Coronavirus: Advice for businesses - Latest Position

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local COVID-19 Alert Level) (High) (England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020 No.1104 came into force on the 14 October 2020.

The Regulations impose restrictions on gatherings and businesses in the areas specified in Schedule 2 including Newcastle upon Tyne, where the local Covid 19 alert level is assessed as being high, and on gatherings elsewhere by persons living in the specified areas. The restrictions on businesses in the specified areas consist of limitations on the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises, the imposition of restricted hours for certain businesses in the specified areas.

To see a poster outlining the latest changes for a Tier 2 lockdown go to Poster (pdf 256 kb).

To access information on the business response to Covid 19 go to FAQ's. (pdf 26 kb) 

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (North of England, North East and North West of England and Obligations of Undertakings (England) etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No.1057) came into force on the 30 September 2020.

This instrument amends the NENW Regulations by placing further restrictions on gatherings indoors in seven local authorities in the north east that, following the amendments made by this instrument, comprise the “protected area” in those Regulations. Regulation 3 replaces the restriction on participating in gatherings in private dwellings in these regulations with a broader restriction on participating in gatherings in private dwellings and in other indoor settings.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Obligations of Hospitality Undertakings) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No 1008)

These Regulations require certain undertakings in the hospitality industry, to take measures to ensure that their customers follow the rules on social distancing.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Collection of Contact Details etc and Related Requirements) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No.1005)

These regulations impose a number of obligations on relevant persons, in order to protect against the risks arising from coronavirus. The main obligations are as follows.

Regulation 5 provides who the regulations apply to, in particular to a relevant person (as defined in regulation 4) who occupies relevant premises (also as defined in regulation 4). The regulation makes clear that where relevant premises are hired or used by more than one relevant person on a temporary basis, any obligations under the regulations will apply to that person for the time during which they hire or use the premises.

Regulation 6 provides that relevant persons must display and make available a QR code at relevant premises they occupy or operate to enable certain individuals who seek to enter the premises (in the circumstances in regulation 9) to scan that QR code.

Regulation 7 provides the requirement to request certain details (as set out in regulation 10), where an individual seeks to enter relevant premises (in a case set out in regulation 9), unless that individual is under 16 or has a mental or physical disability that means they are unable to provide the details.

Important NHS Advice

The NHS have advised that on the 24 September 2020 a new app for mass use will be released. 

The app will be a critical enhancement of NHS Test and Trace in England, and the Test, Trace and Protect service in Wales. It will allow the NHS to know quicker if we’re at risk of the virus, so we can take action, fast, to protect our communities and the ones we love. The app will provide users with local risk information, alert them if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and very importantly has a built-in QR scanner to check-in at venues.

So we need businesses and venues across England and Wales who will require QR code posters to use the time between now and that launch date to get prepared. To see the Guidance (pdf 1.5 Mb) and Poster Guidance (pdf 1.5 Mb).

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No.1029)

These Regulations impose restricted opening hours and other restrictions on certain businesses in England (apart from Bolton) selling goods or providing services. They also make changes to the restrictions on gatherings in England, in relation to gatherings for support groups, weddings and other significant events, and sports gatherings.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 1028)

These Regulations amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 such that employees and other persons providing services in public houses will be required to wear face coverings when they are in close proximity to members of the public unless they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place and on Public Transport) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 1026) 

These Regulations amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 to include theatres, restaurants, bars and public houses in the scope of the “relevant places” where members of the public are required to wear face coverings, except for in some limited cases such as when it is reasonably necessary for a person to remove their face covering to eat or drink.

They also require employees and other persons providing services in certain “relevant places”, including in shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and public houses to wear face coverings when they are in close proximity to members of the public unless they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.

Important Letter from Public Health & Regulatory Services

To access a very important letter about Covid 19 in Newcastle from the Director of Public Health and the Director of Operations and Regulatory Services go to Letter (word 55 kb) 

Previous Legislation

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 684) required 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 & 15 August 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) came 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, Restrictions) (No.2) (England) (Amendment) (No.3) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No.863) came into force on the 15 August 2020. The following businesses are permitted to be open: casinos, indoor skating rinks, indoor play areas, bowling alleys and conference centres and exhibition halls.

Nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques, sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars must remain closed. 

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. 

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (England) (Amendment) (No.4) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 986). The Regulations now require that people may not participate in social gatherings, in any place, in groups of more than 6, unless they are members of the same household, two linked households, or exceptions apply.

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

Further information about working safely during the Coronavirus pandemic can be found on our working safely page.

Equipment inspection and safety

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.

Fire safety

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.

Food safety

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.

Gas safety

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.

Licensable Activity

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.

Application to Vary a Premises Licence

Application for a Minor Variation

Public Access to Newcastle City Council Licensing Portal

Safe Shopping

The chartered institute of Environmental Health has advice on helping the public to stay safe when shopping.

You can download it from their website.

Water system safety

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.

Recommended guidelines for public toilets and additional hygiene measures

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. 

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.

 

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