Support and advice for businesses during the covid 19 pandemic – Revised May 2021

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. Business may only re open if they are allowed by law to do so. A full list is available on our safe food and healthy workplaces website page.

If a business is legally allowed to be open, they must be “Covid Secure”. There are guides for specific workplaces and you must read each that is relevant for your workplace as below.

To help businesses prepare for re-opening on 12 April 2021, we have sent letters to both licenced and non-licenced premises:

1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment

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. Clean more often

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. Wear a face covering

Ensure your employees and customers wear a face covering in any indoor space or where required to do so by law. This is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Remember a visor is not a substitute for a face covering. Full details on Gov UK face coverings, when to wear one and how to make your own.

4. Where possible maintain social distancing

Social distancing should be part of your risk assessment. Where possible you should maintain 2m between people, by:

  • putting up signs to remind workers and visitors to keep 2m distance
  • using floor tape or paint to mark areas or queues for customers
  • arranging one-way traffic through the workplace if possible
  • working side by side rather than face to face
  • limiting movement of people around the workplace

If 2m distancing is not possible additional control measures must be put in place, for example, erecting screens between people and cleaning regularly. For further details please go visit HSE social distancing guidance.

5. Increase ventilation

Open all windows and doors where possible to increase ventilation throughout.

Good natural ventilation is one of the most effective methods of reducing infection from Covid-19. It helps reduce the risk from aerosol transmission, when someone breathes in small particles (aerosols) in the air after a person with the virus has been in the same enclosed area. The risk is greater in areas that are poorly ventilated. Further details can be found at HSE ventilation and air conditioning during the Covid-19.

6. Test and trace

It is mandatory to display the Test & Trace QR code, preferably the new version released April 2021. As before customers must either scan the QR code with their smartphone and Test & Trace app or leave their details with the business or establishment.

Each member of the group must “check in” except those under 16. Details must also be kept of those staff at work, their working times and shifts.

This requirement includes businesses such as hotels, guest houses, pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, museums, cinemas, theme parks, hairdressers, barber shops, tailors, town halls, community centres, libraries, centres for events, children’s centres – these must by law record customer details and keep the records for 21 days.

Places of worship are asked to support Test & Trace by collecting this information but are not legally required to do so.

If a confirmed case of Covid 19 is associated with your business, you will be asked by Test & Trace for these records. Please note records are not required for takeaway services only but do apply to any customer who chooses to eat in.

There is an exemption for disabled persons from complying with this requirement.

Full details and guidance can be found on the Maintaining records for staff, customers and visitors to support the NHS Test and Trace webpage on gov.uk.

7. Turn people with Coronavirus Symptoms away

If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be refused entry and advised to return home to isolate. A free posters can be downloaded on our Covid-19 signs to advise customers and staff page.

Since the pandemic began Environmental Health Officers have been patrolling the Wealden District to check that businesses are complying with the Covid 19 regulations and giving advise 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 requiring improvements or prohibiting specified activities. Fixed penalty notices may be issued. A prosecution may follow. Any licenced premises operating in breach of Coronavirus legislation may be subject to a review.

Further details of the Environmental Health Enforcement Policy

Further information