Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Hotels and guest accommodation

Guidance for people who work in or run hotels or other guest accommodation

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

What’s changed

Updated on 4 October 2021 to reflect changes to the rules on international travel (Managing guests who are quarantining after international travel).

Some people will still need to quarantine after international travel, but this will depend on their vaccination status. See the guidance on travel to England for more information.

Priority actions

Six steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus (COVID-19).

  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. You can find more information in the section on risk assessments and HSE guidance.

  2. Turn away people with COVID-19 symptoms. Staff members or customers should self-isolate and take a PCR test if they have a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste. They must also self-isolate if they have tested positive for COVID-19, live in a household with someone who has symptoms (unless they’re exempt from self-isolation), or have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. 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. You can find more information in the section on reducing risk to workers.

  3. Provide adequate ventilation. You should make sure there is a supply of fresh air to enclosed spaces where there are people present. This can be natural ventilation through windows, doors and vents, mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, or a combination of both. You should identify any poorly ventilated spaces in your premises and consider steps you can take to improve fresh air flow in these areas. In some places, a CO2 monitor can help identify if the space is poorly ventilated. You can find more information in the on section on ventilation and the HSE guidance on ventilation and air conditioning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  4. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are touched a lot. You should ask your staff and customers to use hand sanitiser and clean their hands frequently, and provide them with advice to promote good hygiene. You can find more information in the section on cleaning.

  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. You can find more information in the section on reducing risk to customers.

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

These are the priority actions to make your business safer during coronavirus (COVID-19). You should also read the full version of the guidance below, and review the guidance for any additional facilities or events within your premises, including hospitality venues (such as cafes and bars), shops, branches and close contact services, offices, factories and labs, construction and other outdoor work, and events and attractions. You may also want to check with relevant organisations in your sector, who 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 open workplaces safely while reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. It provides practical considerations on how to apply this in a hotel or guest accommodation facility.

This guidance supports your existing legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment and equality duties. This document contains non-statutory guidance that you should take into account when complying with these existing obligations, to ensure you are working safely by reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Remember this guidance does not just cover your workers. You must also take into account agency workers, contractors, volunteers and customers or users of your business or venue.

To help you decide which actions to take, you must carry out an appropriate assessment. This risk assessment must be done in consultation with unions or workers; you may also want to consult industry representatives.

Who this guidance is for

This guidance is aimed at owners or operators of hotels and other guest accommodation facilities. This applies to income-generating accommodation, including:

  • hostels
  • motels
  • inns
  • pubs
  • student accommodation (when it is used as a hotel or guest accommodation, such as during a conference)
  • holiday parks
  • bed and breakfasts (B&Bs)
  • short-term serviced accommodation and similar letting
  • guest houses
  • caravans
  • boats (including for holiday hire and hotels)
  • sleeper trains
  • yurts
  • chalets
  • campsites

This guidance does not cover managed quarantine for international travel from ‘red list’ countries from which travel to the UK is banned. You can find more information on managed quarantine hotels in the guidance on booking and staying in a managed quarantine hotel and what to expect in managed quarantine.

Risk assessments

In this section:

How to do a risk assessment

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

  • completing a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks of COVID-19 in the workplace
  • identifying control measures to manage that risk

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

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

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

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

  • have fewer than 5 workers
  • are self-employed

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

Consult your workers

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

You may do this by consulting with any recognised trade union health and safety representatives.

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

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

Raising concerns

If you’re an employee, you can contact:

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

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

  • online: working safely enquiry form
  • telephone: 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.

Under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 3) Regulations 2020, local authorities continue to have the power to place public health restrictions on businesses in cases where there is a serious and imminent threat to public health posed by COVID-19. However, coronavirus legislation does not impose any restrictions on the types of events which can take place, and local authorities may only exercise those powers by issuing a direction where that is necessary in public health terms, and any prohibitions, requirements or conditions imposed by the Direction are proportionate to the risk. Further information is available in the guidance on local authority powers to impose restrictions.

What to include in your risk assessment

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

An example of the factors you should consider is included in the box below. This includes the types of risks relevant to different types of guest accommodation facilities. You will need to translate this into the specific actions you need to take. These will depend on the nature of your business, including the size and type of business, how it is organised, operated and managed.

This applies to hotels and guest accommodation facilities, as well as to events you may hold at your facility. 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. These are set out in the guidance for events and attractions, along with options for managing and reducing these risks and a risk management template to help you plan your event.

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.

Your risk assessment should also include:

  • An up-to-date plan for what you will do in the event of an outbreak in your workplace. This includes nominating a member of staff as the single point of contact who will contact local public health teams. You can find more information and resources on handling outbreaks in the section on COVID-19 cases in the workplace.
  • Ensuring that workers, customers and visitors who feel unwell do not come to the workplace. By law, businesses 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).
  • Risks arising from periods of closure. If your building is unoccupied or has reduced occupancy during a period of restrictions, you should take steps to manage any risks that could arise when reopening (for example, by reviewing HSE’s guidance on the risk of legionella).
  • 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.

Risks to consider

Aerosol and droplet transmission

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 (droplets and aerosols) containing the virus that causes COVID-19. These particles can be breathed in by another person.

To reduce aerosol transmission, consider:

  • How best to increase ventilation in your facility. There are different ways of providing ventilation, including mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, natural ventilation which relies on passive flow through openings (doors, windows, vents) or a combination of the two. Open doors, windows and air vents where possible, to improve natural ventilation.
  • Identifying any poorly ventilated spaces and taking steps to improve fresh air flow in these areas. A CO2 monitor could help you assess whether a space is poorly ventilated, and if you should switch on additional mechanical ventilation or open windows. If you can’t improve ventilation in poorly ventilated spaces, consider restricting the number of people in these spaces or stop using them if possible.
  • Encouraging the use of outdoor space wherever possible.

To reduce droplet transmission, consider:

  • Putting in place measures to reduce contact between people, particularly between customers and workers. Where practical, measures could include:
    • Keeping the activity time involved as short as possible.
    • Using screens or barriers to separate people (which can be beneficial if placed between people who will come into close proximity with each other) or using back-to-back or side-to-side working for your staff, instead of face-to-face.
    • Reducing the number of people your workers have contact with, for example by using fixed teams, partnering or cohorting so that each person works with only a few others.
  • Recommending the use of face coverings by workers or customers, particularly in enclosed and crowded spaces. There is no longer a legal requirement for staff and customers to wear face coverings in any setting, so you should review the section on face coverings to understand what this would mean for your business.

Surface transmission

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

To reduce surface transmission, consider:

  • Advising customers and workers to wash their hands or use hand sanitiser frequently. This is particularly important before and after touching shared objects or surfaces that other people touch regularly.
  • Maintaining regular cleaning of surfaces, particularly surfaces that people touch regularly.
  • Providing additional handwashing facilities and hand sanitiser, particularly in high-traffic or higher-risk areas, such as reception and entrance foyers, doorways, lifts and bathroom facilities.

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 days isolation period).

Consider asking your employees to get tested regularly.

Regular testing could help identify more positive cases of COVID-19 in the workplace. Read further guidance on your options for workplace testing, or call 119 for more information.

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

If the local PHE health protection team declares an outbreak:

  • 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.

Clearly set out that workers who have symptoms or who are self-isolating should not come into the workplace.

  • It is against the law for you to knowingly allow someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.
  • You can enable workers to work from home while self-isolating, if this is appropriate and they are feeling well enough.
  • Review guidance for employers and employees on statutory sick pay due to COVID-19.
  • 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). If a staff member (or someone in their household) has coronavirus symptoms, they should self-isolate and get a test, even if these symptoms are mild. Anyone with coronavirus symptoms can get a free NHS test.
  • People who test positive but have no symptoms must also self-isolate. You can find more information in the guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infections.

Going to the workplace

Since Step 4, we have seen a gradual return to offices and workplaces. As workers return to their workplaces, employers should continue to follow the Working Safely guidance. When considering a return to the workplace, 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.

Reducing risk to workers

Reduce the number of people your workers come into contact with.

  • Review layouts and processes to reduce the number of people your workers come into contact with. In particular, consider whether you can reduce contact between workers and customers.
  • This might include using screens or barriers to separate people (which can be beneficial if placed between people who will come into close proximity with each other) or using back-to-back or side-to-side working for your staff, instead of face-to-face.

Consider the impact of your policies on your workers.

  • 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.
  • Consider how this will affect staff with protected characteristics, and any adjustments you should make to take account of your duties under the equalities legislation.
  • It is breaking the law to discriminate, directly or indirectly, against anyone because of a protected characteristic such as age, ethnicity, sex or disability. Employers also have particular responsibilities towards disabled workers and those who are new or expectant mothers.
  • Discuss with disabled employees what reasonable adjustments can be made to the workplace so they can work safely.
  • Assess the health and safety risks for new or expectant mothers.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Encourage customers and visitors to wear face coverings, for example through signage, if your facility includes enclosed and crowded spaces.

  • Face coverings are no longer required by law. However, 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.
  • 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 recommending the use of face coverings by workers and customers as a safety measure, in enclosed and crowded spaces where they may come into contact with people they don’t normally meet. When deciding whether you will recommend that workers or customers wear face coverings:
    • 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.
    • You should not ask people to wear face coverings while taking part in any strenuous activity or sport.
    • 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 such circumstances. Be aware that face coverings may make it harder to communicate with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.

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

  • If your facility 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.
  • Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should keep doing so. This may include providing additional protection for housekeeping staff who are cleaning after a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 (you can find further information in the section on cleaning).
  • 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 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.

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; are required to isolate after travel; 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.
  • However, people who need to self-isolate but do not have suitable accommodation may need to self-isolate in a hotel or guest accommodation facility. You should consider how to manage this (for example, if you only offer shared facilities this may not be possible in your facility) and clearly communicate your policy to customers. You can find more advice in the section on managing guests who have confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

Ensure customers know how to visit your venue 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 reception staff.
  • 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.

Reducing risk to customers

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

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.

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.

Managing customers, spectators and audiences

There are no capacity caps on the number of people permitted to visit hotels or guest accommodation facilities (for residential stays or events, or to use hotel facilities), or the groups they can visit in. However, you may wish to take steps to ensure customers can attend safely, for example by introducing one-way systems to minimise crowding.

These are likely to be specific to your venue, 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 will come into close proximity with each other. You could consider installing screens at receptions, 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, if you have guest areas which are enclosed or have limited ventilation, measures such as limiting the number of people entering the space will help to manage capacity and avoid overcrowding.
  • If your facility includes auditoriums and theatre-style settings (such as conference facilities), 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 on crowd management measures in the guidance for events and attractions.

Crowd management and events

If your hotel or guest accommodation facility is hosting events or large gatherings, you should review the guidance for events and attractions. This guidance recommends taking additional steps to manage risk if the event site or venue includes one or more of the following features:

  • 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.

You can find further advice about the types of measures you can put in place (such as crowd movement strategies and stewarding) to manage risks in these types of events in the events and attractions guidance, along with a risk management template to help you plan your event.

Managing guests who have confirmed or suspected COVID-19

You should consider in your risk assessment how you will manage cases (or suspected cases) of COVID-19 in your guest accommodation facility, including how the guest’s booking will be managed. Guests should follow government guidance on dealing with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

What you should do:

  • Ensure you have a policy in place which covers what to do if there is a case of COVID-19 in your accommodation facility. Guests with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should return home if they reasonably can, but this may not always be possible. You should consider how the guest’s booking will be managed, how they (and any other affected or exposed guests) will self-isolate, how meals and laundry will be arranged, and how to clean their accommodation after they have left.
  • Consider whether it is possible and safe for guests to self-isolate in your facility. There will be some types of accommodation where self-isolation would not be possible, for example if there are shared washing facilities or if the risk to the host, owner or staff cannot be mitigated. In these cases, you should advise guests to make arrangements to travel home if they reasonably can, using private transport (but they should only drive themselves if they can do so safely).
  • Take reasonable steps to encourage guests to adhere to government restrictions, including informing them of any relevant guidance (such as COVID-19 symptoms and self-isolation) and any safety measures in place at your accommodation facility. You could also ensure individuals are aware of legal obligations to self-isolate if they are informed that they must do so by NHS Test and Trace, and ask them to inform staff if this happens. However, guests do not have to disclose their test results or other personal information about their health, and it is not your responsibility to check the guest’s test results or enforce self-isolation rules; enforcement of the law remains a matter for the police.
  • Inform guests about your policy for COVID-19 symptoms or cases, for example during the booking or check-in process. You should include the process that will be followed and any implications for the guest, such as additional costs if their stay is extended. Unless otherwise provided for in the contractual terms of the booking, the guest will be expected to pay the costs of an extended stay in all but exceptional circumstances (such as the accommodation provider having failed to put in place appropriate working safely measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission).
  • In case of a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, follow the guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings.

If a guest informs you they have tested positive for COVID-19 or they have symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Advise the guest (and any relevant members of their family or party, such as those sharing a room) to:
    • immediately self-isolate where they are if possible (to minimise any further risk of transmission);
    • arrange an NHS test as soon as possible; and
    • return home if they reasonably can.
  • Discuss with the guest whether they are able to return home, or whether it is possible to extend their stay. Make sure to inform them of any costs an extended stay would include (which the guest would usually be expected to cover).
  • If they choose to return home, they should use private transport but only drive themselves if they can do so safely.
  • If a guest cannot reasonably return home (for example if they do not have the means to arrange private transport or they are not well enough to drive themselves home safely) and cannot self-isolate in your accommodation facility, their circumstances should be discussed with an appropriate healthcare professional and, if necessary, the local authority.

If the guest self-isolates in your accommodation facility:

  • Inform the guest of any relevant safety measures you will take, and ensure they are familiar with the guidance on possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection which they should follow.
  • Discuss practical measures with the guest, such as changes to meal and laundry provision. They should stay in their accommodation and should not use shared areas (such as TV rooms or lounges) or shared dining facilities. If meals are delivered, contact with the guest should be minimised and social distancing maintained at all times. You should also consider whether symptomatic guests should clean their own rooms and strip their own beds, to avoid exposing cleaning or housekeeping staff to unnecessary risk.
  • The guest must not leave the accommodation facility, except in a few specific circumstances, including for urgent medical assistance, urgent veterinary services, legal obligations, attending the funeral of a close family member, accessing critical public services, and to move to a different place of isolation if it is impractical for them to remain at your accommodation facility. They are also permitted to leave where they need to in order to obtain basic necessities (such as food and medical supplies). However, you should discuss with the guest whether there are other ways these supplies could be provided so they do not have to expose others to potential transmission risk by leaving their place of self-isolation unnecessarily. You should remember that it is not your responsibility to enforce self-isolation rules; enforcement of the law remains a matter for the police.
  • Once the guest has finished the required self-isolation period and is no longer symptomatic, they no longer need to isolate.

If your facility is unsuitable for self-isolation (for example, if it has shared washing facilities, or there are risks to staff that cannot be mitigated):

  • Guests with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should return home to self-isolate if they can. Ensure that guests are aware in advance that they will not be able to self-isolate in your facility, and may have to arrange private transport home if they need to self-isolate.

Managing guests who are quarantining after international travel

Your hotel or guest accommodation facility may be used by guests who are arriving from non-red list countries, either as a quarantine location or for an overnight stay on the way to their quarantine location.

This is not the same as being a ‘managed quarantine hotel’, which are specific facilities that are working with the government to provide managed quarantine packages for those who have travelled from or through red list countries and territories.

Who needs to quarantine

People arriving in England from abroad must complete a passenger locator form and follow different rules depending on whether they qualify as fully vaccinated under the rules for travel to England. Read the guidance on international travel for more information.

People who are not fully vaccinated under an approved programme (or exempt on medical grounds) need to quarantine for 10 days after they arrive in England and take tests during their quarantine. They can quarantine in a private residence, or in a hotel or other guest accommodation facility.

People who are fully vaccinated under an approved programme do not have to quarantine, but must still follow measures including booking a Day 2 test. This also applies to children under 18 who are resident in an approved country, people taking part in approved vaccine trials and people who are exempt from vaccination on medical grounds.

There are different rules for countries and territories on the red list. People who have been in a red list country or territory in the 10 days before they arrive in England must book and stay in a managed quarantine hotel, whether they are fully vaccinated or not. They cannot quarantine in your hotel or other guest accommodation facility if it is not part of the managed quarantine service.

What you should do:

  • Consider how you will manage bookings for guests who need to quarantine. You should determine your own approach to taking bookings from quarantining or self-isolating guests, and consider how best to inform guests about your policies (for example during the booking or check-in process). There is no requirement to ask a guest whether they are self-isolating, and you should not ask them about private health matters like their vaccination status.
  • You do not need to check on the dates or details of their quarantine. They do not need to make a booking for 10 days, and you do not need to check whether they have arranged other accommodation. It is the guest’s responsibility to organise their quarantine location for the relevant period, to declare this on their passenger locator form and to make it known that they are self-isolating.
  • If a guest tells you they are quarantining after international travel, inform them of your policy for COVID-19 quarantine, for example during the booking or check-in process. You should ensure they are aware of their legal obligation to self-isolate, and let them know how this will work during their stay. Inform them of any safety measures in place at your accommodation facility (such as asking them not to use shared leisure areas used by non-quarantining guests).

    You should also let them know if there will be additional costs if their stay is extended (for example, if they test positive on Day 8 and must continue to self-isolate). Unless the booking they made set out different terms, the guest would usually be expected to pay the costs of an extended stay in all but exceptional circumstances.
  • Do not ask guests to disclose personal health information. If a guest informs you that they are quarantining, you could ask them to tell staff if they have COVID-19 symptoms, a positive test, or are told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, so that you can minimise the risk of transmission to staff and other guests. However, guests do not have to inform you that they are quarantining, disclose their test results or share other personal information about their health. It is not your responsibility to check guests’ test results or enforce self-isolation rules; enforcement of the law remains a matter for the police.
  • Consider whether to offer support or assistance to guests with testing requirements. Guests are not required to let you know about their plans to take a COVID-19 test. If a guest does share this with you, consider whether to offer any support or assistance - for example, delivering their test kit to their door or posting their sample so they don’t have to leave their room and mix with other guests. This is at your discretion. However you should always be mindful of people’s privacy and ensure that information about their health is not shared without their permission.
  • In case of a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, follow the guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings.

Test to Release for international travellers

Under the Test to Release for International Travel scheme, guests who are required to quarantine can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test in order to end their quarantine before the full 10 days have been completed. This does not apply to travel from or through red list countries. Read the guidance on Test to Release for more information.

  • The scheme is voluntary, and guests who choose to opt-in will have to arrange and pay for a test with a registered provider. This is in addition to the tests that everyone required to quarantine must take on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of their quarantine period.
  • The test cannot be taken until they have been in the UK for 5 full days. Tests can be arranged at a testing site, or self-administered tests can be sent to their quarantine location. Guests may wish to let staff know that they expect a test to be delivered. Guests using the scheme can leave their quarantine location to post their test or to travel directly to and from the testing site (following safer travel guidance, and avoiding public transport if possible).
  • Consider whether to offer support or assistance to guests with testing requirements. Guests are not required to let you know about their plans to take a COVID-19 test. If a guest does share this with you, consider whether to offer any support or assistance - for example, delivering their test kit to their door or posting their sample so they don’t have to leave their room and mix with other guests. This is at your discretion. However you should always be mindful of people’s privacy and ensure that information about their health is not shared without their permission.
  • The guest will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, who will advise them whether they need to isolate or take any other steps. Guests are not required to disclose their test result to you, and it is not your responsibility to check their test results. However, NHS Test and Trace will advise guests who test positive to inform their accommodation provider immediately so that you can take appropriate measures to minimise risk to staff and other guests.

    - If the test result is negative, the guest is released from quarantine as soon as they receive the result. They will no longer have to self-isolate, and can use the accommodation in the same way as other guests. However, they are still required to take the Day 8 test.

    - If the test result is positive, NHS Test and Trace will inform the guest to continue self-isolating (this could be for a further 10 days from the day of the test, or from the onset of symptoms, if earlier). If you are made aware of this, you should discuss with the guest whether they will continue to isolate in your accommodation facility, and what that will involve. Follow the steps in managing guests who have confirmed or suspected COVID-19.

    NHS Test and Trace will also get in touch with people who have been in close contact with the guest and advise them if they need to isolate. If a staff member has had close contact with the positive case and needs to self-isolate, they will be informed by NHS Test and Trace.
  • Those who are required to quarantine after travel and do not opt-in to the Test to Release scheme must quarantine for the full 10 days.

Managing your facility

In this section:

Cleaning

Frequent cleaning of surfaces, particularly those that people touch often, reduces the potential for COVID-19 to spread and is a critical part of working safely.

  • Ensure you are maintaining clean workspaces through regular use of your usual cleaning products.
  • Frequently clean surfaces, particularly those that people touch often. Pay particular attention to those in high-traffic areas, such as door handles, lift buttons and handrails.
  • Frequently clean toilet and bathroom facilities. Set clear use and cleaning guidance to ensure they are kept clean, including putting up a visible and up-to-date cleaning schedule. Special care should be taken for cleaning of portable toilets and larger toilet blocks, as well as shared bathrooms in guest accommodation facilities.
  • Make a checklist of all main touchpoints (such as door handles and surfaces) to be cleaned when guests vacate.
  • Clean keys between guests.
  • If you are cleaning after a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, follow the guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings. You may need to provide cleaners and housekeeping staff with personal protective equipment (such as a face mask or visor) to protect their eyes, mouth and nose, when cleaning areas where there is a greater risk of exposure to the virus (for example, in a hotel room where someone unwell has spent the night).

If you are hosting large events or conference, you should also:

  • Frequently clean audience areas, including seating areas. Pay particular attention to touch-points such as doors, door handles, seat arms, handrails and taps. Where possible, you should organise your event so that these areas are cleaned between use by different customers.
  • Take steps to reduce crowding in toilet facilities where possible, for example by implementing one-way systems.
  • Provide additional waste facilities, including closed bins, and ensure rubbish is collected frequently.
  • Review the advice in the guidance for events and attractions and consider whether there are further measures you can take to reduce risk.

Hygiene

Good hygiene practices, such as frequent handwashing, play a crucial role in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

  • Put in place hygiene measures to reduce the risk of transmission. This should include providing handwashing facilities and hand sanitiser, particularly in high-traffic or higher-risk areas, such as reception and entrance foyers, doorways, lifts and bathroom facilities.
  • Ensure that housekeeping staff follow guidance on handwashing and hygiene, particularly after cleaning rooms and items which have been in contact with guests.
  • Ensure handwashing facilities or hand sanitiser stations are available near shared facilities, equipment and objects.
  • Ensure that handwashing and hand sanitiser facilities are checked and refilled regularly, and that any equipment placed is accessible to (and does not impede) wheelchair users.
  • Maintain good hygiene practices, such as encouraging staff and customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands regularly. You could use signs and posters to build awareness of good handwashing technique, the need to increase handwashing frequency, and good hygiene practices like avoiding touching your face and coughing or sneezing into your arm. Consider how to ensure safety messages reach those with hearing or vision impairments.

Ventilation

In enclosed spaces (such as indoor settings, or indoor areas of outdoor venues), ventilation is an important control measure to reduce the risk of aerosol transmission of COVID-19. You should consider how best to increase ventilation in your facility, to maximise the supply of fresh or cleaned air. You can watch a video from the Health and Safety Executive which explains how ventilation reduces the risk of transmission and the steps that businesses can take.

However, ventilation will not reduce the risk of droplet or surface transmission, so you should also put in place other control measures such as cleaning.

Steps you should take:

  • Open doors, windows and air vents where possible, to improve natural ventilation, and ensure extractor fans work effectively. You should take particular care to keep toilets and shower facilities well-ventilated, as these can be areas of higher risk.
  • If using mechanical ventilation, ensure that your systems are set to maximise fresh air and minimise air recirculation. Maximising the amount of fresh or cleaned air the system draws in will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Identify any poorly ventilated spaces and take steps to improve fresh air flow in these areas. The priority for your risk assessment is to identify areas of your workplace that are usually occupied, and poorly ventilated. You should prioritise these areas for improvement to reduce the risk of aerosol transmission. A CO2 monitor could help you assess whether a space is poorly ventilated, and if you should use additional mechanical ventilation or open windows (see the box below for further information on CO2 monitors). If you can’t improve ventilation in poorly ventilated spaces, consider whether it is safer to restrict the number of people in these spaces or stop using them if possible.
  • Encourage the use of outside space where practical, in particular for higher-risk activity such as exercise or when people are singing or raising their voices.

Further information and advice relating to ventilation in the workplace can be found in the Health and Safety Executive’s guidance on ventilation and air conditioning.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) monitors

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 within a space rather than treating them as safe thresholds.

Outdoor levels are around 400ppm and indoors a consistent CO2 value less than 800ppm is likely to indicate that a space is well ventilated.

A CO2 concentration of above 1500ppm in a space 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.

Businesses and event organisers should still provide adequate ventilation in areas where CO2 monitors are less likely to be useful.