COVID-19 - Advice on national restrictions for businesses

National restrictions began in England on 5 November. People should stay at home where possible and should only travel to work if they cannot work from home.

Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. Sale of alcohol is permitted via pre-order for collection or delivery services only.

Find out about the new restrictions and what you can and cannot do at GOV.UK - New National Restrictions from 5 November

Operating in a COVID Secure manner

Businesses and venues are required under health and safety legislation to follow the appropriate COVID-19 Secure guidance for their sector.

There is sector-specific guidance on making sure businesses and venues that are permitted to open can operate safely and provide a safe workplace for those who are not able to work from home. There is also information for businesses and venues that are closed, to help you plan and prepare to reopen safely when legally permitted to do so.

All businesses should demonstrate to their workers and attendees that they have properly assessed their risk and taken appropriate measures to mitigate it, for example by publishing their risk assessment online or making it available at the premises/event.

Businesses and venues must also take reasonable steps to ensure that social contact rules are followed within their venues: Legislation.gov.uk - The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Obligations of Undertakings) (England) Regulations 2020

In particular, those operating venues or running events following COVID-19 Secure guidelines should take additional steps to ensure the safety of the public. This includes taking reasonable steps to prevent large gatherings of people which risk a breakdown of social distancing rules.

Pavement licenses (amended 24 July 2020)

Applications are open in West Suffolk for temporary pavement licences to help cafés, restaurants and pubs trade during COVID-19 and keep people safe.

The move by West Suffolk Council follows new legislation just agreed by Government to ease previous restrictions on putting items such as tables and chairs outside premises for the sale of food or drink for consumption.

A fast track process has been introduced so premises can apply, relevant consultees can have their say and a decision made in a much shorter time. Government allows councils to charge up to £100 to apply but West Suffolk Council has agreed during this time to make the process free. More information can be found at Street trading and vending

Risk assessment for coronavirus - practical points to consider

Employers and self-employed people need to carry out a risk assessment to identify what needs to be done to protect workers and others from the risk of coronavirus.

When carrying out the risk assessment you need to:

  • identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus
  • identify who could be at risk
  • decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed
  • act to remove the activity or situation that places someone at risk, or if this is not possible, identify what can be done to control the risk

If you have fewer than five employees, you do not have to write anything down, but it is good practice if you do. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has guidance on H&S ABC – an easy guide to health and safety. as well as Health and Safety made simple, both includes advice on risk assessments.

There is also further HSE guidance: Working safely during the coronavirus outbreak.

For the Government's latest guidance on the collection of personal details and how to maintain records of staff, customers and visitors to businesses in support of NHS Test and Trace,  please go to: Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace

Re-opening your business and Legionella risk

When buildings reopen after lockdown, it is essential that water systems are not put back into use without considering the risks of Legionnaires’ disease. There is an increased risk of waterborne pathogens such as Legionella bacteria being present because of the reduced occupancy and use buildings have had during lockdown. Legionella guidance has been specially written by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) for businesses so that they know about the risk and what to do about it before reopening their business.

Please contact us if you have any further queries email: food&safety@westsuffolk.gov.uk phone: 01284 757400