases or outbreaks, with a member of staff as the single point of contact who will contact local public health teams. See COVID-19 cases in the workplace.
  • How you will manage the risks that could be caused by periods of closure. If your building is unoccupied or has reduced occupancy, you should take steps to manage any risks that could arise when reopening. Read HSE’s guidance on the risk of legionella.
  • 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. See equality in the workplace.
  • Managing risk in any unusual workplaces. This could include specialist construction or archaeological sites, where it can be necessary for people to work in close contact in enclosed spaces (such as excavation trenches and roof spaces). You should consider ways to modify the work area or working practices to mitigate risk, and may find relevant advice in the guidance for construction and outdoor work.
  • The security implications of any decisions and control measures you intend to put in place. Any revisions could present new or altered security risks you may need to mitigate.

Additional risk guidance for events

Identifying risks

The Events Research Programme identified the following risks associated with specific settings or events, though it is important to recognise that not all of these risks are associated with every venue or setting. You should consider taking additional steps to manage risk if the event site or venue includes one or more of the factors below.

The risk of COVID-19 transmission at any event will depend on several factors, including the prevalence of the virus at the time and the characteristics of the event and the event venue. The highest risks of transmission happen when multiple factors such as venue environment, attendee behaviours and travel to and from events are combined. For example, an indoor event with a large number of people mixing in close proximity for a prolonged period of time is likely to present a higher risk than fewer people outside for a shorter period.

  • Indoor events: Indoor events present a significantly higher risk of transmission than similar events taking place in outdoor spaces. Poor ventilation in indoor spaces increases the risk of transmission further. Ventilation is the process of introducing fresh or cleaned air into indoor spaces. The more fresh or cleaned air that is brought inside, the more diluted any airborne virus will become. In poorly ventilated spaces the amount of virus in the air can build up, and residual virus can remain in the air after an infected person has left, increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19.

  • Outdoor events (including those with indoor areas): Although outdoor events typically present fewer risks than indoor events, there may still be some indoor spaces within outdoor venues where risks are likely to be higher. This could include areas where people congregate at higher densities (such as concession stands, bars, turnstiles and toilets), in which ventilation may be poorer. These risks can be reduced through implementing such things as queuing systems and appropriate signage to avoid congestion (see ‘congested areas’ below for further details).

    Indoor settings such as private boxes and restaurants may still be occupied by some attendees for several hours during an event classified as ‘outdoors’. Ensuring that these spaces are sufficiently well-ventilated, and following the steps set out in the guidance for hospitality venues, can reduce transmission risk in these areas.

  • Congested areas: Some areas are more prone to potential congestion and crowding, including concession stands, bars, toilets, turnstiles, lifts, corridors, walkways, entry/exit points and ticket collection points. Congested areas or ‘pinch points’ will be present at all types of events (including outdoor events), and could potentially lead to an increased risk of transmission. Event organisers may want to consider additional risk management in these areas such as limiting the number of individuals who congregate for a longer duration, staggered entry and exit, or greater levels of ventilation in these zones.

  • Events with free movement between people: Events where there is significant close-mixing of people typically pose a higher risk, especially at those events where people will naturally tend to come together and mix for prolonged periods of time (for example, in front of a stage at a live performance, during a street event or on a dancefloor).

  • Crowd density: As crowds at an event become denser (particularly in relation to venue size and capacity), it becomes more difficult for people to be physically distant from each other, and close contact inevitably increases. The Events Research Programme found that increasing crowd density can have an impact on localised ventilation which may in turn result in an increased risk of transmission. Key areas of higher density were observed in queues, in hospitality areas, and when attendees were leaving the venue at the end of the event.

  • Large numbers of attendees: Events where large numbers of people attend do not necessarily constitute a greater risk than smaller events, (particularly if the event is outside or attendees are dispersed over a large area). However, end-to-end transmission risks are increased through large numbers of people travelling to and from venues and visiting nearby premises such as pubs, bars and restaurants. Early engagement between event organisers and local transport authorities to manage crowds near transport hubs and routes to and from the venue should be factored into the event planning process.

  • Events involving energetic activity: Observations from the Events Research Programme indicate that unstructured and energetic activity with a high crowd density may lead to higher airborne transmission risks. This could include activities such as actively chanting and celebrating while attending sporting events, singing along at gigs and concerts, or dancing/singing at a nightclub.

If you have identified that your event involves higher risks of transmission, you should take steps to manage this, by reducing the risk or mitigating its impact. Use the risk management template to identify risks and risk management options specific to your event or setting, and help you to plan your event.

Many large events will inherently involve multiple factors such as crowd density and free movement, but this guidance sets out ways you can mitigate these risks to ensure that they can take place as safely as possible. See managing customers, spectators and audiences for advice on specific measures. You can also read further guidance in the section on event planning.

Managing your workforce

In this section:

Testing and vaccination

You should continue to put measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This is important even if your workers have:

  • received a recent negative test result
  • had the vaccine (either 1 or 2 doses)
  • natural immunity. This is proof of a positive PCR within 180 days (and after the 10-day isolation period).

Consider asking your employees to get tested regularly.

Going to the workplace

Over the summer, we have seen a gradual return to offices and workplaces. As workers return to their workplaces, employers should continue to follow this guidance on working safely. When considering whether workers should come into their place of work, you should:

  • reflect this in your risk assessment.
  • take action to manage the risks of transmission in line with this guidance.

We recognise that ways of working have shifted through the pandemic, and many employers are looking at hybrid models which include an element of home working. You should discuss the timing and phasing of any return with workers and unions, to make working arrangements that meet both business and individual needs. To help them to feel safe returning to work, consult them on any measures you have put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

You should remain responsive to employee needs, and continue to use measures that help to reduce the risks to individuals in the workplace, giving extra consideration to people at higher risk and to workers facing mental and physical health difficulties.

People who are self-isolating

Workers who are self-isolating should not come into the workplace.

  • Read the guidance on NHS Test and Trace in the workplace for advice on what to do if you or someone you employ is required to self-isolate. This includes being contacted by NHS Test and Trace, self-isolation rules and financial support.
  • If a staff member has a positive test or is told to isolate by NHS Test and Trace, they are required to self-isolate, even if they have no symptoms and/or are fully vaccinated.
  • You must not ask or encourage someone who is required to self-isolate to come to the workplace. See the box below for more information on who needs to self-isolate.
  • You can enable workers to work from home while self-isolating, if this is appropriate and they are feeling well enough.
  • Workers who are unable to work because they have COVID-19 or need to self-isolate may be entitled to statutory sick pay.

You should also encourage staff members who are unwell to stay at home.

  • If staff members feel unwell but do not have COVID-19 symptoms (or their test is negative), staying at home until they feel better could reduce the risk of passing on an illness to colleagues.
  • Read more information on staying at home if you feel unwell.

People who need to self-isolate

People who are required to self-isolate must follow the guidance on self-isolation, even if they have no symptoms and/or are fully vaccinated.

It is against the law for you to knowingly allow someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work. This includes people who:

  • have tested positive for COVID-19 
  • have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace

Self-isolating workers who test negative for COVID-19 may be able to return to work. However there are some circumstances which mean they should keep self-isolating after a negative test. See the guidance on when to keep self-isolating after a negative test. 

People who do not need to self-isolate

Some people do not need to self-isolate if they’ve had close contact with someone who has COVID-19. This applies to people who:

  • are fully vaccinated (find out who qualifies as fully vaccinated
  • are aged under 18 and 6 months
  • have taken part in, or are currently part of, an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons

They will still need to self-isolate if they test positive for COVID-19, have COVID-19 symptoms, or are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.

Find out more about when to self-isolate.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the workplace

Ensure that you have an up-to-date plan setting out the steps to take if a case of COVID-19 is reported in your facility or event.

This should be set out in your risk register, and should include the following factors.

Take steps to ensure that people who have symptoms or who are self-isolating do not attend your facility or event.

  • Ensure you and your staff are familiar with the symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, a new and persistent cough, or a loss of/change to their sense of taste or smell).
  • Ensure that workers are aware that they should not come to the workplace if they have symptoms or need to self-isolate. Read more on who needs to self-isolate.
  • Take steps to ensure that customers who have symptoms or who need to self-isolate do not attend your facility. Read more on communicating with customers.

What you will do if COVID-19 symptoms are reported.

  • If a staff member has COVID-19 symptoms:
    • Ask them to self-isolate immediately and get a test, even if these symptoms are mild. People with COVID-19 symptoms can get a free NHS test.
    • Immediately identify any close workplace contacts and ask them to self-isolate and take a test. You should not wait for NHS Test and Trace to contact them. This prompt action will help reduce the risk of a workplace outbreak.
  • If you become aware that a customer has suspected or confirmed COVID-19, follow the steps in reducing risk to customers.

Register the cases with public health and self-isolation teams

  • Inform your local authority’s public health team if you have confirmed cases of COVID-19 in your workplace. The local authority public health team will give you information about any actions you should take.
  • You should also call the Self-Isolation Service Hub (020 3743 6715) to register the case. See the box below for advice on contacting the Self-Isolation Service Hub and what you will need to tell them. 
  • Where possible, nominate one member of staff to contact public health teams. Having one person as the ‘single point of contact’ can help you to make sure you have the information you need, and that public health teams know who to contact.
  • In some circumstances the local authority public health team might declare an ‘outbreak’. This is when there are 2 or more cases and it’s possible they may have been spread at your workplace.
  • If an outbreak is declared:
    • You will be asked to record details of staff with symptoms of COVID-19 and assist with identifying contacts. You should therefore ensure that all employment records are up to date.
    • You will be provided with information about the outbreak management process. This will help you to implement control measures, assist with communications to staff and reinforce prevention messages.

Ensure your facility is thoroughly cleaned.

Call the Self-Isolation Service Hub to report COVID-19 cases in your workplace.

If one of your workers tests positive, call the Self-Isolation Service Hub on 020 3743 6715 to register the case.

You will need to provide:

  • the 8-digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID (sometimes referred to as a CTAS number) of the person who tested positive. If they do not already know this, ask them to provide this when they have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
  • the names of any other workers you have identified as close contacts.

This will ensure that all workplace contacts are registered with NHS Test and Trace and can receive health advice and support to help them to self-isolate if required.

Your workers may already have been in contact with NHS Test and Trace, but may not be able to provide all the details they need. For example, they may not be able to identify or provide details of other workers they were in contact with (such as temporary workers, contractors or staff working irregular shift patterns), or know how to reach colleagues who may be required to isolate.

How to identify whether workers are close contacts of a positive case

A close contact is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Read guidance on contacts of people who have tested positive.

Identify the times when they could have passed the virus on to other workers.

  • Ask the worker who tested positive when they developed symptoms.
  • The times they could have passed on the virus start from 2 days before this and until 10 days afterwards.

Identify who has been in close contact with the worker who tested positive.

  • You can do a risk assessment, or ask other workers if they have been in contact with the person who tested positive during this time.
  • A contact can be someone who lives with the worker who tested positive, travelled in the same vehicle or plane as the worker who tested positive, or had the following kind of contact with them:
    • face-to-face contact including being coughed on
    • a face-to-face conversation within one metre
    • been within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
    • been within 2 metres of them for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day)

They should be registered as a contact if they have been in these situations anytime from 2 days before the person who tested positive developed their symptoms, and up to 10 days after.

If your workers use the NHS COVID-19 app, this may also help them to understand if they are close contacts. More information and resources on the NHS COVID-19 app.

Reducing contact for workers

There are no limits on contact between people from different households. There is no government requirement or recommendation for employers to limit capacity.

If, based on setting-specific risk assessments, employers decide to reduce contact in particular circumstances, they may want to consider the following mitigations:

  • Designating seating (for example in offices) for specific teams, or using fixed teams, partnering or cohorting, so each person works with the same consistent person or group.
  • Where space and capacity allow, giving preference to back-to-back or side-to-side working between cohorts or fixed teams who don’t normally mix.
  • Using screens or barriers to separate people who don’t normally mix (for example between workers and customers).
    • Screens are only likely to be beneficial if placed between people who come into close face-to-face proximity with each other, and may not be practical between desks in a side-to-side office setting.
    • Screens may be helpful for staff who work with large numbers of guests, for example at a ticket office or box office.
  • Keeping customer-facing activity as short as possible, particularly for staff who work with large numbers of guests.

You should consider the need for these mitigations in the context of other COVID-19 workplace measures (such as ventilation, regular cleaning of surfaces and the use of face coverings you have put in place. They should only be applied where it is practical. For example, where they could be used without imposing restrictions on business operations or reducing workplace capacity.

Equality in the workplace

When applying this guidance, be mindful of the particular needs of different groups of workers or individuals. Consider the impact of your policies on your workers.

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

As an employer, you have particular responsibilities towards disabled customers, disabled workers and workers who are pregnant or are new mothers. See the COVID-19 advice for pregnant employees. You might also have other workers who are at higher risk and for whom additional precautions advised by their clinicians should be considered. Read HSE guidance on protecting vulnerable workers.

What you can do

  • Provide clear, consistent and regular communication to workers of any relevant safety measures or changes to policy/procedure. Engage with workers and worker representatives to explain and agree any changes in working arrangements.
  • Involve and communicate appropriately with workers 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.
  • Discuss with disabled employees what reasonable adjustments can be made to the workplace so they can work safely, and to avoid them being put at a disadvantage.
  • Assess the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.
  • Consider how any safety measures you put in place will affect staff with protected characteristics, and any adjustments you should make to take account of your duties under the equalities legislation.
  • 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.
  • Give extra consideration to people who are at greater risk of infection or more likely to get seriously ill if they catch COVID-19. You should continue to support these workers by discussing with them their individual needs and supporting them in taking any additional precautions advised by their clinicians.    
  • Give extra consideration to workers facing mental and physical health difficulties. Consider providing support for workers around mental health and wellbeing. This could include advice or telephone support.
  • You may also wish to refer to any relevant guidance produced by your sector, such as the 7 Inclusive Principles for Arts & Cultural Organisations.

Reducing risk to customers

In this section:

Communications and guidance

Take steps to ensure that customers who have symptoms or who are self-isolating do not attend your facility.

  • Clearly communicate that customers should not come to your facility if they need to self-isolate, for example because they have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or because they are displaying any COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, new and persistent cough, or a loss of/change in sense of taste or smell), even if these symptoms are mild.
  • Customers should be informed that if they, or anyone they live with, have one or more of these symptoms they should not attend, and should follow the guidance on testing and self-isolation.

Ensure customers know how to visit your venue or event safely.

  • Consider how you can inform visitors of any changes to processes in advance of their visit, for example on your website, when booking by phone or email, and in your digital marketing.
  • Ensure you make any requirements clear to customers before booking, and at the point of sale.
  • Take steps to remind visitors of special measures if they are complex, varied or likely to be forgotten. For example, you could reinforce messages on signs through spoken communication from a greeter, or other staff such as ushers or curators.
  • Think about how to communicate important information to all of your customers, for example those who do not speak English as a first language, and those with protected characteristics (such as people who are hard of hearing or visually impaired).
  • Encourage customers to follow good hygiene practices, such as using hand sanitiser when they enter the building and washing their hands regularly. Consider how to ensure safety messages reach those with hearing or vision impairments.
  • Pre-event communications can be a particularly effective measure for events. You can find further advice about communications for events in the section on event planning.

Reducing risk to customers

Do not admit customers who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

  • If a customer, guest or visitor arrives at your facility or event with symptoms, they should not be admitted.
  • If you become aware of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 on-site, the customer should be asked to leave the facility or event, unless they need to be transported to hospital for treatment.
  • The customer should be advised to self-isolate and to take a PCR test.
  • In some facilities or events, it may be possible to assess the customer on-site.
    • The customer should be assessed as soon as possible (by a medical professional, if you have this provision).
    • Unless they are in need of urgent medical attention and need to be transported to hospital for treatment, they should be encouraged to take a supervised lateral flow test.
    • Any customer returning a positive result from a lateral flow test must be required to leave the facility or event. They should be advised to self-isolate and to take a PCR test.

Consider displaying an NHS QR code so that customers can check in using the NHS COVID-19 app.

  • You are no longer required to collect customer contact details, or keep a record of your staff and visitors.
  • However, you are advised to continue to display an NHS QR code for customers wishing to check in using the app, as this will help to reduce the spread of the virus and protect your customers, visitors and staff. You do not have to ask customers to check in, or turn them away if they refuse.
  • If you display an NHS QR code, you should also have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details, for those who ask to check in but who do not have access to a smartphone or who prefer not to use the app. Read about how to keep records for NHS Test and Trace.

Consider how best to reduce risks to customers.

  • Minimise unnecessary contact. You could do this by using online booking and pre-payment, and encouraging contactless payments wherever possible.
  • Ensure that any measures you put in place are suitable for your facility or event. For example, for business events and conferences, you could consider providing (or recommending the purchase of) name tags and a badge holder for business cards, to avoid the exchange of business cards.
  • There will be additional factors to consider if you are operating a large or complex event, such as a conference, street event or festival. You can find additional information in the section on crowd management and events.
  • There will also be additional factors to consider if your facility is (or you are holding events in) a venue with specific requirements, such as a historic building like a stately home or castle. You can find more information on safety measures in heritage locations (including consent and planning permission) in the additional guidance for heritage locations, and further advice in Historic England’s guidance on reopening a heritage location, which has been prepared in line with guidance published by the government.
  • You should not introduce measures which involve spraying people with disinfectants (such as in a tunnel, cabinet, or chamber) under any circumstances. You can find more information about these types of measures in the HSE guidance on disinfecting using fog, mist and other systems. The use of temperature screening products is not recommended by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, as there is little scientific evidence to support temperature screening as a reliable method for detection of COVID-19, particularly for asymptomatic cases.

Managing customers, spectators and audiences

There are no capacity caps on the number of people permitted to attend visitor attractions or events. However, you may wish to take steps to ensure customers can attend as safely as possible, for example by introducing one-way systems to minimise crowding.

These are likely to be specific to your type of venue or event, so you should think about the most appropriate steps you could take to manage risk.

For example, you could:

  • Consider how you can reduce risk to staff who work with large numbers of guests. For example, installing screens can be beneficial if placed between people who don’t normally mix and will come into close face-to-face proximity with each other. You could consider installing screens at ticket offices or box offices, and providing hand sanitiser for staff and customers.
  • Consider using a CO2 monitor to assess whether there is sufficient ventilation in your venue. If you identify that ventilation is poor, you should take steps to improve fresh air flow. If you cannot increase the supply of fresh air, you should consider whether you can reduce the number of people in your venue. You can find more information on ventilation and CO2 monitors in the section on ventilation.
  • Identify areas of crowding and consider what steps can be taken to avoid congestion, if they present a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission. For example, historic buildings such as places of worship or ruined structures often have constrained spaces such as small rooms, narrow staircases and limited entrance or exit points. Measures such as limiting the number of people entering the space or staggering entrance and exit times will help to avoid overcrowding.
  • In stadiums, auditoriums and theatre-style settings, consider:
    • Providing allocated seating where possible. You should ensure that your facility is accessible (in line with your responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010) and that seating arrangements take into account the needs of people with disabilities and wheelchair users, and support from carers. You should also consider how seating arrangements work with any other accessibility services you offer, such as access to captioning or audio description services.
    • Where allocated seating is not possible, consider other ways to reduce these risks, such as additional stewarding. You can find more information in the section on crowd management and events.

Crowd management and events

You should take additional steps to manage risk, if the event or attraction:

  • takes place indoors;
  • takes place outdoors, but also has indoor spaces;
  • includes congested areas;
  • involves free movement between people;
  • includes crowd density; or
  • has a large number of attendees.

Many large events, such as music festivals and street events, will inherently involve multiple factors such as crowd density and free movement. This guidance sets out ways you can mitigate these risks to ensure that they can take place as safely as possible, including options for managing attendees to reduce risk.

Not every option will be applicable or practical for every event and setting, so you should consider the options that will be most appropriate for your event. This may mean incorporating different measures for different areas and different time periods within the same venue, particularly for large events. For example, some measures such as queue management will be appropriate for external and hospitality areas, but other measures are likely to be more suitable around stages or performance areas.

You should consider the risks and measures relevant to your event through your risk assessment, and you can use the risk management template to help you to assess options and plan your event.

When considering any interventions, you should take into account the impact on people with protected characteristics, and the need for any reasonable adjustments.

Crowd management measures

Stewarding/licensed door supervision

  • Consider using stewards, ushers or licensed door supervisors to manage attendees, to reduce the risks from crowding. Ensure they are aware of any attendee obligations or requirements and are able to provide appropriate guidance and respond to queries.
  • Consider how they can be best used within your event or venue. Extra stewarding may be helpful at pinch-points where queues will normally form, outside the venue and in any seating areas.
  • Take into account any risks to stewards and other staff, and ways these can be reduced. Stewards, licensed door supervisors and other staff and volunteers face the same risks as event attendees. Consider in your risk register whether there are any steps you can take to reduce these risks, such as using designated positions to supervise crowds.

Zoning

  • Consider dividing the venue into zones so that attendees can be managed in smaller groups to reduce mixing, especially within structured settings.
  • This could include using floor markings or temporary barriers and controlling the flow and numbers of attendees in each zone. For example, each group of attendees could use separate turnstiles, stairwells, bars, toilets and seating areas within a stadium.
  • Coloured wristbands could be used to signpost which zones attendees should or should not enter, along with close supervision by stewards and/or licensed door supervisors to manage any overcrowding issues and ensure safe control and compliance.

Crowd movement strategies

  • Consider implementing queue management outside venues, which could include using barriers and ensuring that there are sufficient venue staff available to direct attendees appropriately, to avoid congestion and blocking areas and routes being used by people not attending the event. Where necessary, discuss with local authorities the closure of pavements, highways and other public spaces adjacent to venues, in order to manage queuing arrangements safely and effectively.
  • Where multiple checks for entry are required, consider staggering checking processes to ensure efficient entry to venues
  • Consider using controlled access and egress in higher-risk areas, such as concession stands/bars, toilets, turnstiles, lifts, corridors, walkways and entry/exit points and at standing performances.
  • Consider using as many entry and exit points as possible to reduce congestion, both outside and inside the venue, and ensure these are clearly marked.
  • Consider introducing a one-way flow system with clear markings and signage.
  • Consider using clear signage, video screens and PA/audio announcements to provide additional information to attendees and to reinforce crowd movement messaging.
  • Consider encouraging attendees to purchase tickets in advance and send by post or electronically to avoid ticket collection queues.
  • Consider using timed ticketing for all-day events/activities.

Managing your facility or event setting

In this section:

Cleaning

Keeping your workplace clean will help to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Surfaces and objects can be contaminated with COVID-19 when people who are infected touch them or cough or sneeze near them.

Think about how you can reduce this risk by cleaning your workplace regularly, and paying particular attention to surfaces or objects that people touch frequently.

What you can do

Review your cleaning schedule.

  • Make sure you are regularly cleaning all areas of your facility with your usual cleaning products.
  • Make a checklist of priority areas (such as bathrooms, door handles and surfaces) to be cleaned when guests vacate.

Clean some areas more frequently. You should consider:

  • Surfaces that people touch regularly, like door handles, lift buttons and handrails.
  • Shared equipment and objects, such as microphones used by speakers at events - clean them between users where this is practical.
  • Places that are used frequently, like reception areas.
  • Areas used by multiple groups of guests, like lounges,common areas and shared recreation rooms.
  • Toilet and bathroom facilities - set clear guidance for staff and customers on using and cleaning bathroom facilities. Make sure that surfaces like taps, hand-dryers and door handles are regularly cleaned. Put up a cleaning schedule that staff and guests can see, and keep it updated. Make sure that higher-risk facilities like portable toilets, large toilet blocks and shared guest bathrooms are thoroughly cleaned.

Large venues and events should take extra care. Think about whether you should:

  • Clean the venue thoroughly, before and after the event.
  • Clean surfaces touched regularly (such as door handles and handrails) during the event, particularly if you expect a large number of guests.
  • Where possible, organise your event so that audience areas (such as meeting rooms and seating in auditoriums) are cleaned between use by different customers. For example, cleaning seating areas between theatre performances or elite sport competitions.
  • Reduce the need for crowding in or around toilet facilities. If there are crowded areas, you could try implementing one-way systems
  • Provide additional waste facilities, including closed bins, and ensure rubbish is collected frequently.

If you are cleaning after a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, follow the guidance on cleaning and decontamination.

Considerations for heritage locations:

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

Hygiene

One of the most effective ways for people to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading is washing their hands regularly. Think about how you can promote good hygiene in your workplace, and make sure your messages reach people who have difficulty with their sight or hearing.

What you can do

Provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitiser for staff and customers. This could mean that you:

  • Provide hand sanitiser near shared facilities, equipment and objects, like reception desks and touch-screen devices.
  • Hand sanitiser stations can be helpful in busy areas like entrance foyers, doorways, lifts and bathroom facilities. If you have a large venue or event site, think about placing them at the entrances of different buildings or areas. For example, at the entrance and exit of theme park attractions and rides.
  • Consider the needs of people with disabilities. Make sure that hand sanitiser stations can be reached by people in wheelchairs and don’t block access or fire exits.
  • Check handwashing and hand sanitiser facilities regularly and make sure they are cleaned and refilled.

Use signs and posters to promote good hygiene, making people aware:

  • How to wash their hands effectively.
  • That they should wash their hands frequently.
  • That they should avoid touching their faces or face coverings.
  • That they should cough or sneeze into a tissue which is binned safely, or into their arm if a tissue is not available.

Provide additional guidance for staff on hygiene and safety. This could mean that you:

  • Provide regular reminders to staff (for example, in break rooms and bathrooms) to wash or sanitise their hands, particularly after contact with guests.
  • Make sure cleaners and housekeeping staff have time and facilities to wash their hands after cleaning rooms and items that guests have touched.
  • This is particularly important after cases of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 - see the section on cleaning after a case of COVID-19 for more information.

Ventilation

Ventilation plays an important role in reducing the risk of aerosol (airborne) transmission of COVID-19. Use your risk assessment to think about:

  • How to make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air in your workplace. This is particularly important for indoor spaces where there are people present. Read about improving ventilation.
  • Finding out if there are areas of your workplace which don’t have enough ventilation, and how you can improve fresh air flow in these areas. Read about poorly ventilated spaces.

Improving ventilation

Good ventilation brings fresh air into indoor spaces. The more fresh air that is brought inside, the more it will dilute any virus particles in the air. In spaces which don’t have enough ventilation, virus particles can remain in the air after an infected person has left and increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading.

Watch a video from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) which explains how ventilation reduces the risk of transmission.

Make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air in your workplace. This can be natural ventilation (opening windows, doors and vents), mechanical ventilation (fans and ducts), or a combination of both. It’s particularly important to keep toilets and showers well-ventilated, as these can be areas of higher risk.

How to improve natural ventilation

  • Open doors, windows and air vents where possible.
  • Opening doors and windows even for a brief period can help to refresh the air and reduce COVID-19 particles.
  • Opening the windows and doors fully will let the most fresh air into the space.
  • Encourage people to use outside space where it’s practical, especially for higher-risk activities such as exercise, or when people are singing or raising their voices.

How to improve mechanical ventilation

  • Make sure that your systems are set to maximise fresh air and minimise air recirculation.
  • It’s not advised to recirculate air from one space to another. Systems which recirculate air from one space to another are likely to increase the risk of transmission.
  • Recirculation units that do not bring in fresh air can remain in operation as long as there is an alternative supply of fresh air.

Heritage locations should take care to increase ventilation in a way which does not endanger historic items. Doors and windows can be propped open if they do not cause an environmental, collection, safety, fire or security risk.

Ventilation and workplace temperature

There are steps you can take to make sure your workplace is adequately ventilated throughout the winter months, such as partially opening windows and doors, and opening higher-level windows.

Read HSE advice on balancing ventilation with workplace temperature.

Identify and manage poorly ventilated spaces

It’s important to find out if there are poorly ventilated areas of your workplace that are usually occupied by people (workers or customers), so you can increase the flow of fresh air.

How to identify poorly ventilated spaces

  • Look for areas where people are usually present for an extended period of time, and where there is no mechanical ventilation and no natural ventilation (such as open windows, vents or doors).
  • Use a carbon dioxide (CO2) monitor to measure the level of ventilation (see below for more information). In an an area or room people are using, an average CO2 concentration of above 1500ppm indicates that it is poorly ventilated.
  • You should take action to improve ventilation where CO2 readings are consistently higher than 1500ppm.

Consider factors which may increase the risk

  • In a poorly ventilated space, the risk of COVID-19 transmission will increase where there are more virus particles being released into the air.
  • When identifying poorly ventilated spaces, you should pay particular attention to areas of high occupancy (which are used by a larger number of people) and which are used for extended periods of time, as these factors will increase the risk of transmission.
  • You should also consider how the space is used. Some activities can increase the risk of catching or passing on COVID-19. This happens where people are doing activities which generate more particles as they breathe heavily, such as singing, dancing, exercising or raising their voices.
  • Where there is continuous talking or singing, or high levels of physical activity (such as dancing, playing sport or exercise), providing ventilation sufficient to keep CO2 levels below 800ppm is recommended.

What you can do

If your risk assessment shows that there are poorly ventilated areas in your workplace, it’s important that you improve the ventilation to reduce the risk of COVID-19 being spread in these areas.

Follow the steps above to improve ventilation (internal link) by opening doors, windows and vents, if possible, and by ensuring that any mechanical ventilation system is set to maximise fresh air and minimise air recirculation.

If these options are not available or do not provide sufficient ventilation (for example, if CO2 readings remain above recommended levels, or the room continues to feel stuffy), you can think about other ways to reduce the risk in these spaces.

Think about changing the way these spaces are used. For example, you could:

  • Restrict the number of people who can use the space at the same time.
  • Restrict the length of time people spend in the space.
  • Move activities which involve exercising, dancing or raising voices (singing, shouting or talking loudly) to an area with better ventilation.

Think about ways to increase mechanical ventilation.

  • Ask a ventilation engineer to check the performance of your mechanical ventilation system, especially if it hasn’t been serviced recently.
  • Install a mechanical ventilation system, if you don’t have mechanical ventilation or if the existing system does not provide fresh air.
  • Install an air cleaning or filtration unit. Air cleaning or filtration is not a substitute for good ventilation. But where poor ventilation cannot be improved in other ways, a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or ultraviolet air purifier could help to reduce the number of COVID-19 particles in the air. Read HSE’s advice on air cleaning and filtration devices.

Using carbon dioxide (CO2) monitors to identify poorly ventilated spaces

Using Carbon Dioxide (CO2) monitors
People exhale carbon dioxide (CO2) when they breathe out. If there is a build-up of CO2 in an area it can indicate that ventilation needs improving.

Although CO2 levels are not a direct measure of possible exposure to COVID-19, checking levels using a monitor can help you identify poorly ventilated areas. Read HSE advice on how to use a CO2 monitor.

How the measurements can help you take action
CO2 measurements should be used as a broad guide to ventilation rather than treating them as safe thresholds.

Outdoor levels are around 400ppm (parts per million of carbon dioxide). Indoors, a consistent CO2 value less than 800ppm is likely to indicate that a space is well-ventilated.

A CO2 concentration of above 1500ppm when a room is occupied is an indicator of poor ventilation. You should take action to improve ventilation where CO2 readings are consistently higher than 1500ppm.

Where there is continuous talking or singing, or high levels of physical activity (such as dancing, playing sport or exercising), providing ventilation sufficient to keep CO2 levels below 800ppm is recommended.

Where CO2 monitors can help
CO2 monitors can be used to check ventilation in a wide range of settings.

In large areas such as concert halls or event spaces, multiple sensors may be required to provide meaningful information.

There are some spaces where CO2 monitors are less likely to provide useful readings. These are:

  • Areas occupied by people for short periods or for varying amounts of time. For example, a railway station or an atrium.
  • Areas where air cleaning units are in use. Filtration can remove contaminants (such as COVID-19) from the air but will not remove CO2.
  • Spaces like changing rooms, toilets or small meeting rooms.
  • Spaces used by low numbers of people.
  • Areas where CO2 is produced as part of a work process.

Read HSE advice on the suitability of CO2 monitoring in different types of space. Where CO2 monitors cannot be used, you should still identify poorly ventilated spaces and provide adequate ventilation.

Face coverings and personal protective equipment (PPE)

Face coverings

People should wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet. Where worn correctly, this can reduce the risk of transmission.

Face coverings are no longer required by law. However, businesses can encourage customers, visitors or workers to wear a face covering. Where worn correctly, this can reduce the risk of transmission.

What you can do

Consider encouraging the use of face coverings (using signs and other communications), particularly in indoor areas where people may come into contact with people they do not normally meet.

When deciding whether you will recommend that workers or customers wear face coverings:

  • Be aware that face coverings may make it harder to communicate with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.
  • You need to consider the reasonable adjustments needed for workers and customers with disabilities. You also need to carefully consider how this fits with your other obligations to workers and customers arising from the law on employment rights, health and safety and equality legislation.
  • Remember that some people are not able to wear face coverings, and the reasons for this may not be visible to others. Please be mindful and respectful of people’s individual circumstances.
  • Remember that you should not ask people to wear face coverings while taking part in any strenuous activity or sport.

Your workers may choose to wear a face covering in the workplace.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Consider through your risk assessment whether your workers need personal protective equipment (PPE).

  • Do not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 unless you are in a clinical setting or responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. Unless you’re in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 spreading is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that PPE has an extremely limited role in providing extra protection.
  • If your facility or event includes staff providing close contact services (such as medical personnel, massage therapists, security staff, hair and makeup technicians and beauticians), you may decide that clients and/or staff should wear a face covering, especially where practitioners are conducting treatments which require them to be in close proximity to a person’s face, mouth and nose. You should review the guidance for close contact services and take account of the risks to staff and customers.
  • 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.

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

Additional guidance: heritage locations

In this section:

Safety measures at historic sites

If you choose to put in place safety measures for heritage locations, you should ensure they are suitable for your site.

  • Take a proportionate approach. A famous stately home popular with guests may need a mix of approaches (regular signs on visitor routes, and staff on-hand to remind visitors of any special measures in place), while an isolated archaeological site or remote historic structure is unlikely to need any specific signs or special measures.
  • Consider how best to manage visitors without damaging historic buildings or materials, such as communicating information through temporary barriers or standalone signs, rather than posters.
  • Temporary floor markings (e.g. using tape, stickers, reversible paint or signs) can also be used if you wish to implement one-way routes, although care should be taken when using any adhesives or marking materials as they may damage sensitive floor materials (particularly if in place for extended periods).
  • If you are putting in place measures such as temporary visitor routes and one-way systems outdoors (e.g. in historic parks, gardens and archaeological sites), consider the best way to do this for the site. For example, you could create mown paths in grassland, but you should monitor these routes for visitor erosion and revise them as needed to protect your site. You should avoid placing routes (and equipment such as bins and benches) over archaeological features or earthworks, or damaging garden planting or features.
  • Ensure that measures maintain accessibility. Where routes are revised (e.g. if you choose to implement one-way systems) consider how to ensure they remain accessible to all visitors. Where temporary routes are not accessible to people using wheelchairs, you must make every effort to find a practical alternative, such as using alternative entrances and exits for users in wheelchairs and carers).

Temporary works at historic sites

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

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

There are a number of ways in which physical interventions can be undertaken without damaging the historic fabric of listed buildings, and which do not affect what is important about a place (the ‘special interest’ in the case of a listed building). These types of interventions will not need LBC (although planning permission may be required - see the box below).

It is an offence to carry out unauthorised works to a listed building, a scheduled monument or a protected wreck. If you are unsure of a site’s status, speak to the local planning authority (in the case of listed buildings) or Historic England (in the case of scheduled monuments or protected wrecks).

Key points for heritage locations:

  • Check which system applies to your heritage location. This may be LBC, SMC or another system (for example, many places of worship are exempt from LBC as they have a parallel system of management). On a complex site with multiple structures, more than one system may apply. You can find more information on the different systems below, in the section on guidance for different types of facility. You should check with your local planning authority and Historic England which system applies to your location and follow the relevant processes.
  • Record any measures taken on your risk assessment, including changes to processes or physical alterations to heritage assets. The site operator should review changes regularly to ensure they are effective, and that they are not causing permanent damage to the historic fabric.
  • Check if you need planning permission or advertising consent. Planning permission may be required for some temporary changes (such as installing a gazebo in the grounds of a designated heritage asset), even where LBC or SMC is not. Advertising consent may be needed for changes involving signage. You should check whether consent or permission are required for your planned works with your local planning authority (or Historic England in relation to SMCs).
  • If installing temporary structures such as gazebos, ensure they are not located in archaeologically sensitive areas. The insertion and removal of spikes and fixings can damage underlying archaeology. You can find further advice from Historic England on installing temporary structures.
  • Contact sector specialists (such as the Historic England regional office) if you need advice. Sector bodies can help you to understand what you need to do, or suggest alternative ways in which COVID-19 mitigation measures might be achieved without the need for consent, for example by locating them away from the monument.

Guidance for different types of facility

Scheduled Monuments

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

World Heritage Sites

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

Marine sites

  • Marine wrecks may be designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 (PoWA), the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 (PoWRA) or as Scheduled Monuments.
  • It is an offence to carry out unauthorised works to a protected wreck or scheduled monument. If you are unsure of a site’s status, speak to Historic England and the Marine Management Organisation.
  • All professional and recreational divers should comply with HSE regulations, and review any relevant guidance for advice, such as the British Sub-Aqua Club’s guidance on safe diving.

Places of Worship

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

Listed Buildings

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

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

LBC may not be needed

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

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

LBC likely to be needed

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

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

Additional guidance: event planning

In this section:

This section sets out advice for event organisers on the factors you should take into when planning an event. This guidance applies to indoor or outdoor events of any size, organised by businesses, charitable organisations, or public bodies.

Key principles for event planning

The following key principles set out the processes to work through and factors to consider when planning an event, to ensure it can take place as safely as possible.

Assess the risks relevant to your event and put in place practical measures to reduce them.

  • Follow the steps in the section on risk assessments, and pay particular attention to the advice for events. This sets out the key risks for events identified by the Events Research Programme, and can help you to understand how the characteristics of your event may affect the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and which actions can help you to reduce these risks.
  • Consider how best to manage your customers based on your risk assessment, for example by putting in place crowd management measures if your event involves large numbers of attendees.
  • You can use the risk management template to identify risks and risk management options specific to your event or setting, and help you to plan your event.

Engage with local authorities and other relevant bodies early in your event planning process, to ensure your event can take place as safely as possible.

  • Local authorities and local transport operators play an important role in enabling events to take place as safely as possible. Engaging with these groups as early as possible in the planning process will help all partners to understand how you have identified and mitigated any risks, and ensure your event can take place as safely as possible.
  • You can find more information on working with these groups in the section on working with partners.

Ensure that your event takes place in line with relevant guidance.

Consider displaying an NHS QR code so that customers can check in using the NHS COVID-19 app.

  • You are no longer required to collect customer contact details, or keep a record of your staff and visitors.
  • However, you are advised to continue to display an NHS QR code for customers wishing to check in using the app, as this will help to reduce the spread of the virus and protect your customers, visitors and staff. You do not have to ask customers to check in, or turn them away if they refuse.
  • If you display an NHS QR code, you should also have a system to collect (and securely store) names and contact details, for those who ask to check in but who do not have access to a smartphone or who prefer not to use the app. Read about how to keep records for NHS Test and Trace.

Consider using the NHS COVID Pass to reduce the risk of transmission at your venue or event.

  • The NHS COVID Pass allows people to demonstrate that they are at a lower risk of carrying COVID-19 and transmitting it to others, through vaccination, testing or natural immunity. It can help organisations to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
  • This is particularly important for large, crowded settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to others they do not usually mix with.
  • To support businesses, organisations and individuals in these settings, the NHS COVID Pass will be available through the NHS App, the NHS website, or as a letter that can be requested by ringing NHS 119. Visitors will also be able to show text or email confirmation of test results.
  • If you use the NHS COVID Pass, you should ensure that you comply with all relevant legal obligations and guidance, including on equalities. You can find more information in the NHS COVID Pass guidance.
  • Even when using the NHS COVID Pass, it is still important that you follow the rest of the guidance and put measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading at your venue.

Consider how best to communicate information to attendees.

  • This should include ensuring that attendees are aware of relevant information before they attend, and that messaging during the event (such as signage and audio announcements) supports the communication of any relevant safety measures.
  • You can find more information in the section on communications and guidance.

Ensure your risk assessment includes protocols for managing suspected or confirmed cases amongst attendees.

Follow the steps set out in the section on reducing risk to customers, and make sure your event planning includes the following points:

  • If a customer, guest or visitor arrives at your facility or event with symptoms, they should not be admitted.
  • If you become aware of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 on-site, the customer should be asked to leave the facility or event, unless they need to be transported to hospital for treatment.
  • The customer should be advised to self-isolate and to take a PCR test.
  • In some facilities or events, it may be possible to assess the customer on-site.
    • The customer should be assessed as soon as possible (by a medical professional, if you have this provision).
    • Unless they are in need of urgent medical attention and need to be transported to hospital for treatment, they should be encouraged to take a supervised lateral flow test.
    • Any customer returning a positive result from a lateral flow test must be required to leave the facility or event. They should be advised to self-isolate and to take a PCR test.
  • Elite sport and other major events should agree their case management protocols with the event’s or venue’s medical officer. You can find more information on medical protocols in the guidance for elite sport.

Take steps to reduce the risk of transmission at the event, including putting in place cleaning and hygiene protocols, and ensuring your venue has adequate ventilation.

  • If you are not the venue owner/operator, or you are hiring a venue for your event, ensure you discuss ventilation and cleaning with the venue operator. Make sure you are comfortable with their risk management protocols. You should agree with the venue in advance any additional measures you will take to manage risk, such as opening windows to increase ventilation.
  • Elite sport event organisers should review existing protocols to ensure they are appropriate for the event, including the attendance of spectators. For example, consult the medical officer to ensure the medical protocols include sufficient cover for the number of spectators expected, and ensure your risk assessment includes processes to follow if a case is suspected on-site.

Consider recommending the use of face coverings (using signs and other communications) as a safety measure for workers and customers, particularly in indoor areas where people may come into contact with people they do not normally meet. This is especially important if your event includes enclosed and crowded spaces.

  • People should wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet. Where worn correctly, this can reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Face coverings are no longer required by law. However, businesses can encourage customers, visitors or workers to wear a face covering.
  • When deciding whether you will recommend that workers or customers wear face coverings:
    • Be aware that face coverings may make it harder to communicate with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.
    • You need to consider the reasonable adjustments needed for workers and customers with disabilities. You also need to carefully consider how this fits with your other obligations to workers and customers arising from the law on employment rights, health and safety and equality legislation.
    • Remember that some people are not able to wear face coverings, and the reasons for this may not be visible to others. Please be mindful and respectful of people’s individual circumstances.
    • Remember that you should not ask people to wear face coverings while taking part in any strenuous activity or sport.

Your workers may choose to wear a face covering in the workplace. You should support them in doing so, and ensure they are aware of guidance on using face coverings safely.

Consider through your risk assessment whether your workers need personal protective equipment (PPE).

  • Do not encourage the precautionary use of extra PPE to protect against COVID-19 unless you are in a clinical setting or responding to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. Unless you’re in a situation where the risk of COVID-19 spreading is very high, your risk assessment should reflect the fact that PPE has an extremely limited role in providing extra protection.
  • If your facility or event includes staff providing close contact services (such as medical personnel, massage therapists, security staff, hair and makeup technicians and beauticians), you may decide that clients and/or staff should wear a face covering, especially where practitioners are conducting treatments which require them to be in close proximity to a person’s face, mouth and nose. You should review the guidance for close contact services and take account of the risks to staff and customers.
  • 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.
  • Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should keep doing so.

Communications and guidance

Communications with attendees are an important part of event planning, particularly if you are putting in place any safety measures your attendees should be aware of.

Put in place a communications plan to ensure relevant information on COVID-19 measures is communicated to attendees before and during the event.

  • Consider how best to communicate with your event or sector. For example, elite sport events can use regular communication with fans to support this messaging, as well as the event-specific communications.
  • Websites, social media channels and any digital or written engagement should include up-to-date information on any attendee obligations or requirements in relation to COVID-19.
  • Where appropriate, consider putting in place an attendee code of behaviour which sets out the information that spectators, audiences or other attendees should be aware of, and the measures they should follow at the event. See the box below for more advice on how you could do this.

Use pre-event communications to inform attendees of important information:

  • Ensure that any relevant requirements or conditions of entry and requirements (such as the NHS COVID Pass or negative test requirements) are well-communicated at the point of sale.
  • Encourage attendees not to travel to, or attend, events if they have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Clearly set out that those who have been instructed to self-isolate must not attend.
  • Provide attendees with information on safety measures (such as modifications to the competition venue) and guidance they should follow.

Consider how best to communicate these messages during the event.

  • Onsite signage and audio messaging should provide up-to-date information on any attendee obligations or requirements.
  • Staff and volunteers should be made aware of any attendee obligations or requirements and be able to provide guidance and respond to queries.
  • All information should be made available to people with other access requirements, including those with visual and hearing impairments.

Attendee code of behaviour

Organisers may want to issue a code of conduct to attendees, as part of their pre-event communications. This is particularly useful for large events with crowds, such as elite sport events with spectators, large music events and festivals.

This could include asking attendees to agree that they will:

  • Undertake their own health risk assessment, considering if they wish to travel to, and attend, such an event (taking into account their own age and any health conditions or vulnerabilities).
  • Follow any relevant guidance on travel, such as the safer travel guidance. For large events with an international audience (such as major cross-border sporting events), this should include relevant regulations on international travel, such as testing and quarantine measures.
  • Check for symptoms of COVID-19 (a high temperature, new and persistent cough, or a loss of/change in sense of taste or smell) before travelling to the event. Spectators should be informed that if they, or anyone they live with, have one or more of these symptoms (even if they are mild) they should not attend, and should follow the guidance on testing and self-isolation.
  • Not attend the event if they need to self-isolate, for example because they have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or because they have had a positive test.
  • If you choose to use the NHS COVID Pass at your event, demonstrate their COVID-19 status through vaccination, testing or natural immunity, as a condition of entry.
  • Adhere to any relevant COVID-19 safety measures in place at the event, including observing directions given by stewards.
  • Adhere to any other relevant behaviours identified through your risk assessment or usual event planning, such as responsible use of alcohol.

You could also use this communication to encourage attendees to use the NHS COVID-19 app and scan your QR code poster, to support NHS Test and Trace. However, this should not be a condition of entry.

Working with partners

Local authorities

  • Local authorities have an important role in ensuring that events are able to go ahead as safely as possible in their area. They work with the Health and Safety Executive to ensure that businesses operate safely.
  • Local authorities also have temporary powers to help them to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. This means they can place restrictions on a business if there is a serious and imminent threat to public health because of COVID-19. This could mean limiting the number of people who can attend an event, changing the way a venue operates to reduce the risk of transmission or prohibiting an event from happening.
  • These powers can only be used where they are necessary to protect public health. The measures imposed by the local authority must be a proportionate way to secure that protection. They cannot be used to place blanket restrictions on types of events or venues.
  • Event organisers are strongly encouraged to factor early engagement with the relevant local authority into the event planning process to ensure any issues can be identified and resolved without delay.
  • There is more detail on local authority enforcement powers and decision-making in the box below.

Transport operators

  • If you are organising a large event, or one which is likely to have an impact on transport networks (such as large groups arriving in small stations at the same time), you should work with transport operators to manage the impact of your event on the networks, and ensure the event can run as safely as possible.
  • You should engage with local transport authorities as early as possible in the event planning process, and work closely with them and local authorities to reduce pressure on the local transport network where large and/or multiple events are taking place in their local area.
  • You should consider using the travel demand management toolkit to identify potential issues and develop a transport management plan, particularly to manage crowds near transport hubs and routes to and from the venue.
  • You should also provide clear communications to your attendees of any relevant travel guidance, or advice on how to travel safely to your event.

Safety Advisory Groups

  • Local authorities can consider convening a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) to bring together representatives from relevant groups who can advise on public safety at events. SAGs can advise on planning and managing events and will encourage cooperation and coordination between the relevant groups.
  • A SAG should include representatives from the local authority, emergency services, the local Director of Public Health (or a representative) and any other relevant partners, such as transport operators.
  • If a SAG is not convened, local authorities should engage public health colleagues at the earliest opportunity to ensure they are aware of any relevant public health information.

Sports ground safety (elite sport events)

  • Elite sport event organisers should refer to the Sports Ground Safety Authority’s Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (the ‘Green Guide’). This is UK government-authorised guidance on spectator safety at sports grounds. It is specifically applicable to all sports grounds which are designated by the UK government Secretary of State, but also provides best practice guidance more broadly across all sport competition venues.

Local authorities powers to prohibit or restrict events

Local authorities have temporary powers to help them to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020.

This means they can place restrictions on a business if there is a serious and imminent threat to public health because of COVID-19. This could mean limiting the number of people who can attend an event, changing the way a venue operates to reduce the risk of transmission or prohibiting an event from happening.

These powers can only be used where they are necessary to protect public health. The measures imposed by the local authority must be a proportionate way to secure that protection. They cannot be used to place blanket restrictions on types of events or venues.

Where there are concerns about the safety of an event, local authorities should engage with the event organiser to resolve any issues at the earliest opportunity.

Issuing directions to prohibit or restrict an event

Local authority decisions on events should be made on a case-by-case basis, in line with the guidance on local authority powers to impose restrictions. Any direction issued under the No. 3 Regulations must be notified to the government, which will consider whether its issue was appropriate. Government has the power, in appropriate circumstances, to direct a local authority to revoke a direction.

Any direction issued must meet the three legal conditions:

  • it is responding to a serious and imminent threat to public health;
  • it is necessary to prevent, protect against, control or provide a public health response in relation to the incidence or spread of COVID-19; and
  • the measures taken are a proportionate way to achieve that purpose.

Local authorities must consider any advice from their Director of Public Health before issuing a direction, and need to review each direction at least once every seven days.

If an event organiser, the owner or occupier of the premises where the event is held or any other person involved in hosting the event goes against such a direction, they can be issued with a fixed penalty notice (FPN) by a police officer, police community support officer or other designated person.

See the guidance on local authority powers to impose restrictions for more information.

Risk management template

Event organisers may find using a checklist like the one below helpful when identifying risks and risk management options specific to their event or setting. Please note that a single event can include more than one risk factor, so you may need to refer to multiple rows.

You can download or print a blank template to refer to when you are planning your event(s).

You can also see an example of a completed risk management template for an indoor event with free movement of attendees and high crowd density, such as a large music event.