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COVID-19 checklist for businesses

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 require the closure of particular businesses. Guidance on the easing of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions will take place on 4 July 2020. For more information visit GOV.UK – Opening certain businesses and venues in England from 4 July 2020.

From 4 July 2020 all businesses except for those below are permitted to open providing they follow Government guidelines to keep staff and customers as safe as possible.

These businesses must remain closed:

  • Nightclubs.
  • Casinos.
  • Bowling alleys and indoor skating rinks.
  • Indoor play areas including soft play.
  • Spas.
  • Nail bars, beauty salons and tanning salons.
  • Massage, tattoo and piercing parlours.
  • Indoor fitness and dance studios, and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities.
  • Swimming pools including water parks.
  • Exhibition or conference centres must remain closed for events such as exhibitions or conferences, other than for those who work for the business or organisation who run the venue.

It is important that we all follow the Government guidelines to limit the spread of coronavirus. If workplaces are open, precautions need to be taken to reduce risks to both workers and the public. For more information visit GOV.UK – Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19).

This checklist will help you to put in place measures in your workplace to keep employees and customers safe.

Download a printable version of the COVID-19 checklist for businesses.

Businesses should not open, even if allowed, unless it is safe to do so. 

Employee safety

  • Businesses and workplaces should encourage their employees to work at home. If staff are required to be at work, they must adhere to 2m social distancing guidance.
  • Assess the steps needed to reduce the risk of transmission between staff and any customers who may be in the premises. Then put these steps in place.
  • Remind colleagues daily to only come into work if they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating.
  • Identify employees who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19). These individuals need to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures. This group includes those who are:
    • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions).
    • under 70 with an underlying health condition (i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds).
  • Specific individuals who are at severe risk must be ‘shielded’ and will have received a medical letter informing them to isolate themselves. It is important that these employees stay at home.
  • Try to maintain dedicated work teams (cohorting) and keep the number of members as small as possible.
  • Provide handwashing stations with soap, water and a hygienic means to dry hands, and encourage staff to use them.
    • All staff should wash their hands regularly using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, particularly after blowing their nose, sneezing or coughing, before and after using shared equipment and before eating.
    • Where facilities to wash hands are not available, staff should use hand sanitiser.
    • Workers should cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue in a bin and immediately wash their hands.
    • Anyone with a persistent cough should not be at work.
  • Communicate with staff on a regular basis to remind them to follow social distancing advice and wash their hands regularly.
  • Where possible use digital and remote transfers of material rather than paper format, such as using emails and online forms and banking.
  • Allocate workspaces to employees that are at least 2m apart. You can mark these out with tape. You could rearrange equipment and fittings to accommodate social distancing.
  • Where it is not possible to remain 2m apart, staff should work side by side or facing away from each other, rather than face to face.
  • Increase the ventilation within the premises by opening doors and windows.
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection. Pay attention to shared equipment and hand contact surfaces including work surfaces, tables, chairs, switches, door handles, push plates on doors, toilets, hand towel dispensers, taps etc. Check that you are using sanitisers that comply with BS EN 1276 and that staff are adhering to the correct contact time and dilution rates.
  • Display a COVID-19 Risk Assessment prominently – you can download a risk assessment template from the Health and Safety Executive. Complete the measures you have taken to manage risk.
  • Assess pinch points in and outside of your work location for social distancing.
  • Display World Health Organization hygiene signs in key locations like kitchens and toilets.

Public safety

  • Introduce telephone, email and internet ordering to limit public access to the premises.
  • Provide a delivery service to the public to limit access to the premises.
  • If you offer a click-and-collect service, provide a designated collection time.
  • Display a sign/poster at the entrance to remind customers not to enter the premises if they have symptoms.
  • Provide sanitiser with an alcohol content of at least 60% for customers/staff to clean the basket/trolley handle and to sanitise hands.
  • Where the public access the premises introduce control measures to implement the 2m social distancing:
    • Limit the number of people in the shop and control entry so that the premises do not become overcrowded.
    • Maintain queue control outside of shops and other essential premises so those waiting in the queue observe the 2m distancing rule. Do not allow customers to congregate or loiter.
    • Use signage and floor markings to direct people around the premises and maintain a 2m distance.
    • Create a one-way system, by closing off aisles and using signage to direct customers to move in the same continuous direction.
    • Close the premises if it becomes too busy.
    • Staff may need to act as stewards to advise customers on social distancing.
  • Customers should not be directly in front of the till operator. Options to control risk include:
    • Providing a ‘sneeze screen’ barrier to protect both customers and the till operative.
    • Creating an exclusion zone around the till area with a customer notice saying ‘Please stand behind the line while being served’.
  • Encourage contactless payments. Place a sign at the till saying ‘Please use contactless payment if you are able to do so. Contactless payment is available for purchases up to £45’.
  • Frequently clean and disinfect shared customer touch points including hand-held checkout devices, keypads at checkout, fridge/freezer handles, escalator and staircase handrails, on site ATMs, trolleys, coffee machines, betting terminals etc.
  • Update your communications message on COVID-19 measures to all site visitors including the public who visit to say what steps have been taken. Publish this on your website and social media.
  • Place the Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020 poster in your windows to demonstrate awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures.
  • Store returned items for 72 hours before putting them back out on the shop floor.
  • Place protective coverings on large items touched by the public such as beds or sofas.

Reopening your business

  • If your business has been closed for any length of time, consider the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health’s guide on Legionnaires’ disease: lockdown risks and reopening safely.
  • Review customer care standards. Look out for outstanding orders, review customer feedback and make sure you keep your customers informed of key updates in your delivery times, your customer returns protocol or any of your working practices.

Further information

If you would like more advice on social distancing measures needed to control the risk presented by coronavirus or which businesses are permitted to trade, contact us or your local Environmental Health Service. 

For more help with complying with trading standards regulations during the COVID-19 outbreak, read our COVID-19 advice guides. We are also waiving fees for bespoke regulatory advice for all our Devon/Somerset business customers until the end of July.

The NHS has guidance on how to wash your hands.

The Government website has information on:

The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists has coronavirus information for pregnant women and their families.

For business resilience support and guidance about coronavirus, visit Heart of the South West Growth Hub COVID-19 support for business.