COVID-19: working safely guidance

Re-opening and working safely

Welcome to the South Cambridgeshire District Council re-opening and working safely page. This page is here for businesses to keep up to date with the latest working safely advice and guidance. Here you will find general information for all businesses, sector specific government guidance and sector specific re-opening checklists. You will also be able to see links to other useful information along with information regarding financial help and other guidance you might want to read up on.

Business sector guidelines

Whilst South Cambridgeshire District Council aims to keep these business pages updated, the most current guidance for each business sector regarding working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) can always be found on the Government website.

Please see the below links for specific sector working safely guidance and FAQ’s:

Construction and other outdoor work

Events and attractions

Hotels and guest accommodation

Offices, factories and labs

Restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs and takeaway services

Shops, branches and close contact services

The Government website above also has guidance for other sectors such as grassroots sport participants, providers and facility operators; schools, further education and childcare providers; wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations; and vehicles.

The government has announced that England will move to Plan B in response to the risks of the Omicron variant.

  • From 10 December 2021, face coverings will be required by law in most indoor settings (see the sections below, called COVID-19 Restrictions: December 2021, for further details). There will be exemptions in venues where it is not practical to wear one, such as when you are eating, drinking or exercising. For that reason, face masks will not be required in hospitality settings (but are required in takeaways with no seating). There are already several other exemptions for wearing face coverings e.g. age/medical, etc.
  • From 13 December 2021 office workers who can work from home should do so.

  • From 15 December 2021, certain venues and events will be required by law to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption. The certain venues are: nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather – including unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees

Face coverings

Since 30 November 2021, the public and staff in public facing areas are required to wear face coverings in workplace settings such as shops, premises providing personal care and beauty treatments, public transport, etc.

Following the introduction of the Government’s Plan B, from 10 December 2021, further settings are now included in the requirement to wear face coverings including community centres, visitor attractions and entertainment venues, etc.

Settings in which face coverings are required must display signage or take other measures to ensure customers are aware of the requirement to wear a face covering on their premises where there is no applicable exemption or reasonable excuse.

In settings where face coverings are required in England, there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering e.g. people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, etc.

While not mandatory, you should continue to wear a face covering in indoor places, which are crowded and enclosed and where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

For further information about face coverings, please see the Government guidance Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own

NHS Covid Pass

From 15 December 2021, checking the COVID-19 status of attendees will be mandatory in certain settings. From this date, those aged 18 or over, who are to enter certain venues and events in England must have proof that they are fully vaccinated; or have taken a PCR or lateral flow test within the past 48 hours; or are exempt, and this is to be checked by the venue or event.

Venues and events where the NHS COVID Pass, or alternative proofs of COVID-19 status, must be used as a condition of entry are:

  • nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques
  • other late night dance venues, where all of the following apply:
    • the venue is open between 1am and 5am
    • it serves alcohol after 1am
    • it has a dancefloor (or space for dancing)
    • it provides music, whether live or recorded, for dancing
  • indoor events with 500 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as music venues with standing audiences or large receptions
  • outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees, where those attendees are likely to stand or move around for all or part of the event, such as outdoor festivals
  • events with 10,000 or more attendees, whether indoor or outdoor, such as large sports and music events

Exemptions to these rules apply.

For details regarding the NHS COVID Pass please see the Government guidance Carrying out mandatory COVID-19 status checks at your venue or event.

As an employer, you must protect people from harm. This includes doing a risk assessment to decide what reasonable steps you need to take to protect your workers and others from coronavirus (COVID-19).

 

As part of your risk assessment, you must:

  • identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • think about who could be at risk – this could include workers, visitors, contractors and delivery drivers
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
  • identify the controls needed to reduce the risk

 

If you have fewer than five employees you don't have to write anything down, but it might help if you do.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have produced guidance regarding risk assessments to assist businesses with this requirement.

Following the Government’s Working Safely During Coronavirus guidance may help to identify suitable controls to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The following actions can help you to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during COVID-19.

Complete a health and safety risk assessment that includes the risk from COVID-19

Complete a risk assessment, considering the measure set out in the Government’s Working Safely During Coronavirus guidance.

Provide adequate ventilation

You should make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air to indoor spaces where there are people present. This can be natural ventilation through opening windows, doors and vents, mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, or a combination of both. In particular, you should identify any poorly ventilated spaces in your premises that are usually occupied and take steps to improve fresh air flow in these areas. In some places, a CO2 monitor can help identify if the space is poorly ventilated.

The Health and Safety Executive has useful information regarding ventilation. The British Occupational Hygiene Society have produced a simple ventilation self-help guide for workplaces which can give a basic indication as to the suitability of the ventilation at the setting.

Remind staff and customers to wear a face covering in indoor spaces, where required by law

Advice regarding face coverings can be found in the Government guidance Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own.

Clean more often

It’s especially important to clean surfaces that people touch a lot. You should ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and to clean their hands frequently.

The Health and Safety Executive have produced guidance for businesses regarding cleaning, hygiene and handwashing to reduce COVID-19 transmission.

Turn away people with COVID-19 symptoms

Staff members or customers should self-isolate immediately if they show any symptoms of COVID-19 and book a PCR test as soon as possible, even if they are fully vaccinated. If they receive a positive COVID-19 result, they must complete their full self-isolation period.

Encourage staff and customers to undertake regular COVID-19 tests

Encourage those who attend the workplace to undertake regular lateral flow tests. Around 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 are asymptomatic (have no symptoms). Lateral flow tests can help to identify people who may have COVID-19 without showing signs, which can prevent transmission within a workplace.

Lateral flow tests can be ordered, for free, from the Government’s Order coronavirus (COV-19) rapid lateral flow tests website.

Enable people to check in at your venue

You can enable customers to check in to your venue by displaying an NHS QR code poster. This can support the NHS Test & Trace service to contact those who may have been exposed to COVID-19. If you choose to display a QR code, you should also have a system in place to record contact details for people who want to check in but do not have the app.

Communicate and train

Keep all your workers, contractors and visitors up-to-date on how you’re using and updating safety measures.

There are different tests available to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19). The test you need depends on why you're getting tested.

The 2 main tests are:

PCR test – mainly for people with symptoms, they're sent to a lab to be checked
• rapid lateral flow tests (LFT) – only for people who do not have symptoms, they give a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy test

Both tests are free.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19

Get a PCR test as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms, even if mild:
• a high temperature
• a new, continuous cough
• a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
Stay at home until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test. Check if people you live with need to self-isolate.

Rapid tests if you do not have symptoms

About 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others.

Rapid LFT tests help to check if someone has COVID-19. If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading.

LFT tests give a quick result and do not need to be sent to a lab.

Even if you’re vaccinated, you could still catch the virus or pass it on. Doing rapid tests helps to protect yourself and others.

Positive LFT test result changes from 11 January 2022

From 11 January, people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms and receive a positive lateral flow test result will no longer be required to take a confirmatory PCR test. Please see the NHS website Get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) for details and exceptions to when a confirmatory PCR may be required.

Anyone who has one of the core symptoms of COVID-19 – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – should self-isolate and take a PCR test. They must continue to self-isolate if they get a positive test result, even if they have had a recent negative lateral flow test – these rules have not changed.

 

Self-isolation is when you do not leave your home because you have or might have coronavirus (COVID-19). This helps stop the virus spreading to other people.

Any person who tests positive for COVID-19 is legally required to self-isolate regardless of vaccination status.

If you have any of the three main symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate straight away and get a PCR test. The three symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild are:
• a high temperature
• a new, continuous cough
• a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

You should also self-isolate straight away if:
• you've tested positive for COVID-19 – this means you have the virus
• someone you live with has symptoms or tested positive (unless you are not required to self-isolate – check below if this applies to you)
• you've been told to self-isolate following contact with someone who tested positive – find out what to do if you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace or the NHS COVID-19 app

For those people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms and are undertaking rapid LFT tests, if you receive a positive rapid LFT test result, most people will not need to take a PCR test to confirm the result. You must self-isolate immediately if you get a positive rapid lateral flow test result.

Close contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 positive case

From the 16 August 2021, those who have been double vaccinated at least two weeks prior to being identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, and those who are under 18 years and 6 months old, will no longer be required by law to self-isolate.

However, it is strongly advised to:
• do daily rapid lateral flow tests (1 a day for 7 days), if you’re fully vaccinated, to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 - find out more about daily testing on GOV.UK.
• follow advice on how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.
• consider limiting contact with people who are at higher risk from COVID-19.

Those who are identified as a close contact, and who not fully vaccinated, will be required to self-isolate if older than 18 years and 6 months.

How long to self-isolate

You usually have to self-isolate for 10 full days if you've tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

If you've been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you may have to self-isolate for 10 full days.

You might need to self-isolate for longer if you get symptoms while self-isolating or your symptoms do not go away.

During January 2022, the Government announced that anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 can leave self-isolation earlier than 10 days after the date of their initial positive test if they receive two negative LFD results, 24 hours apart after a specific number of days of self-isolation. Guidance regarding self-isolation durations and examples can be found on the Government and NHS websites.

For further information regarding the self-isolation, please see Government guidance.

Financial support for those required to self-isolate

Financial support to self-isolate (up to £500) may be available to eligible individuals and may be of interest to your employees. For further information, see our self-isolation payment scheme page.

 

In relation to outbreaks in workplaces, an outbreak is classed as two or more confirmed cases, or if several staff are off sick with symptoms that could be COVID-19. If you do suspect an outbreak you must ensure all confirmed cases are isolating, along with any close contacts, unless exemption apply.

Information regarding self-isolation can be found here.

Alongside these steps you should also contact our Environmental Health team as soon as possible. They can be contacted via email at commercial.envhealth@scambs.gov.uk or call them using 01954 713 000. When contacting the team please make sure you have the following information ready:

  • How many confirmed cases, suspected cases and workplace close contacts
  • Dates when symptoms started and when cases tested
  • Details of action taken so far to limit transmission.

 

What if a customer informs you that they have tested positive after visiting your business/premises?

Encourage that person to engage with the NHS Test and Trace service.

Review the information and identify staff that may be affected. Recommend that staff affected undertake regular lateral flow tests. Also review the control measures you have in place to reduce COVID-19 transmission to identify whether changes are required.

Undertake enhanced cleaning of the areas affected. The UK Health Security Agency have produced guidance for COVID-19:cleaning in non-healthcare settings outside the home.

 

Encourage staff and customers to lateral flow test

It's never been more important to encourage regular lateral flow testing. These tests can help to identify whether a person has COVID-19 before they attend your premises.

Lateral flow tests can be ordered, for free, from the Government’s Order coronavirus (COV-19) rapid lateral flow tests website.

The Government has accelerated the vaccination programme as the best defence against Omicron and the booster dose will be offered to all adults over the age of 18. The interval time between a persons second dose and booster dose has been reduced from six month to three months.

Please continue to strongly encourage and support your staff to be vaccinated for both COVID-19 and flu.

The UK Health Security Agency have a vaccination employer toolkit which contains Q&A documents, messaging, an employer briefing sheet and many other useful tools to promote vaccinations.

For information regarding local Cambridgeshire and Peterborough vaccination sites, please see the NHS Vaccinators website.

 

If your building has been closed or had reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease. 

Detailed guidance on Legionella risks during the coronavirus pandemic is available on the HSE website.

To identify whether there is any financial support available for your business, please see our financial support page.

 

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