Coronavirus: Advice for businesses - Reopening
Legislation Very Important
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 684) require the closure of certain businesses as listed, to protect against the risks to public health from coronavirus. To see the related Government advice go to Gov.UK.
Re-Opening Certain Businesses and Venues on the 4, 10, 11, 13 & 25 July 2020
Pubs, Restaurants, Hairdressers, Places of Worship, Cinemas, Community Centres, Museums and outdoor amusements can now be open, so long as they take measures to prevent the spread of infection.
On the 10 July the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 719) amended the principal Regulations. These Regulations now permit the following to open: outdoor swimming pools and water parks (from 11th July 2020); nail bars and salons, tanning booths and salons, spas and beauty salons, massage parlours, tattoo parlours, and body and skin piercing services (from 13th July 2020). To see the related Government Guidance go to Gov.uk(External link)
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.3) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No.750) come into force on 18 July and enable local authorities to give Directions relating to individual premises, Directions relating to events and Directions relating to public outdoor places
The powers to make a direction may only be exercised where conditions specified in the Regulations are met.
These conditions are that that giving such a direction responds to a serious and imminent threat to public health, that the direction is necessary for the purpose of preventing, protecting against, controlling or providing a public health response to the incidence or spread of infection by coronavirus in the local authority’s area, and that the prohibitions, requirements or restrictions imposed by the direction are a proportionate means of achieving that purpose.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (England) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No.788) come into force on the 25 July 2020. The following businesses are permitted to be open: indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor gyms, indoor sports courts and facilities, and indoor swimming pools, including indoor facilities at water parks.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 791). The Regulations require members of the public to wear face coverings whilst inside a relevant place specified in the Regulations, except in certain limited cases, from Friday 24 July.
As businesses look to reopen, welcome back more staff, or change how they operate there are a number of areas you may need to consider ensuring both staff and customers remain safe.
On this page
- Equipment inspection
- Fire safety
- Food safety
- Gas safety
- Staying safe while shopping
- Water system safety
- Public toilet safety and hygiene
Further information about working safely during the Coronavirus pandemic can be found on our working safely page.
Despite the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic it is important that you continue to manage the significant potential hazard that equipment failure can pose to staff and the public.
Thorough examinations, written schemes and statutory inspections should still be undertaken if due, while adhering to social distancing measures.
Health and Safety Executive guidance about this, including under what circumstances some examinations and inspections may be postponed, can be found on the HSE website.
Even if inspections are delayed, there remains a responsibility to ensure equipment is safe to use and if it is not, then it must be taken out of use.
All businesses should review their fire risk assessment and emergency plan considering the impact of Covid-19 on their staffing levels, operating times, business processes and evacuation arrangements.
New staff should receive robust fire safety training and all workers should be extra vigilant to potential hazards and risks, particularly if staffing is reduced, or if they are working alone or in an isolated environment.
Advice on keeping your business safe from fire can be found on the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service website.
Guidance for food businesses operating during the coronavirus pandemic can be found on the Government website.
A checklist to support food businesses to reopen safely after a period of inaction is available to download here.
Further detailed advice can also be found on the Food Standards Agency website.
If your business has gas appliances, flues, pipework or safety devices then you must make sure they are maintained and in a safe condition.
If your annual gas safety inspection is due, you must ensure this is undertaken while adhering to social distancing measures.
For further advice see the Gas Safe Register website.
We have received enquiries from licensed premises wishing to diversify in light of Coronavirus concerns and the government advice regarding reduced social contact.
The vast majority of the queries relate to operators wishing to delivery food with an accompaniment of alcohol or to permit off sales of alcohol.
Before applying for a variation we recommend businesses first examine their existing premises licence to clarify what activities are permitted and whether it may already allow them to change their offer.
If however it does not then an application will need to be submitted to us as the licensing authority, with each case dealt with on its individual circumstances.
Further information can be found in the licensing section of our website, or via the links below.
The chartered institute of Environmental Health has advice on helping the public to stay safe when shopping.
You can download it from their website.
When buildings reopen after lockdown, it is essential that water systems are not put back into use without considering the risk of waterborne pathogens that can cause serious illnesses.
If your water systems were not drained, cleaned and disinfected before the premises were left empty, then they are deemed high risk for Legionella – which causes Legionnaires’ disease - and other bacteria.
For more information about the Legionella risks during the coronavirus outbreak and what you should do to mitigate them visit the HSE website’s dedicated page.
The following guidelines have been developed by Newcastle City Council to provide some general principles to help you reopen public and customer toilets safely and hygienically. It is important that shops and other venues provide toilets and hand washing facilities for everyone where possible.
These guidelines are based on various government guidance:
The above guidance may be subject to change, so it is important that you keep regularly updated on this.
Visual communication is a good way to remind people of the importance of hand washing and general hygiene measures.
- Here are a couple of posters that should be displayed in prominent places:
To build awareness of hand gel use and to remind people to use hand gel when soap and water isn’t available.
Use these above wall mounted hand gel dispensers.
- You could also use these posters to emphasise more general messages about coronavirus (Covid-19):
Recommended measures to be put in place:
- Provide hand gel in multiple locations in addition to washrooms, such as entrance and exits. Consider placing on wall or table outside toilet areas if people have had to come through doors.
- Provide additional waste facilities and ensure that they are disposed of more frequently.
- Provide disposable paper towels in hand washing facilities where possible. Electric hand driers are not recommended.
- Provide liquid soap where possible.
- Ensure that social distancing is achieved where possible. Provide markings or barriers to make this clear. Encourage queues with 2-metres between people. Where this is not possible, consider limiting the number of people entering the area.
- Provide enhanced cleaning for busy areas, such as doorways and areas that get frequently touched.
- Provide baby feeding facilities where possible; toilets are not suitable. Breastfeeding women will need a chair and access to hand washing facilities.
Close the washrooms during cleaning to ensure that cleaning staff can work safely.
- Provide cleaning staff with either disposable aprons and gloves, or reusable uniforms.
- Ensure that they can safely dispose of items or place their reusable uniforms in a bag to be cleaned.
- Ensure that cleaning staff understand the need to wash their hands and lower arms after removing their uniforms.
Cleaning staff should not need additional PPE such as face masks, as they should not be coming into contact with people during their duties.
Further information on cleaning in non-healthcare premises can be found here.
Download a checklist of the above recommendations here to show what action you have taken.