Working safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
Do you run a business in Surrey Heath? Let us know how we can support you in relation to Covid-19 safe working.
Plan B for winter
Targeted measures to prevent the spread of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant take effect from 4am Tuesday 30 November 2021.
On 30 November 2021, face coverings were reintroduced in many indoor settings, including shops and public transport. On 10 December 2021, the use of face coverings was extended to most public indoor venues, including cinemas, theatres and places of worship, but excluding hospitality.
Employers should require customers and staff to wear face coverings, unless exempt.
Face Coverings from Friday 10 December
The list of venues where customers and staff in public facing areas must wear face coverings has been expanded from Friday 10 December. A selected list of venues where this applies is summarised below:
- Public areas in hotels and hostels (areas where food and drink are not being consumed, for example receptions and corridor areas. Hotels restaurants and bars are exempt).
- Visitor attractions and entertainment venues (as above, areas within these such as cafes, bars, restaurants where customers are eating and drinking are exempt from staff and customers having to wear face coverings). Examples from the legislation relating to hospitality where staff/customer face coverings must be worn are listed below:
- Play and soft play centre
- Snooker and pool halls
- Amusement arcades and adult gaming centres
- Games and recreation venues (including laser quest, escape rooms and recreational driving facilities)
- Skating rinks
- Theme parks, fairgrounds, funfairs and adventure parks
- Sport stadia
- Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and visitor farms and other tourist, heritage or cultural sites
- Concert halls, exhibition halls, conference centres and other public halls
- Community centres (including village halls), youth centres, members clubs and social clubs
Staff within the above settings are required to wear face coverings when they are in a part that is open to the public and when they are likely to come into close contact with members of the public.
NHS Covid Pass from 15 December 2021
On 15 December 2021, the NHS COVID pass will become mandatory for workers and customers in specified settings in England which includes unseated and 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. To enter or work in these events, customers and workers must provide proof that they are fully vaccinated or have tested negative in the last 48 hours (unless they are exempt from these requirements).
The use of the NHS COVID Pass is required as a condition of entry into the following three categories:
1. Nightclubs, dancehalls and discotheques
2. Other late night dance venues, any venues other than nightclubs that are
a. Open between 1am and 5am: AND
b. Serve alcohol during this time; AND
c. Have a dancefloor (or designated space for dancing): AND
d. Provide music, whether live or recorded, for dancing
Please visit the NHS website for marketing assets and resources for venues to use.
Working safely guidances
Existing coronavirus legislation has been replaced by the 'Working safely during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic’ guidance, issued by the Health & Safety Executive. This guidance advises businesses how to undertake a Covid-19 risk assessment, which they are legally required to carry out to help reduce the transmission of Covid-19.
Government guidance about working safely during the coronavirus pandemic is available on their website.
You are no longer legally required to be socially distanced. However, in order to minimise risk, you should limit the close contact you have with those you do not usually live with. The requirement to wear face coverings in law will be lifted. However, the Government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings, be considerate of others, wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport, etc.
Businesses and venues
All capacity limits at sporting, entertainment, or business events will be lifted. Hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and bars will no longer be required to provide table service or follow other social distancing rules.
However, employers will still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify.
According to the government guidance, there are priority actions you can take to protect staff and customers. The six steps are as follows:
- Complete a health and safety risk assessment that includes risk from Covid-19
- Provide adequate ventilation – ensure there is a supply of fresh air to indoor spaces, and this can be through natural ventilation by opening windows, doors and vents
- Clean surfaces that are frequently touched, and you should ask your staff and customers to use hand sanitiser and to clean their hands frequently
- Ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue
- While collection of customer contact details is no longer required legally, we encourage you to display NHS QR code in your venue to support the NHS Test and Trace system
- Communicate and train – keep staff and visitors up-to-date on how you are using and updating safety measures
For more detailed government guidance for specific businesses or venues, please see the following:
- 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
Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations
There will no longer be limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and other life events (including receptions and celebrations). There will be no requirement for table service at life events, or restrictions on singing or dancing.
However, Wedding receptions (and receptions celebrating other significant life events) which meet all of the following criteria will be required to use the NHS COVID Pass:
- The reception meets the attendance thresholds for certification, either by being attended by 500 or more people in the case of indoor events or by 4,000 or more in the case of outdoor events, and those attendees are expected to stand or move around for all or part of the event
- The reception is organised by a person or organisation operating in a professional capacity, or is held in a conference centre or town hall
- The reception is not held in a private dwelling
For more information, please see Coronavirus (COVID-19): Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebration.
There is different guidance for:
See the below links for more information.
- Ventilation during Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic (HSE website) – includes information on ventilation during coronavirus, identifying poorly ventilated areas and assessing ventilation in your workplace
- General Ventilation Assessment Tool – HSE (breathefreely.org.uk) - have worked in partnership with the British Occupational Hygiene Society to develop a general ventilation assessment tool
- Examples of improving ventilation to reduce coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission (HSE Website)
If you have any queries, please contact the environmental health team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01276 707100
Get tested and self-isolate
As we are still in a pandemic, and it is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated, Lateral Flow Device testing (asymptomatic testing) is encouraged, as well as testing when you have symptoms. You must self-isolate when Covid-19 positive or when contacted by NHS Test and Trace (required by the law). Your isolation period included the day your symptoms started (or the day your test was taken if you do not have symptoms) and the next 10 full days.
If you have any queries, please contact the environmental health team at email@example.com or call on 01276 707100.