Advice, support and information for businesses

DISCLAIMER: While every effort is made to keep this webpage up to date, Covid-19 restrictions can change quickly, do check gov.uk for the latest information.

Wealden District Council is offering advice to businesses about how to comply with the current Coronavirus restrictions and what to do before re-opening. Business may only re open if they are allowed by law to do so. A full list is available here.

If a business is legally allowed to be open, they must be “Covid Secure”. The government has published 12 guides which cover different types of work.

Working safely during COVID-19

There are guides for specific workplaces and you may need to use more than one. You must read each that is relevant for your workplace. Each guide has specific actions for businesses to take based on five steps. Further guidance will be published as more businesses are able to reopen.

The five steps to COVID-19 security

1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment

Before restarting work, you should ensure the safety of the workplace by:

  • carrying out a risk assessment in line with the HSE guidance
  • consulting with your workers or trade unions
  • sharing the results of the risk assessment with your workforce and on your website

2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures

You should increase the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning by:

  • encouraging people to follow the guidance on hand washing and hygiene
  • providing hand sanitiser around the workplace, in addition to washrooms
  • frequently cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched regularly
  • enhancing cleaning for busy areas
  • setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets
  • providing hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical dryers

3. Help people to work from home

You should take all reasonable steps to help people work from home by:

  • discussing home working arrangements
  • ensuring they have the right equipment, for example remote access to work systems
  • including them in all necessary communications
  • looking after their physical and mental wellbeing

4. Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible

Where possible, you should maintain 2m between people by:

  • putting up signs to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance
  • avoiding sharing workstations
  • using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep to a 2m distance
  • arranging one-way traffic through the workplace if possible
  • switching to seeing visitors by appointment only if possible

5. Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk

Where it is not possible for people to be 2m apart, you should do everything practical to manage the transmission risk by:

  • considering whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate
  • keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
  • using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
  • using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible
  • staggering arrival and departure times
  • reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using ‘fixed teams or partnering’

Customise and download these free posters, developed by our Environmental Health Team, to advise your staff and customers on controlling the spread of COVID- 19.

Enforcement

Since the pandemic began Environmental Health Officers have been patrolling Wealden district to check that businesses are complying with the restrictions and giving advice over the telephone. If you have questions or concerns about the operation of a business please email us at foodhs@rother.gov.uk

If a business is found to be trading in contravention of the regulations, they may be subject to an enforcement notice prohibiting specified activities. If this is not complied with fixed penalty notices may be issued. A prosecution may follow.

Further details of the Environmental Health Enforcement Policy

Further information

Better Business For All has prepared a helpful toolkit for restarting businesses, including a risk assessment guide and action plan: BBFA restarting your business Covid-19 toolkit East Sussex

Visit Britain has helpful advice for those in the tourism industry. Including guidance for accommodation businesses, updates and guidance for self-catering operators and free online training.

Business closures

These Regulations will be enforced by Wealden District Council Environmental Health Officers, East Sussex County Council Trading Standards Officers and Sussex Police.

Non-food retailers

For advice or complaints regarding non-food retailers email ESCC Trading Standards on trading.standards@eastsussex.gov.uk

For all other categories email Wealden DC on foodhs@rother.gov.uk

A guide to securing business premises during periods of closure

The following security considerations are designed to help protect businesses that are remote or may be deemed to contain items of high value or demand, or have plant, tools or vehicles on site, which could make them a target for thieves. Security must be pre-planned and site specific. Whether you have an industrial unit on a business park or a corner shop in a village, these steps will help you to review your business security.

Staff and Site Specifics

If a business is closed, people may assume that only a few – if any – staff will be on site. Businesses with monitored alarms or a security presence are likely to be more secure. Ensure a ‘locking down’ procedure is used with a clear line of responsibility.

Lone working

Make sure processes for any staff on site, either working or checking security, meet and adhere to a current lone working policy. Lone worker devices can be used if they meet BS 8484:2016, and are IP67 rated.

Boundaries

Check boundary treatments, repair any damage, and (if possible and safe to do so) check the external side of the boundary to ensure that no fixings are missing or worn.

Make sure there are no recessed or secluded areas that could be used for gaining access, hiding tools in, or hiding stolen items for later collection. Leaving external lighting on will help deter criminals, especially if CCTV is clearly signed and in use.

Ensure there are no vehicles, bins or equipment left against the perimeter treatment that could be used for climbing. Legal, temporary measures to secure your boundary treatment should be considered. Fill footholds that allow climbing. Where possible, make sure vehicles cannot be parked too close to the perimeter to enable climbing. Spiked collars make climbing a lamp columns or down pipes more difficult, and angled extensions, fans, anti-clime paint and fence toppers (at 2m) can help deflect climbers.

Tools, plant and machinery

Remove all tools including ladders which could be stolen or used to break into your business. If you cannot remove them, hide and secure them with ground anchors, suitable chains and padlocks.

If possible, security mark items, use DNA systems, or paint them a bright colour, with your corporate name or logo. Lock valuable materials such as cable, metals, boilers and white goods in secure stores, ideally with lighting, an alarm and CCTV. Accurate records of equipment owned or hired with serial/registration numbers can help identify stolen plant and machinery.

Physical structure

Ensure all doors, door frames, locks and windows are in good repair. Make good any defects. If replacing glass, use laminated whenever possible. Security grilles should have no gaps around them and no handles or fixings left exposed that could be used to gain access. Grilles and shutters must be in good working order with no gaps beneath them. Appropriate glazing, for example laminated, should meet the current Secured by Design commercial guidance.

If your business is in a listed building, please note, these require specialist treatments and certain consents prior to work starting so check with the local authority before planning work.

Signage

Ensure your signage has contact details where any concerns can be reported to. Do not give an opening date unless you have adequate security and capable on-site security staff.

Regular checks and maintenance

If you can safely visit to check the business (within relevant health restrictions and guidelines), ensure that any damage is repaired immediately to limit access opportunities and show the business is being monitored – see lone working above.

Gates

If gates have gaps underneath that can be crawled under, add suitable non-flammable items to fill the gap. Gates should be fixed so they cannot not be lifted off their hinges. If any fixings must be external, the bolt/screw heads should be ‘burred’ off. Any holes for access control need a security cowling or to be filled to avoid creating a foothold. Padlocks should be in good working order, of disc design, closed shackle or shrouded. Long shackle padlocks must be avoided.

Storage

Criminals might assume you are storing sought-after goods, so ensure any storage areas are secured fully. Check rear access routes, door and window security (ground level and reachable) and roofs.

Alarms

Ensure alarms work and are ideally monitored, with a suitable policy for authorised people close by to check immediately if they are triggered. If installing a new system, consider check if the supply and fitting companies meet Secured by Design standards.

Vehicles

These should be sited in the centre of a compound to allow better surveillance and ensure they are less likely to be used for climbing.
Tracking systems notify staff if the machinery is being interfered with or moved, so the security staff can alert the police. They also make plant less attractive to thieves.

Vans should be parked backing onto each other to help protect rear door access. Many tested and approved security products can delay and deflect vehicle crime – see SBD website for details. Remove keys and use locking mechanisms and anti-theft devices when vehicles, plant and machinery are not in use. Plant and machinery should be stored in a secure compound, either chained to immovable objects, ground anchors or each other when not in use. Break throttle locks are also recommended.

Mail delivery

Mail should be redirected to avoid a build-up that could become a fire hazard or show how often the business is visited and checked. For details of an approved, compliant and TS009 certified letterbox, visit the Secured by Design website. Home working: If working from home, please check your home security, including access, and make sure that doors and windows lock properly. Avoid leaving computers or equipment in plain sight through a window or in a vehicle.

Further information

Secured by Design is a police initiative which provides guidance on designing out crime and crime prevention.

Sold Secure is owned and run by the Master Locksmiths Association, a not-for-profit trade association, which offers a selection of approved products.

For more crime prevention advice visit Sussex Police.