This information was last checked on 22 May 2020.
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- The UK Government's COVID-19 recovery strategy
- Business closures
- Keeping your business and employees safe
- Sector guidance
- Protection from eviction
- Insolvency law amended
- Other government advice
Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy has been published, outlining the UK Government’s plan for rebuilding and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. The roadmap to lift restrictions step-by-step will be of particular interest to businesses and employers.
On 20 March the Government ordered certain businesses - including pubs, cinemas and theatres - to close.
The Government’s guidance on business closures has been updated to reflect current regulations. This includes those businesses that must remain closed to members of the public and the legal exemptions to this list.
Working safely during coronavirus
The UK government, in consultation with industry, has produced ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. The guidance covers 8 workplace settings which are allowed to be open, from outdoor environments and construction sites to factories and takeaways. This sets out practical steps for businesses focused on 5 key points, which should be implemented as soon as it is practical:
- Work from home, if you can
- Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
- Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible
- Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk
- Reinforcing cleaning processes
The 8 guides cover a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep employees safe.
- Construction and other outdoor work – Guidance for people who work in or run outdoor working environments.
- Factories, plants and warehouses - Guidance for people who work in or run factories, plants and warehouses
- Homes – Guidance for people working in, visiting or delivering to home environments as well as their employers
- Labs and research facilities – Guidance for people who work in or run indoor labs and research facilities and similar environments
- Offices and contact centres – Guidance for people who work in or run offices, contact centres and similar indoor environments
- Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery – Guidance for people who work in or run restaurants offering takeaway or delivery services.
- Shops and branches – Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments.
- Vehicles – Guidance for people who work in or from vehicles, including couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit and work vehicles, field forces and similar.
There is also series of new webinars from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy about how to make your workplace COVID-secure covering the range of different types of workplace settings which are allowed to be open.
Advice for businesses who may be reopening
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have published some useful advice for businesses that are currently closed and who may be reopening in future.
Legionella - If your building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the Coronavirus outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease. Employers, the self-employed and people in control of premises, such as landlords, have a duty to identify and control risks associated with legionella. The HSE website provides information on Legionella risks during the Coronavirus outbreak and links to what businesses need to consider when reopening.
Working safely - the HSE have created two documents to help the self-employed, employers and employees work safely during the Coronavirus crisis.
Reopening and adapting food and other businesses
The Food Standards Agency has published guidance on reopening and adapting food businesses. This aims to provide a practical framework to identify what businesses need to do to continue, adapt, or restart operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes the hygiene processes and requirements that must be followed to safely operate a food business. The guidance is split into the following areas: farming and agriculture, food manufacturers, restaurants and takeaways.
Trading Standards, Environmental Health and Licensing teams across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have worked together to provide some advice on the many compliance challenges businesses are facing in having to rapidly respond to Covid-19. They want businesses to feel confident in taking these major steps to diversify their business. Their advice ranges from what you need to consider when moving into food delivery or takeaway activities to how you can manage changing ingredients of your products due to supply chain issues.
Our Environmental Health and Licensing teams can also help your business requires advice regarding business closure, licensing, food hygiene or health and safety, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or 03450 450 063.
Guidance for food businesses on coronavirus is available on the Government's website.
There is guidance on temporary changes to the use and supply of denatured alcohol and duty-free spirits, to help businesses who already produce hand sanitiser and gel and those who would like to move into this activity.
Staying alert and safe (social distancing) guidance
Transport and travel
The Government's transport and travel hub brings together information for people using transport or working in the transport sector during the Coronavirus outbreak. This includes updated guidance for freight transport industry on travelling internationally, guidance for passengers on how to travel safely and safer transport guidance for operators.
Public advised to cover faces in enclosed spaces
The public is advised to consider wearing face coverings in enclosed public spaces such as shops, trains and buses to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus. Find more information on face coverings here.
Coronavirus: safer public places – urban centres and green spaces
New guidance has been issued for the owners and operators of urban centres and green spaces to help social distancing. This guidance applies in England only.
A government hub contains guidance on personal protective equipment (PPE), and infection prevention and control (IPC) including the cleaning of environments in the workplace and other non-healthcare settings.
The Government has issued reminders that masks, gloves or other personal protective equipment (PPE) should not be put in the recycling. They cannot be recycled. Throw them in the bin instead. If you have Coronavirus symptoms or live with someone who does, you need to take extra precautions before throwing away your PPE.
The guidance on the different regulations which apply to devices and equipment being used to help prevent Coronavirus, including hand gels and PPE, have been updated to include contact information for the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency should you have further questions.
The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has updated its guidance on the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations to clarify the obligations of importers and its Coronavirus guidance for business with guidance for businesses on hand sanitisers and with an additional link to a technical specification for hand wash from the Department of Health and Social Care.
Keeping businesses safe from fire
The Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service has published advice on keeping businesses safe from fire during the Coronavirus crisis including where there is lone working or where buildings are not in use.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary have published their answers to the questions that they are most commonly asked.
The Government has published a written ministerial statement on planning and construction working hours and a Charter for safe working, has been co-produced by the government and the Home Building Federation has been launched. A construction update Q&A has also been provided.
There is also new guidance on meeting the regulatory requirement to secure a valid Energy Performance Certificate on marketing a property during the Coronavirus outbreak.
There is new guidance for the public, providers of outdoor sport facilities, elite athletes, personal trainers and coaches on the phased return of sport and recreation.
The Government has drawn together information for the adult social care sector on responding to the coronavirus pandemic including guidance on admission and care of people in care homes. A new online portal that makes it easy for care homes in England to arrange deliveries of coronavirus test kits has been launched.
All the guidance and advice about coronavirus in educational settings for staff, parents and carers, pupils and students is available on the Government’s website. This includes guidance from Government explains the principles of infection prevention and control to enable safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings during the Coronavirus outbreak and updated guidance on actions for early years and childcare providers during the Coronavirus outbreak.
There is guidance for those providing hotel and other accommodation. A letter has also been issued regarding the exemption for hotels, hostels and Bed and Breakfasts (B&B's) to open so they can offer accommodation to key workers and support rough sleepers to keep them off the streets and in suitable accommodation.
The latest information for farmers, landowners and rural businesses has also been drawn together.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has regularly updated guidance for industry, healthcare professionals and patients.
Additional industry guidance from Government includes:
- educational settings such as schools or universities
- prisons, immigration centres and other places of detention
- shipping and sea ports
- hostels and day centres (rough sleepers)
- landlords and tenants
The Government has also provided a list of Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations that you can speak to for advice. Sector specific guidance and Q&A are included on the websites of many of their websites, and many of them are happy to hear from non-members and members alike.
The Government has announced that commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of Coronavirus will be protected from eviction. The measures, included in the emergency Coronavirus Act, will mean no business will be forced out of their premises if they miss a payment in the next three months. Tenants will still be liable for the rent after this period.
The Business Secretary has announced he will make changes to enable UK companies undergoing a rescue or restructure process to continue trading, giving them breathing space that could help them avoid insolvency.
The proposals will also include key safeguards for creditors and suppliers to ensure they are paid. The Insolvency Act will be temporarily suspended specifically to give confidence to directors to continue trading without the threat of personal liability, should the company ultimately fall into insolvency.
The Government is relaxing a number of rules in response to the Coronavirus crisis including:
- the amount of annual leave that workers can carry over
- Enforcement of the gender pay gap reporting deadlines is also suspended for this reporting year (2019/20).
To help employers understand their legal obligations, there is new guidance that provides an explanation of how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the coronavirus pandemic, where it differs from the standard holiday entitlement and pay guidance.
The Department for International Trade has revised arrangements for processing licence applications during the coronavirus outbreak and the Export Control Joint Unit has provided updated guidance on compliance checks for open licences. Guidance is available for economic operators who will temporarily need a licence to export PPE outside the EU, EFTA member states and certain other territories.
There is also advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents and for apprentices, employers, training providers and assessment organisations about changes to apprenticeships due to coronavirus.
The Government’s guidance for British people travelling overseas during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been updated.
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