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 the guidance for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Plan B: upcoming changes

The government has announced that the measures put in place under Plan B of the Autumn/Winter COVID-19 response in England will be lifted.

This means that workers are no longer asked to work from home if they can. Employers should talk to their workers to agree arrangements to return to the workplace. Read the section on going to the workplace for more information.

From 27 January:

  • There will no longer be a legal requirement for people to wear face coverings. People are still advised to wear one in crowded and indoor spaces where they may come into contact with people they do not normally meet.
  • Venues and events will no longer be required by law to check the COVID status of their customers. They can still choose to use the NHS COVID Pass on a voluntary basis.

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

What’s changed

21 January 2022: Workers are no longer asked to work from home if they can. The sections on going to the workplace, reducing contact for workers and people who need to self-isolate have been updated to remove references to working from home.

Priority actions

There are 8 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.

  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. Read more in the section on ventilation.

  3. Remind your staff and customers to wear face coverings in indoor spaces where it is required by law (unless they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse to remove them). Customers are legally required to wear face coverings in indoor public areas of hotels and accommodation facilities. Staff must also wear face coverings in areas where they are likely to come into contact with a member of the public. You must notify people if face coverings are required in areas of your business, for example by putting up signs. Download and print a poster you can put up in your business. Read about face coverings.

  4. Clean more often. It’s especially important to clean surfaces that people touch a lot. You should ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and to clean their hands frequently. Read more about cleaning and hygiene.

  5. Turn away people with COVID-19 symptoms. Staff members or customers should self-isolate immediately if they show any symptoms of COVID-19 and take 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.

  6. Check the COVID status of visitors and staff to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading. Some venues and events are legally required to check the COVID status of all attendees aged 18 and over. You can only admit people who are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative COVID-19 test result in the last 48 hours, or are exempt from these requirements. You are strongly advised to check that workers (aged 18 and over) in customer-facing roles meet these requirements. Read more about COVID status checks.

  7. Enable people to check in at your venue. You can also choose to display an NHS QR code poster so people can check in at your venue, to help NHS Test and Trace to reduce the spread of the virus. Read about NHS QR codes.

  8. Communicate and train. Tell workers and customers how to visit your workplace safely, and keep them updated on your safety measures. Read more about communicating with workers and communicating with customers.

Some areas or types of facility within your hotel or guest accommodation 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 events and attractions. 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 while reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19. It provides practical considerations on how to apply this in a hotel or guest accommodation facility.

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

  • hotels, hostels and motels
  • student accommodation (when used as a hotel or guest accommodation, such as during a conference)
  • bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) and guest houses
  • short-term serviced accommodation and similar lettings
  • boats with guest accommodation (e.g. for holiday hire)
  • holiday parks and campsites
  • facilities with other types of guest accommodation (such as yurts, chalets, and caravans)

This guidance also applies to inns and pubs which contain accommodation but only where it relates to the provision of guest accommodation. For operation of the inn or pub as a hospitality service, facilities should follow the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs and takeaway services.

Transport services which contain accommodation (such as sleeper trains) should follow the safer transport guidance for operators, but may find relevant advice on managing their accommodation service in this guidance.

This guidance does not cover managed quarantine for international travel from ‘red list’ countries and territories. 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:

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.

If there are recognised trade union health and safety representatives who represent your workers, you must consult them. If any of your workers are not represented by trade union representatives, you can either consult those workers directly or a representative they have chosen. 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.

You can find more information on enforcement in the sections on face coverings and managing COVID status checks.

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 your event or venue. 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 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, crowds and events.

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 more on reducing the risk of people with COVID-19 coming to your workplace and people who need to self-isolate.
  • 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 more on 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 severe illness if they are infected. See more on supporting your workers.
  • 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.

Event organisers should also consider the risk factors identified by the Events Research Programme when undertaking risk assessments for their event or venue. Read the events and attractions guidance for additional risk advice for events.

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 workers to get tested regularly. Regular testing could help to identify more positive cases of COVID-19, and reduce the risk of it spreading in your workplace.

  • Anyone with symptoms should get a free NHS test as soon as possible.
  • Employees who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 can access regular testing free of charge at home or at a test site. Read guidance on accessing tests if you do not have symptoms of COVID-19.
  • You can also pay an approved provider to provide tests or run a test site for your workplace. Read guidance on getting COVID-19 tests for your employees, and options for workplace testing, or call 119 for more information.
  • If COVID status checks are required (or you choose to apply them) for attendees at your venue or event, you are strongly advised to check that workers (aged 18 and over) in customer-facing roles are fully vaccinated, have tested negative in the past 48 hours, or are exempt from these requirements (for example, because they are participating in a clinical trial, or because they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons).
    • If you have workers (aged 18 and over) in customer-facing roles who are not fully vaccinated (or exempt), you may want to ask them to take regular lateral flow tests. Read the guidance on mandatory COVID status checks for more information on how to coordinate a test site, and how you should advise workers to take tests.

Use rapid lateral flow testing to help manage periods of high risk.

  • Workers may wish to take a rapid lateral flow test before periods of high risk. This will help to detect any cases of COVID-19 when people are infectious but are not displaying symptoms, and reduce the chances of the virus spreading in your workplace.
  • You can encourage workers to take tests. You can also provide tests to workers or offer to test them at your workplace test site, if you have one (see above for more information on workplace testing).
  • Periods of high risk include times when they are in crowded and enclosed areas, (where there are more people who might be infectious and there is limited fresh air), and before visiting people who are at higher risk of severe illness if they get COVID-19.
    • For example, you may want to encourage workers to take a test before and after they work at a crowded event.

Going to the workplace

The government is no longer asking people to work from home if they can.

You should now talk to your employees to agree arrangements to return to the workplace, consulting with workers and trade unions where appropriate. You should remain responsive to workers’ needs and consult with them on any health and safety measures you have put in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading, giving extra consideration to people at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and to workers facing mental and physical health difficulties.

When considering working arrangements, employers should take into account their other existing legal obligations.

When considering workers’ return to 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.

People who need to self-isolate

This section relates to workers who may need to self-isolate. You can find guidance on customers in the section on guests who need to self-isolate.

Workers who are required to self-isolate should not come to the workplace. This includes people who:

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

Workers who receive a positive COVID-19 test result (through a PCR or rapid lateral flow test) 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 from this requirement (for example, because they are fully vaccinated). Read more about who needs to self-isolate.

Read the guidance on NHS Test and Trace in the workplace for more information.

It is against the law for you to allow someone to come to work if you know they are required to self-isolate.

What you should do

Make sure your workers are aware of what to do if they have symptoms of COVID-19.

  • People who have COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, a new and persistent cough, or a loss of/change to their sense of taste or smell) should not come to the workplace. If any of your workers have COVID-19 symptoms, they should self-isolate immediately and get a PCR test, even if these symptoms are mild.
  • If someone has symptoms or tests positive at your workplace, follow the steps in COVID-19 cases in your workplace.

Do not ask or encourage someone who is required to self-isolate to come to the workplace.

  • If you know that a worker is required to self-isolate, you must not allow them to come into work or work anywhere other than where they are self-isolating (usually their home) for their full self-isolation period. This is the law, and you can be fined if you break it.
  • 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.
  • Workers who are unable to work because they have COVID-19 or need to self-isolate may be entitled to statutory sick pay.

Encourage staff members who are unwell with other illnesses 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.

Who needs to self-isolate?

People who are legally 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.

People are required to self-isolate if they:

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

They are required to self-isolate for 10 full days from the day their symptoms started, or from the day their test was taken if they do not have symptoms (day 0). However, it could be longer in some circumstances (for example, if they develop symptoms during their self-isolation). NHS Test and Trace will tell them when they can stop self-isolating. Read more about how to self-isolate and how NHS Test and Trace works.

People can stop self-isolating earlier (from day 6) if they have 2 negative results on rapid lateral flow tests taken on consecutive days. The first rapid lateral flow test should not be taken before day 5 of their self-isolation period. They should only end their self-isolation after they have had 2 negative results to tests taken on consecutive days. They can stop testing after they have had 2 consecutive negative test results.

The self-isolation period remains 10 full days for those without negative results from two consecutive rapid lateral flow tests taken a day apart. This is the law, regardless of whether you have been vaccinated.

People who are identified as a contact

NHS Test and Trace may tell people to self-isolate if they are in contact with someone who tests positive. A contact is someone they live with, or have been close to (for example, face-to-face interactions, or spending time within a certain distance of them). Read about what is meant by a contact.

NHS Test and Trace will decide whether someone is a contact based on the information they are given by the person who tests positive. People identified as a contact are required to self-isolate, unless they are fully vaccinated, or are exempt from this requirement for another reason (such as their age).

People who are fully vaccinated or exempt:

  • People who are fully vaccinated are not required to self-isolate if they are identified as a contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19. People are also exempt from this requirement if they are aged under 18 and 6 months, are part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial, or are unable to get vaccinated for medical reasons. Read more about exemptions and who qualifies as fully vaccinated.
  • However, they are strongly advised to take a rapid lateral flow test every day for 7 days (or until 10 days have passed since their last contact with the person who tested positive, if this is earlier). Where possible, they should take this daily lateral flow test before they leave their home for the first time that day.
  • They may also be advised to consider taking precautions until 10 days after their most recent contact with the positive case, such as limiting close contact with people outside their household (especially in enclosed areas).
  • If any of the lateral flow tests are positive, they should report their result and self-isolate. They do not need to take a PCR test to confirm the result.

People who are not fully vaccinated or exempt:

  • People who are not fully vaccinated or exempt are legally required to self-isolate if they are a contact of a positive case of COVID-19. They will be informed of this by NHS Test and Trace.
  • They must self-isolate for the full isolation period, even if they have one or more negative tests during this time.

Find out more about when to self-isolate.

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 factors.

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

  • 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 are self-isolating 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, they should self-isolate and get a test, even if these symptoms are mild. People with COVID-19 symptoms can get a free NHS test.
  • You should 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 a guest staying at your facility has COVID-19 symptoms or tells you they have tested positive for COVID-19, follow the steps in guests who need to self-isolate.

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.

Think about using rapid lateral flow testing to help manage periods of risk.

  • Workers who are not close contacts may also want to take tests to check if they have been exposed to the virus.
  • You can encourage workers to take tests. You can also provide tests to workers or offer to test them at your workplace test site, if you have one. Read more about COVID-19 tests.

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

If one of your workers tests positive, you can 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 government requirements or recommendations for employers to limit capacity in the workplace, or on contact between people from different households.

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 and regular cleaning of surfaces) 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.

Supporting and communicating with workers

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 of severe illness from COVID-19 and for whom additional precautions advised by their clinicians should be considered. Read HSE guidance on protecting vulnerable workers.

What you should 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 workers 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.

Reducing risk to customers

In this section:

Communicating with customers

It’s important to make sure your staff and customers understand what they should do to prevent spreading COVID-19 at your venue or event. Make sure you tell them any important information about safety measures before they book tickets or arrive.

Make sure customers are aware of the need to wear face coverings, where this is required.

  • If people are legally required to wear face coverings in your venue (or in some areas), you are legally required to put up signs or posters or take other steps to make sure they are aware of this requirement. This includes all indoor public areas of hotels and guest accommodation facilities (except areas where face coverings are not required, such as hospitality facilities).
  • Read more about face coverings.

Make sure customers know how to visit your facility 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.
    • If your venue or event requires COVID status checks, make sure customers are informed that they will need to show proof (such as their NHS COVID Pass) that they are fully vaccinated, have tested negative for COVID-19 in the previous 48 hours, or are exempt from these requirements, in order to enter your venue or event.
    • If this is likely to mean a longer wait to enter the venue, you could advise customers to arrive earlier. See the section on COVID status checks for more information.
  • 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.

Reduce the risk of people with COVID-19 coming to your workplace

Protect your workers and customers by reducing the risk that someone with COVID-19 will come to your facility. Make sure staff and customers know they should not come if they have (or may have) COVID-19, or they need to self-isolate.

What you should do

Ask people not visit your business or come to the workplace if:

  • they need to self isolate, for example because they’ve been told to by NHS Test & Trace
  • they or anyone they live with have any COVID-19 symptoms (a high temperature, new and persistent cough, or a loss or change in taste or smell), even if their symptoms are mild

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

  • If a guest staying at your accommodation arrives with symptoms, or tells you they have COVID-19 (or need to self-isolate) before/when checking in, talk to them about your policy for self-isolation. It may not always be possible or safe for guests to self-isolate in a hotel or guest accommodation facility. Read more about guests who need to self-isolate.

People who need to self-isolate but do not have suitable accommodation may need to self-isolate in a hotel or guest accommodation facility. This could include people who were infected while away from home, and people who need to quarantine after international travel. Use your risk register to think about whether this is safe and appropriate in your facility, and make sure customers are aware of your policies.

Read more about guests who need to self-isolate.

Reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in your workplace.

You should take steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading at your venue or event.

You can use the NHS COVID Pass (and other equivalent forms of evidence) to check people’s COVID status before they enter your venue or event.

This will:

- reduce the likelihood of an infectious person entering your venue or event,
- reduce the risk of other visitors becoming infected if an infectious person does enter, and
- reduce the risk of serious illness if transmission does occur.

You should also display an NHS QR code so people can check in at your venue. This will help NHS Test and Trace to reduce the spread of the virus.

Some venues and events are legally required to check customers’ COVID status as a condition of entry. This includes nightclubs and similar late-night facilities, which may be within a hotel or guest accommodation facility, and to events you may hold at your facility.

If this applies to your venue or event, you are required by law to check that all attendees (aged 18 and over) are fully vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19 in the last 48 hours (or are exempt from these requirements). You are also strongly advised to check that workers (aged 18 and over) in customer-facing roles meet these requirements.

You are also legally required to produce a statement setting out how you will do this, and keep records of events and venues where you have used COVID status checks.

If you break the law, enforcement action can be taken against you. You can be prosecuted or a fixed penalty notice can be issued.

You can check people’s COVID status using the NHS COVID Pass, or other forms of evidence such as a valid text or email confirmation of a negative test from NHS Test and Trace.

Fully vaccinated for these purposes means vaccinated with 2 doses of an approved vaccine (or one of the single-dose Janssen vaccine).

You can find more information in the guidance on mandatory COVID status checks. You can also find further advice on what you need to do in:

What you should do

Check if you need to do mandatory COVID status checks for people using some areas of your facility, or attending events in your facility.

  • Use the information below to help you decide if COVID status checks are required. This is only a brief summary of the requirements. If you think this will apply to your facility or events you hold, read the guidance on mandatory COVID status checks for more information and the events and attractions guidance for further advice.
  • In some venues and events, you are legally required to check the COVID status of all attendees aged 18 and over.
    • For some venues (such as nightclubs and other late night dance venues) this will apply to their normal operations.
    • For other types of venue, whether COVID status checks are required will depend on the type of event you are holding and the number of people who are attending.
  • You should also check who is responsible for enforcing COVID status checks at your venue or event.
    • A venue or event’s ‘responsible person’ is responsible for making sure that the rules on COVID status checks are followed and organisations meet their legal responsibilities.
    • If you are the responsible person for a venue or event, you must take reasonable measures to ensure that only attendees with the accepted forms of evidence that they are fully vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19 in the previous 48 hours enter your venue or event, or are otherwise exempt.
  • If COVID status checks are not legally required at your venue or event, you can choose to ask customers or workers for proof of their COVID status, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading at your venue or event.
    • You should not use COVID status checks if your venue or event includes essential services such as hospitals or pharmacies and essential retailers such as supermarkets.
    • Read the section on guidance on mandatory COVID status checks for more information on the factors you will need to consider, and how you should communicate this to your workers and customers.

If you have a nightclub or a similar late-night venue in your facility:

  • Nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques are required to check the COVID status of all visitors (aged 18 or over) who enter the facility at any time. Only people who are fully vaccinated or provide a recent negative COVID-19 result can be admitted (unless they are exempt from these requirements).
  • Other late night dance venues are required to check the COVID status of all visitors (aged 18 or over) who are present between 1am and 5am. This applies to venues which are not nightclubs, dancehalls or discotheques, but which:
    • are open at any point between 1am and 5am;
    • serve alcohol after 1am;
    • have a dancefloor (or space for dancing); and
    • provide music (live or recorded) for dancing.
  • Speak to the responsible person to agree how COVID status checks will be managed at these facilities.
    • The responsible person for a nightclub, dancehall, discotheque or other late-night venue meeting the criteria above is the venue manager (the manager of that part of the facility).
  • There are some situations where nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques and other late-night dance venues do not have to use the NHS COVID Pass.
    • This includes events and activities which are exempt from COVID status checks, such as dance or exercise classes (where they take place in a nightclub).
    • If a nightclub, dance hall or discotheque closes their dancefloor or does not provide music, COVID status checks are not automatically required.
    • For other late night venues, COVID status checks are not automatically required if the venue does one or more of the following: closes between 1am and 5am, does not serve alcohol after 1am, closes their dancefloor, or stops providing music.
    • Read the events and attractions guidance for more detail on how this applies to different types of events.
  • Read the guidance on mandatory COVID status checks for more information on what you need to do.

If you hold events in your facility:

  • Some types of events require COVID status checks:
    • Indoor events with 500 or more attendees (at any one time) who are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event. For example, this might apply to a large reception.
    • Outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees (at any one time) who are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event. For example, this might apply to an outdoor festival.
    • Events with both indoor and outdoor areas which reach either of the thresholds above.
    • Any events with 10,000 or more attendees (indoors or outdoors).
    • Read the events and attractions guidance for more detail on how this applies to different types of events.
  • COVID status checks are not required for certain types of events and activities. They may be required if other events and non-exempt activities are taking place at the same venue or event.
    • This includes wedding and civil partnership ceremonies (except where they are combined with a reception which requires COVID status checks), and significant life events, such as a wedding reception, or a celebration (provided this is organised by an individual, not a business). This does not include birthday parties.
    • It also includes dance or exercise classes, or an amateur or professional dance performance. These events are exempt from requiring COVID status checks where they take place in a nightclub or a similar late-night venue. In other settings, dance or exercise classes should follow the rules for sport participation events, and dance performances should follow the general rules for events.
  • Read the events and attractions guidance for more detail on how this applies to different types of events.

If an event at your facility requires COVID status checks, you should:

  • Speak to the responsible person to:
    • Understand how they plan to check the COVID status of attendees, and if this will apply to workers. It is strongly advised that you check the COVID status of workers (aged 18 and over) and people providing services who are in customer-facing roles.
    • Make sure that event attendees are kept separate from other guests so that their vaccination status can be checked at entrances to the event.
  • Who the responsible person is will depend on the type of venue on your site where the event is being held.
  • If the event is being held at a sport stadium; a conference centre or exhibition hall; a live music venue, theatre or concert hall; the responsible person is the venue manager (the manager of that part of the facility).
    • If you are holding events which meet the threshold in an area or type of venue in your facility not listed above (such as a function room), the responsible person is the event organiser.
    • If you are hiring out your venue for an event, you should discuss COVID status checks with the event organiser. If there is no event organiser, compliance with mandatory proof of vaccination or test requirements is the responsibility of the manager of the premises where the event is held.
  • Read the guidance on mandatory COVID status checks for more information on what you and the event organiser need to do.

You are also strongly advised to check the COVID status of workers in customer-facing roles.

  • At venues and events where COVID status checks are required, it is strongly recommended that you also check that your workers (aged 18 and over) are fully vaccinated, have tested negative in the past 48 hours, or are exempt from these requirements (for example, because they are participating in a clinical trial, or because they cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons).
  • You should think about how this will affect your staff (particularly workers with protected characteristics, or who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19), and talk to your workers and trade union representatives.
  • This is recommended for workers (employees, other workers such as contractors and volunteers, and people providing services for your event) aged 18 and over who are in customer-facing roles. This means workers who are likely to come into contact with the public at any point.
    • For example, you may not think it is necessary to check the COVID status of a worker who is the chef at an event and will not be in areas open to the public, or a cleaner who only works at a nightclub or event venue when it is closed to the public.
  • If you choose to ask your workers for evidence of their COVID status, workers can provide the same evidence as customers, such as an NHS COVID Pass or a valid text or email from NHS Test and Trace.
    • If a worker shows evidence that they are fully vaccinated, you should only check this the first time they enter the venue, not each time they attend work.
    • If a worker (aged 18 and over) in a customer-facing role is not fully vaccinated (or exempt), you may want to ask them to complete regular lateral flow tests. Read the guidance on mandatory COVID status checks for more information on how to coordinate a test site, and how you should advise workers to take tests.
  • If you choose to ask your workers for evidence of their COVID status, remember that some workers may be exempt from vaccination or testing, because they are participating in a clinical trial, or because they cannot be vaccinated or take tests for medical reasons.
    • If you choose to ask workers for evidence of their COVID status, you can ask workers who are exempt from vaccination or testing for evidence that they are exempt. However, remember that this is private health information and should not be shared. If you want to record that you have checked their COVID status (for your own records), you should record that you have checked that they are exempt, but you should not record the reasons for a worker’s exemption.
    • Read the guidance on guidance on mandatory COVID status checks for information on exemptions.

If COVID status checks are required at your facility or events you hold, you are required to keep a record of how you are meeting the requirement to check attendees’ COVID status.

  • If you need to do COVID status checks at your event or venue, you must produce a ‘policy statement’ setting out how you will check your attendees’ COVID status.
    • This statement should cover certain kinds of information including what you will do to meet the requirements, and how you are making sure people are aware of your actions and what they need to do.
  • Read the guidance on mandatory COVID status checks for more information on these requirements, and the events and attractions guidance for advice on how you can do this.

If COVID status checks are not legally required for attendees at events in your facility:

  • Think about whether you should choose to check people’s COVID status on a voluntary basis, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in your facility.
  • You can choose to ask customers for proof of their COVID status in order to use your facility or attend events. If you want to do this, you should clearly communicate this to people who will come to your facility in advance of their visit (and in advance of ticket sales, where possible), and explain what kind of evidence they will need to provide.
  • You should not require attendees to prove their COVID-19 status if your venue or event includes essential services such as hospitals or pharmacies, essential retailers such as supermarkets or public transport services. Read the guidance on mandatory COVID status checks for more information.

You should also consider displaying an NHS QR code so that customers can check in using the NHS COVID-19 app. - You can choose to display an NHS QR code so that customers can check in using the NHS COVID-19 app. - You are not required to display an NHS QR code, to collect customer contact details, or keep a record of your staff and visitors. - However, allowing customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app will help NHS Test and Trace to reduce the spread of the virus. - If you choose to display an NHS QR code, you do not have to ask customers to check in, or turn them away if they refuse. However, 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.

How to verify COVID status evidence (such as an NHS COVID Pass)

Where COVID status checks are required, attendees must provide evidence that they are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken in the previous 48 hours, or have proof that they are exempt from vaccination or testing.

Wherever possible, you should use the free NHS COVID Pass Verifier App to check people’s COVID status, as this is the most secure way to check people’s COVID status and reduces the possibility of fraud. The Verifier App can be used to check NHS COVID Passes and a broad range of international COVID status evidence. Where the Verifier app cannot be used (for example, if people do not have the NHS COVID Pass) or you choose not to use the Verifier App, you must conduct manual checks.

NHS COVID Pass Verifier App

You can use the free NHS COVID Pass Verifier App to scan and verify people’s NHS COVID Passes and make sure they are valid. The Verifier App can also be used to check equivalent passes from the rest of the UK (and Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, and British Overseas Territories), and the EU Digital COVID Certificates (used by the EU and other countries which are part of this scheme, such as Norway, Israel, Singapore and New Zealand).

The Verifier app can scan the 2D barcode displayed on a phone or tablet, or a printed copy of their PDF. To prevent fraud, you should check that the identity of the user shown on the NHS COVID Pass matches other forms of identification (such as the name on their ticket or ID like a driving licence).

Using the Verifier app means you are processing personal data, so you must make sure this is handled carefully and in line with data protection legislation.

Read the guidance on mandatory COVID status checks and the guidance on the NHS COVID Pass Verifier App for more information on how to use the Verifier App, and data protection requirements.

Manual checks

Where the Verifier app cannot be used (for example, if people do not have the NHS COVID Pass) or you choose not to use the Verifier App, you must conduct manual checks.

To manually check an NHS COVID Pass (or the equivalent accepted Passes), you should check that:

  • the COVID status evidence meets the criteria (for example, showing that they are fully vaccinated, have a valid negative test from the previous 48 hours, or are exempt). Proof of natural immunity cannot be accepted.
  • the expiry date has not passed.
  • there is a ‘shimmer’ animation, to confirm it is the real NHS COVID Pass and not a screenshot of someone else’s app (note that the shimmer animation will not show up if someone has saved the COVID Pass into their Google or Apple wallet, which is permitted).

To check a negative test result which is not on an accepted COVID Pass, you should check that the person has a valid text or email from NHS Test and Trace. A valid notification of a test result from NHS Test and Trace should include:

  • their name
  • their age or date of birth
  • the date the test sample was collected or received by the test provider
  • confirmation that the test was either a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test or a lateral flow test
  • confirmation that the result of the test was negative

The Verifier App cannot be used for the following types of evidence, which must be checked manually.

  • The 1D barcode on a letter from a GP.
  • Certificates confirming clinical trial participation or medical exemptions.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cards (for visitors from the USA).
  • Other vaccination certificates and evidence (for other international visitors), which is accepted at the UK border. For more information, read the guidance on approved COVID-19 vaccines and countries with approved proof of vaccination.

Read the guidance on mandatory COVID status checks and the guidance on the NHS COVID Pass Verifier App for more information on how to use the Verifier App, and data protection requirements.

Managing customers, crowds and events

Think about how you can reduce risks to customers, for example by reducing unnecessary contact. If your venue gets very busy, or you have a lot of customers at the same time, you should think about ways to reduce the risk of crowding. The risk of catching or passing on COVID-19 is higher in crowded places, especially if they are indoors.

The types of measures which are appropriate will depend on your venue and the type of activities your business does, so you should think about the most appropriate steps you could take to manage risk.

What you should do

Check if you need to do mandatory COVID status checks for people using some areas of your facility or attending your event.

  • If this does not apply to your facility, you may also want to consider checking people’s COVID status on a voluntary basis, to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading at your facility or event.
  • Read the section on COVID status checks for more detail on when this will apply and what you need to do.

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.
  • Think about what is right for your facility, or events you hold. For example, if you are hosting business events and conferences, you could consider providing (or suggesting the event organiser provides) name tags and a badge holder for business cards, to avoid the exchange of business cards.

Think about how you can reduce congestion in your facility.

  • Use your risk register to identify any places in your facility which can get crowded, and think about ways to reduce this. For example, using one-way systems to avoid people being held up around doorways.
  • Think about how you can reduce the need for people to stand in queues, for example by staggering check-in or check-out times, using key-drops for check-out, or letting customers check in online (if you have this service).
  • If you have a lot of people arriving or leaving at the same time, using multiple entrances and exits or one-way systems can help to reduce crowding.

If you hold events (such as conferences and receptions) in your facility, manage your guests to reduce crowding.

  • Think about how audiences arrive and leave. Using multiple entrances and exits, staggering arrival/leaving times, using one-way systems and different zones for audience groups can help to reduce crowding.
  • You can also reduce the risk of crowding by providing allocated seating, where possible.
    • If you provide allocated seating, make sure your seating plan takes into account the needs of wheelchair users and people with disabilities (and their carers). If you offer any other accessibility services (such as captioning or audio description), make sure people who need them are in seats with access to these services.
    • Where allocated seating is not possible, think about other ways to reduce crowds building up. For example, you could use extra stewards to help direct people to their seats.
  • You can find more information on crowd management measures in the events and attractions guidance.

Think about the risk of crowds in enclosed or poorly ventilated areas.

  • The risk of COVID-19 transmission in a crowded area will be higher if it is enclosed or has limited ventilation.
  • Think about how you can reduce the risk by improving the ventilation (find out more about ventilation) or limit the number of people using the room or area to avoid overcrowding.
  • You could ask people to arrive at different times or use tickets for certain time periods to manage the number of people attending. You could also put a capacity limit on your venue or certain areas or rooms, to make sure they do not get overcrowded. For example:
    • For example, if you have a shared games room or lounge which is indoors and hasn’t got very good ventilation, you could put a capacity limit on the room. If it is very popular, you could put time limits on people using it, or ask guests to book in when they are likely to use it.
  • You may also want to recommend that people wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet, if this is not already required.

Take extra care with large events and very crowded venues.

  • If you are holding large events or some areas of your venue (such as a bar or nightclub) often become very crowded, you should take additional steps to manage guests and reduce the risk of crowding.
  • Research has found that there are some factors which increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission at events. This includes events which are indoors (or have indoor areas), have a large number of attendees, include people moving around during the event (rather than sitting in one place), and are likely to include crowding or congested areas in the venue.
  • If your event or venue has one or more of these risk factors, you should take extra care to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Talk to the event organiser and read the events and attractions guidance for:
    • more advice on the types of things you can do to reduce risk (such as crowd movement strategies and stewarding).
    • a risk management template you can use to help you plan your event.
  • You may also want to consider checking people’s COVID status on a voluntary basis (if this is not already required), to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading in your facility. Read the events and attractions guidance for more information on checking people’s COVID status at events.

Guests who need to self-isolate

People who need to self-isolate but do not have somewhere suitable they can stay may need to self-isolate in a hotel or guest accommodation facility. Use your risk register to think about whether it is safe and appropriate for guests to self-isolate in a room or other accommodation at your facility. Make sure staff and customers are aware of your policies.

Guests who need to self-isolate should follow the guidance on testing and self-isolation. There is advice below on how this could apply in a hotel or guest accommodation facility, and what you should do to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to your staff and other customers.

The rules on self-isolation have changed. People with COVID-19 can end their self-isolation earlier (from day 6), if they have 2 negative results on lateral flow tests taken on consecutive days. The first test should not be taken before day 5 of their self-isolation period. See people who need to self-isolate for more information.

What you should do

Make sure you have a plan for what you will do if a guest has COVID-19 or needs to self-isolate.

  • Guests who have COVID-19 should return home to self-isolate if they can, but this may not always be possible. They may want to stay in accommodation at your facility to self-isolate while they wait for their test result, or for the whole time they need to self-isolate (usually 10 days).
  • Think about whether it is possible and safe for guests to self-isolate at your facility.
    • You should think about how they (and any other affected or exposed guests) will self-isolate, and how meals will be arranged, as they should not use shared facilities.
    • Some guest accommodation may not be suitable for self-isolation, for example if the infected guest would have to share a room with other guests who aren’t infected. In these cases, you should advise guests to travel home or to another location to self-isolate, if they can travel safely.
    • In accommodation with shared facilities (such as bathroom or laundry facilities) which cannot be used just by self-isolating guests, think about whether this can be managed safely. You may decide that this would not be safe as it would expose the staff or other guests to a high risk of transmission.
  • Think about how you will clean their accommodation during their stay and after they have left.
    • For example, you could provide cleaning supplies and fresh sheets and ask guests who have symptoms to clean their own rooms, and put laundry outside the room, so that cleaning or housekeeping staff aren’t exposed to unnecessary risk.
    • Think about how you will clean their accommodation after they have left your facility. Rooms that have been used by people who have (or may have) COVID-19 should be cleaned carefully and thoroughly. Make sure that cleaning staff have protective equipment such as gloves and an apron. Read the sections on cleaning and personal protective equipment (PPE) for more information.
    • You need to take extra care with laundry from people who may have COVID-19. Read the section on cleaning and the COVID-19 cleaning and decontamination guidance for more information.
  • Think about whether there are other things you can do to reduce the risk to your staff and customers. For example, guests do not have to wear face coverings when they are in their private accommodation. However if a guest has a positive test or symptoms of COVID-19, you may nevertheless want to ask them to wear a face covering when they are speaking to staff and other customers (if face-to-face contact is necessary).

Tell guests about your COVID-19 policy.

  • Make sure guests know if they can self-isolate in your facility if they need to, and what they should do if they have symptoms or test positive during their stay.
    • If guests can’t self-isolate in your facility, make sure they know this in advance so they can plan to travel somewhere else if they need to.
  • Make sure guests know about any additional costs they might need to pay. For example, if they need to self-isolate and can’t travel home, so they need to stay in your facility for longer than they planned to.
    • Unless there are different terms in the booking agreement, the guest would usually be expected to pay the costs of a longer stay (except in exceptional circumstances).

You should help guests to self-isolate where you can, but should not try to enforce the law.

  • Remember that it is not your responsibility (or your staff’s responsibility) to check the guest’s test results or enforce self-isolation rules.
  • Do not ask guests for personal information about their health. NHS Test and Trace will advise guests to tell you if they have a positive test, so you can reduce the risk to staff and other customers. You could also make sure that guests know that they might need to self-isolate (e.g. if they get symptoms) during their visit, and ask them to let staff know if this happens. However, guests do not have to tell you any personal information about their health, including COVID-19 test results.
  • Make sure staff are aware that they should help guests to self-isolate where they can. However, obeying the law is the guest’s responsibility and you should not try to stop them from leaving your facility if they choose to. It is the guest’s responsibility to self-isolate if they are required to, and enforcing the law is a matter for the police.

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

What you should do:

  • Let the guest (and their group, if they have been in close contact) know that they should:
    • arrange an NHS test as soon as possible
    • self-isolate where they are while they wait for the test or results (to reduce any further risk of transmission)
    • return home if they can.
  • Talk to the guest about whether they can go home (or somewhere else) to self-isolate, or whether it is possible to self-isolate at your facility. Make sure to inform them of any costs that they will have to pay if their stay is extended.
    • If they choose to go home or to another location to self-isolate, they should use private transport and not use public transport. However, they should only drive themselves if they can do so safely.
    • If they can’t reasonably return home (for example, they can’t afford private transport, or they are not well enough to drive themselves home safely) and it’s not safe for them to self-isolate in your facility, you should discuss this with an appropriate healthcare professional and, if necessary, the local authority.

If the guest self-isolates in your accommodation facility

People who are required to self-isolate should not leave the place where they are staying until they are informed by NHS Test and Trace that their self-isolation period has finished (provided they don’t have any remaining symptoms).

You can advise the guest that they should not leave your facility, except in a few specific circumstances (such as for urgent medical help and legal obligations). However, remember that it is not your responsibility (or your staff’s responsibility) to enforce this. It is the guest’s responsibility to self-isolate if they are required to, and enforcing the law is a matter for the police.

What you should do:

  • Let the guest know how you will help them to self-isolate, and what they should do (for example, if they should use a specific bathroom which other guests won’t be using). Tell them how they should talk to staff if they need anything or become ill (for example, calling reception so they don’t need to leave their room).
    • Staff should avoid face-to-face contact with a guest who is self-isolating, where possible. However, if it is necessary to speak to them in person, you may want to ask the guest(s) to wear a face covering.
  • Talk to them about any changes to their stay, such as how they can get meals and use laundry services.
    • The guest should stay in their room or accommodation area and should not use shared areas (such as TV rooms or lounges) or shared dining facilities.
    • If meals are delivered, make sure that staff have minimal contact with the guest.
    • Think about 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 is allowed to leave if they need to get food and medical supplies, or to get a COVID-19 test. However, you should talk to the guest whether there are other ways this can be arranged (e.g. your staff or delivery workers bringing them to the guest’s door) so the guest does not have to leave and expose other people to the virus.
  • You can also offer to help them with tests, if you choose to, but you must make sure their personal health information is kept private.
    • Guests are not required to tell you if they are taking a COVID-19 test. However, if they do tell you this, you can offer to help them. For example, you could ask them if they want your staff to deliver their test kit to their door or post their sample for them.
    • You are not obliged to help guests with their tests, so this is your choice, but it could help to reduce the risk to your staff and other customers by allowing the guest to stay in their room and avoid mixing with other people as much as possible.
    • You should always be mindful of people’s privacy and ensure that information about their health is not shared without their permission.
  • If the guest needs more advice, you could suggest they read the guidance on self-isolation.
  • If a guest has a positive test, NHS Test and Trace will get in touch with people the guest has been in contact with, and advise them if they need to self-isolate. This might include your workers. Read the section on people who need to self-isolate for more information on what to do if staff need to self-isolate.

If a guest with COVID-19 has symptoms and their illness is getting worse:

  • Help them to get medical attention. If it is not an emergency, the guest or your staff can contact NHS 111 for advice. Help the guest get to hospital if they need urgent care.
  • If it is a medical emergency, dial 999 to call an ambulance. Tell the call handler or operator that the guest is self-isolating for COVID-19 and any symptoms or medical issues you are aware of.

Guests who are quarantining after international travel

Your facility may be used by guests who have travelled from overseas and need to quarantine (self-isolate). This is not the same as being a ‘managed quarantine hotel’, which are specific facilities that provide managed quarantine packages for people arriving from red list countries and territories.

The rules on international travel have changed. People who are fully vaccinated do not need to take a COVID-19 test before they travel to England, or quarantine when they arrive.

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 fully vaccinated are not required to take a COVID-19 test before they travel to England. Before they travel, they are required to book a PCR test or a rapid lateral flow test to take when they are in England. They can take the test any time between arriving in England (day 0) and the end of day 2. They do not need to quarantine when they arrive in England, unless their test is positive. If their positive test is a lateral flow test, they must also take a PCR 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.
  • People who are not fully vaccinated (or exempt) need to quarantine for 10 full days after they arrive in England and take Day 2 and Day 8 tests (this could be longer if they have a positive test).
  • 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.

People can quarantine at home (or another private residence), or in a hotel or guest accommodation facility. You can find advice below on how to manage a booking if a guest tells you they are in quarantine, and information about the ‘Test to Release’ scheme, which is a test people can take to reduce the amount of time they need to stay in quarantine.

What you should do

Think about how you will manage bookings for guests who need to quarantine.

  • You should think about 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. Read the section on guests who need to self-isolate for advice on how you could manage this.
  • Think about whether there are other things you can do to reduce the risk to your staff and customers. For example, guests do not have to wear face coverings when they are in their room or private accommodation. However, if a guest has a positive test or symptoms or COVID-19, you may nevertheless want to ask them to wear a face covering when they are speaking to staff and other customers (if face-to-face contact is necessary).
  • Remember that guests don’t have to tell you if they have travelled from overseas, or if they need to quarantine. But if they do tell you this, you can help them to self-isolate (for example, by delivering meals to their room so they don’t need to leave to get food).
    • You do not need to ask a guest whether they are self-isolating, and you should not ask them about private health matters like their vaccination status.

If a guest tells you they are quarantining after international travel:

  • Tell them about your policy for COVID-19 quarantine, for example during the booking or check-in process. Let the guest know if they can self-isolate in your facility if they need to, and what they should do if they have symptoms or test positive during their stay.
    • If it is not safe for guests to quarantine in your facility (for example, because they would have to share a room with non-quarantining guests), make sure they know this in advance so they can plan to stay somewhere else if they need to.
  • Make sure guests know about any additional costs they might need to pay. For example, if they get symptoms during their quarantine (or have a positive test) and need to stay at your facility for longer than they planned to.
    • Unless there are different terms in the booking agreement, the guest would usually be expected to pay the costs of a longer stay (except in exceptional circumstances).

You should help guests to quarantine where you can, but should not try to enforce the law.

  • You do not need to check on the dates or details of their quarantine. They do not need to make a booking for a specific number of 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.
  • Do not ask guests for personal information about their health. You could ask the guest to let staff know if they have symptoms or have a positive test (and HNS Test and Trace will advise them to tell you), so you can reduce the risk to staff and other customers and discuss if they want to extend their stay. However, guests do not have to tell you any personal information about their health, including COVID-19 test results.
  • Make sure staff are aware that they should help guests to self-isolate where they can. However, obeying the law is the guest’s responsibility and you should not try to stop them from leaving your facility if they choose to. It is the guest’s responsibility to quarantine if they are required to, and enforcing the law is a matter for the police.

If the guest quarantines in your accommodation facility

People who are required to quarantine should not leave the place where they are staying until they are informed by NHS Test and Trace that their quarantine is over (usually 10 full days after they arrive, provided they don’t have any remaining symptoms).

You can advise the guest that they should not leave your facility, except in a few specific circumstances (such as for urgent medical help and legal obligations). However, remember that it is not your responsibility (or your staff’s responsibility) to enforce this. It is the guest’s responsibility to self-isolate if they are required to, and enforcing the law is a matter for the police.

What you should do:

  • Let the guest know how you will help them to quarantine, and what they should do (for example, if they should use a specific bathroom which other guests won’t be using). Tell them how they should talk to staff if they need anything or become ill (for example, calling reception so they don’t need to leave their room).
    • Staff should avoid face-to-face contact with a guest who is self-isolating, where possible. However, if it is necessary to speak to them in person, you may want to ask the guest(s) to wear a face covering.
  • Talk to them about any changes to their stay, such as how they can get meals and use laundry services.
    • The guest should stay in their room or accommodation area and should not use shared areas (such as TV rooms or lounges) or shared dining facilities.
    • If meals are delivered, make sure that staff have minimal contact with the guest.
    • Think about 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 is allowed to leave if they need to get food and medical supplies, or to get a COVID-19 test. However, you should talk to the guest whether there are other ways this can be arranged (e.g. your staff or delivery workers bringing them to the guest’s door) so the guest does not have to leave and expose other people to the virus.
  • You can also offer to help them with tests, if you choose to, but you must make sure their personal health information is kept private.
    • Guests are not required to tell you if they are taking a COVID-19 test. However, if they do tell you this, you can offer to help them. For example, you could ask them if they want your staff to deliver their test kit to their door or post their sample for them.
    • You are not obliged to help guests with their tests, so this is your choice, but it could help to reduce the risk to your staff and other customers by allowing the guest to stay in their room and avoid mixing with other people as much as possible.
    • You should always be mindful of people’s privacy and ensure that information about their health is not shared without their permission.
  • If the guest needs more advice, you could suggest they read the guidance on how to quarantine after international travel
  • If a guest has a positive test, NHS Test and Trace will get in touch with people the guest has been in contact with, and advise them if they need to self-isolate. This might include your workers. Read the section on people who need to self-isolate for more information on what to do if staff need to self-isolate.

If a guest with COVID-19 has symptoms and their illness is getting worse:

  • Help them to get medical attention. If it is not an emergency, the guest or your staff can contact NHS 111 for advice. Help them get to hospital if they need urgent care.
  • If it is a medical emergency, dial 999 to call an ambulance. Tell the call handler or operator that the guest is quarantining after international travel, and any symptoms or medical issues you are aware of.

Test to Release for international travellers

The ‘Test to Release for international travel’ scheme can be used to shorten the amount of time people need to stay in quarantine. Guests who are required to quarantine can pay for a private COVID-19 test, and if the test is negative they can 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.

  • Test to Release is voluntary, and people can choose whether to take part. Guests who choose to do this have to arrange and pay for a test with a registered provider. This is in addition to the tests that all travellers are required to book and pay for.

  • 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-tests can be sent to your facility for them to take. Guests can leave quarantine to pick up or post their test, or to travel to and from the testing site (avoiding public transport if possible).
    • Guests are not required to tell you if they are taking a COVID-19 test. However, if they do tell you this, you can offer to help them. For example, you could ask them if they want your staff to deliver their test kit to their door or post their sample for them.
    • You are not obliged to help guests with their tests, so this is your choice, but it could help to reduce the risk to your staff and other customers by allowing the guest to stay in their room and avoid mixing with other people as much as possible.
  • NHS Test and Trace will contact the guest to let them know when they can leave quarantine, or if they need to self-isolate for longer. NHS Test and Trace will advise guests who test positive to tell you this, so that you can reduce the risk to staff and other guests. However, guests are not required to tell you this and it is not your responsibility to check their test results. If they do tell you this, you must make sure their personal health information is kept private.
    • 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, if they are required to take a Day 8 test, they must still take this test regardless of whether they are still in quarantine.
    • If the test result is positive, NHS Test and Trace will tell the guest that they need to continue self-isolating, and for how long. If the guest tells you this, talk to them about whether they can stay for longer in your accommodation facility. Read the section on guests who need to self-isolate for more information.
    • If a guest has a positive test, NHS Test and Trace will get in touch with people the guest has been in contact with, and advise them if they need to self-isolate. This might include your workers. Read the section on guests who need to self-isolate for more information on what to do if staff need to self-isolate.

Managing your facility

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 should 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.
  • Keys and other shared objects - clean them when they are returned, before they are given to another guest.
  • 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.

Take extra care if you are hosting large events or conferences. 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.
  • 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.
  • Review the advice in the events and attractions guidance and consider whether there are further measures you can take to reduce risk.

If you are cleaning after a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, follow the guidance on cleaning and decontamination. You may need to provide cleaners and housekeeping staff with 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). Read about additional protective equipment and PPE.

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 should 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 booking terminals. Hand sanitiser stations can be helpful in busy areas like entrance foyers, doorways, lifts and bathroom facilities.
  • 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. Read the guidance on cleaning and decontamination 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.

Ventilation and workplace temperature

Providing adequate ventilation does not mean people have to work in an uncomfortably cold workplace.

There are steps you can take to make sure your workplace is adequately ventilated without being too cold, such as partially opening windows and doors and opening higher-level windows.

Read HSE advice on balancing ventilation with keeping warm.

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 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 should 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

COVID-19 is transmitted when an infected person breathes out droplets and aerosols. They can spread through the air and onto surfaces (and people’s hands and belongings) to infect others. Face coverings can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the spread of droplets and aerosols. 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 legally required in most indoor public places and indoor areas of public transport. In these places, staff and customers must wear a face covering in the required areas, unless they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse to remove their face covering (for example, to take medication). This includes public areas of hotels and other guest accommodation facilities (such as hostels, bed and breakfasts and caravan or camping facilities), and to some types of facilities (such as shops, entertainment venues and personal care services) you may have on your site.

You are also legally required to make sure people are aware that they must wear face coverings in these areas. It is illegal to prevent people (including workers) from wearing a face covering in the areas where it is required. It is also illegal to prevent people from wearing face coverings in hospitality venues (such as nightclubs, restaurants, and cafes) and some other venues where face coverings are not required (such as photography studios, and in gyms and other exercise facilities).

Read the face coverings guidance for more information.

Face covering requirements for hotels and guest accommodation facilities

Face coverings are required in public indoor areas of guest accommodation facilities, including:

  • hotels, hostels and motels
  • student accommodation (when used as a hotel or guest accommodation, such as during a conference)
  • bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) and guest houses
  • short-term serviced accommodation and similar lettings
  • boats with guest accommodation (e.g. for holiday hire)
  • holiday parks and campsites
  • facilities with other types of guest accommodation (such as yurts, chalets, and caravans).

This also applies only to the accommodation areas of an inn and pub with guest accommodation (such as corridors, receptions and lounge areas). It would not apply to areas of the inn or pub which provide hospitality (such as bar areas serving food and drinks). You can find more advice on hospitality areas in the guidance for restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs and takeaway services.

Customers and staff are required to wear face coverings in public areas of your facility.

  • This includes lobbies, reception areas and corridors, and communal areas, such as lounges and TV or recreation rooms. If these areas are being used mostly for exempt activities (such as eating and drinking, exercising or dancing) people can remove their face coverings while these activities are taking place, but should put them back on when most people are no longer doing this activity.
  • This also applies to other types of business you may have in your venue, including shops and supermarkets, personal care and beauty facilities on your site (such as hair and beauty salons, and massage centres), and visitor attractions and entertainment venues.
    • It also includes conference and exhibition facilities. Someone speaking at a conference in a concert hall as part of their work could remove the face covering while giving the speech, but must put it back on afterwards. See the guidance for events and attractions for more information.
    • Read the face coverings guidance for the full list of settings where face coverings are required.
  • Workers must wear face coverings when they are in any indoor area that is open to the public and where they are likely to come into contact with a member of the public. This applies to all public areas (including staff working in shops, personal care and beauty facilities, conference facilities, and recreation and leisure facilities).

Face coverings are not required in some areas and circumstances.

  • People are not required to wear face coverings in some settings, such as outdoor areas, gyms and sport facilities, and hospitality facilities or areas on your site (such as restaurants, canteens, cafes, bars and pubs).
    • This includes nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques, and any venue or area which operates in the same way as a nightclub (opens at night, has a space for dancing by members of the public and provides music for dancing).
    • This also includes any other venue or area that is being used wholly or mainly by people eating, drinking, exercising and/or dancing (such as a function room being used for a wedding reception), or a shared kitchen in a hostel which is being used for a communal meal.
    • Read the guidance for restaurants, bars, pubs, takeaway services and nightclubs.
  • Guests are not required to wear face coverings in their private accommodation. This includes bedrooms and bathroom facilities (such as a shared bedroom in a hostel). However you should make sure these areas are well-ventilated to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to guests sharing rooms. Read about how to improve ventilation.
  • Workers are not required to wear face coverings when they are working in areas which are not open to the public, (such as a back office) or where they are unlikely to come into contact with the public (just as maintenance staff in cordoned-off areas).

Different rules apply to people doing some types of work, such as performers and athletes.

  • In some circumstances, people cannot do their work effectively while wearing a face covering - for example athletes and performers, and emergency workers.
  • People doing these types of work are not required to wear a face covering while they are working, but can choose to wear one. This only applies when they are working; when they are not, they should follow the same rules as other workers or customers.
  • This includes:
    • Elite athletes and coaches, professional dancers and choreographers, and sport officials like referees, when they are participating in competitions, events and training activities. See the elite sport guidance for more information on elite sport.
    • Professional performers (and amateur performers who are part of professional performing arts activities), when they are performing or rehearsing (for example in a theatre or presenting or appearing on-screen in audiovisual productions, or in interactive experiences such as Santa’s grottos).
    • Emergency workers, when they are on duty.

What you should do

In indoor areas of your hotel or guest accommodation facility:

- Customers are required to wear face coverings (unless they are exempt) in public areas.
- Staff are required to wear face coverings (unless they are exempt) in areas open to the public and where they are likely to come into contact with members of the public.
- You must make sure people are aware that they are required to wear face coverings in these areas (unless they are exempt), for example by displaying signs or taking other measures. Download and print a poster to display.
- You must not prevent staff or customers from wearing face coverings.

This is the law, and you can be fined if you break it.

Check whether face coverings are required in areas of your facility.

  • Check the information above on face covering requirements for hotels and guest accommodation and read the face coverings guidance for more information.
  • Make sure you and your staff are familiar with the rules on face coverings and where they should be worn by staff and customers.
  • Remember that you must not ask guests or workers to remove a face covering in an area where it is legally required (and in some other types of facilities such as hospitality venues, photography studios, gyms and other exercise facilities). It is illegal for you to do this.
    • You can ask a customer to remove their face covering where it is necessary to verify the person’s identity (for example, to check if they are the ticket holder or are old enough to purchase alcohol).
  • Remember that people may also choose to wear a face covering even if it is not legally required. You should support your staff if they choose to wear face coverings, and ensure they are aware of the guidance on using face coverings safely.

In areas where face coverings are required:

  • Guests and other customers must wear a face covering in all indoor public areas such as lobbies, reception areas and corridors, and other facilities where face coverings are required. They do not need to wear face coverings when in their rooms, or in areas like restaurants where they are not required.
  • Staff and other workers must wear face coverings (unless they are exempt) when they are working in any indoor area that is open to the public and where they are likely to come into contact with a member of the public.
    • If staff are required to wear face coverings in the workplace, you could choose to provide these for staff (for example, so they match staff uniforms). However your staff can wear their own face coverings if they choose to.
    • A face visor or shield may be worn in addition to a face covering but not instead of one. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth, and do not filter airborne particles.
    • If any of your staff work in close contact with guests (such as medical personnel, massage therapists, security staff, hair and makeup technicians and beauticians), or work in contaminated areas (such as cleaners and housekeeping staff), you should also think about whether they need additional protection or personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. See the section on additional protection and PPE for more information.
  • People can take off their face covering when they have a good reason to remove it (a ‘reasonable excuse’), such as taking medication. For example, people can take off their face covering when they are eating or drinking in any area. They must put their face covering back on when this reason no longer applies (when they have stopped eating or drinking).
    • Face coverings should not be worn when people are exercising (including dancing) or taking part in strenuous activity, unless this is advised by a medical practitioner.

Remind your staff and customers to wear a face covering in indoor spaces where they are legally required.

  • You are legally required to make sure people are aware that they must wear face coverings in certain areas (unless they are exempt), by displaying signs in your facility which can be easily seen by people using the facility, or taking other steps to make sure all customers and staff are aware of the rules. Download and print a poster you can put up in your business.
    • If face coverings are required in some areas, putting notices in or near these areas will help to remind your customers of this.
    • If the area where face coverings are required on your site is a separate business, it is that business’s responsibility to put up signs or let their customers know about the requirement. You should discuss this with them as it may be helpful to put signs up in an area of your business so that your guests are aware of this before they enter the area where face coverings are required.
    • You could also let customers know in advance (for example, through your advertising and when booking) if there are areas where face coverings should be worn, or ask staff to remind customers.
  • You may also want to tell guests that they should remove face coverings if they are asked to by police, or staff who need to check their identity.
  • If a guest or customer refuses to wear a face covering where it is a legal requirement:
    • There is no requirement on staff to ensure compliance from customers. However, your workers can ask the customer (or their guardian, if it is a child aged 11 or over) to put their face covering on.
    • If a customer refuses to wear a face covering properly, you can ask them to leave your venue, though you are not required to take any action.
  • The police and police community support officers can enforce compliance if members of the public do not comply with this law without a reasonable excuse. Transport operators can deny access to their public transport services, or direct someone to wear a face covering or to leave a service, if not wearing one without a legitimate reason.
  • Local authority enforcement officers can also use their enforcement powers against businesses for failing to display appropriate signage or breaching the prohibition against preventing someone from wearing a face covering.

Remember that some people cannot wear face coverings or aren’t required to.

  • This includes:
    • children under 11
    • people who can’t wear face coverings because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability, or because it would cause them severe distress.
    • people who are assisting someone who needs to lip read (or needs clear sound and facial expressions to communicate)
  • The reasons for this may not be visible to others. Make sure that staff are mindful and respectful of people’s circumstances, if customers cannot wear a face covering.
  • Think about how you can help staff and customers to communicate effectively. For example, let staff know that they can remove face coverings if they need to communicate with a customer who lip-reads, or arrange for training on other ways to communicate. Transparent face coverings may also be helpful for people who communicate through lip-reading or facial expressions.

In areas of your facility where face coverings are not required:

Encourage people to wear face coverings (using signs and other communications), in indoor areas where people may come into contact with others they do not normally meet.

You can also ask staff or customers to wear face coverings in areas where it is not legally required, as your own facility’s policy:

  • If you want staff and customers to wear face coverings in places where it is not legally required, make sure you comply with equality law, and health and safety legislation. Think about the reasonable adjustments that would be needed for workers and customers with disabilities.
  • If you’re asking staff to wear them, you should also check that this complies with employment law and your staff’s contracts.
    • If staff tell you they are unable to wear a face covering, you should be respectful of their circumstances. You can make reasonable enquiries and request medical evidence from them (with their permission) if this is appropriate. However this is private health data which needs to be stored securely, and should only be requested where it is necessary, and only shared with the employee’s permission.

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

  • Workers may also choose to wear a face covering in the workplace even if you do not ask or encourage them to wear one.
  • You should support your staff if they choose to wear face coverings, and ensure they are aware of the guidance on using face coverings safely.

Additional protection and personal protective equipment (PPE)

In some types of work, the risk of COVID-19 transmission is higher. Wearing face coverings may not provide enough protection to keep people safe, for example if they have to be in close contact with members of the public for their work.

It may be necessary to provide some workers with different types of protective equipment, because the risk of COVID-19 spreading is higher when people are in close contact with others or have to be in a contaminated area.

This could include things like specific types of face covering (such as a Type II face mask), which is a medical face mask. However this is not the same as PPE, which is specific types of equipment needed to protect people who work in higher-risk settings. PPE is mainly used in healthcare and social care, and is not usually required for workers in most other types of business. It should only be used where the risk is high, and not as a general precaution.

Consider whether some workers need additional protection.

  • Use your risk assessment to think about whether some staff need to take additional precautions. This will not apply to most staff, but may be needed for some people if there is a higher risk of infection in the work they do.
  • Staff who work in close contact with their customers (such as security staff, beauty therapists, hairdressers and massage therapists) may need or want to wear equipment that provides more protection, because the risk of COVID-19 spreading is higher when people are in close contact with others.
    • Personal care practitioners (such as beauticians or hairdressers) who conduct treatments which require them to be in close proximity with a person’s face, mouth or nose, should wear a Type II face mask where possible. This is a medical face mask which provides more protection against large particles reaching the client or working surfaces.
    • Equipment such as a face visor or shield can provide additional protection, and may be worn in addition to a face covering. However, face visors and shields cannot be worn instead of a face covering. This is because face visors or shields do not adequately cover the nose and mouth, and do not filter airborne particles.
    • You can find more advice in the guidance for close contact services.

Take additional care when cleaning after a confirmed case of COVID-19.

  • If any of your staff work in potentially contaminated areas (such as cleaners and housekeeping staff) you should also think about whether they need personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
  • It is not necessary to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) or clothing for general cleaning. However, if staff are cleaning after someone who has (or may have) COVID-19 has been to your facility, they will need additional protection because the risk is higher in a contaminated area.
    • You should provide aprons and disposable gloves for people who are cleaning after a case (or possible case) of COVID-19.
  • This is particularly important if they have to clean a room after someone with COVID-19 has stayed there, as the level of virus particles in the room could be very high. You may need to provide cleaners with personal protective equipment (such as a protective face mask or visor) to protect their eyes, mouth and nose in these areas. Read the guidance on cleaning after a case of COVID-19 for more information.
  • If your risk assessment shows that PPE is required for some workers, you must provide this PPE free of charge to workers who need it. Make sure that the PPE you provide fits properly, or it will not be as effective in reducing risk to your workers.