Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business safety advice
- The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy
- Advice for local convenience stores
- Business crime prevention
- Fire safety
The government has set out its COVID-19 recovery plan which aims to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect the NHS. It is still very important that people stay home and work from home if they are able to. For some industries this isn’t possible. Guidance has been published to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic in specific workplaces (external link).
On 25 May, the Prime Minster set out timeline for retail businesses to reopen in June:
- Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June 2020, as soon as they are able to meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers
- All other non-essential retail including shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, plus tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets, will be expected to be able to reopen from 15 June 2020 - if the Government’s five tests are met and they follow the COVID-19 secure guidelines
Businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment, in consultation with trade union representatives or workers, and are confident they are managing the risks. They must have taken the necessary steps to become COVID-19 secure in line with the current Health and Safety legislation.
Hairdressers, nail bars and beauty salons, and the hospitality sector, remain closed, because the risk of transmission in these environments is higher where long periods of person to person contact is required.
- Government guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments (external link)
Below is a list of recommendations and advice to help local convenience store owners and staff protect themselves and their customers during the current outbreak of coronavirus. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information and guidance is therefore updated frequently. Please check the official government guidance for the latest updates (see links below).
Recommendations and advice
- Limit the number of people in your shop at any one time, so that it is possible for all shoppers to maintain a distance of two meters from each other and from the staff
- Consider placing markings on the floor showing shoppers what two meters look like, for example, with tape
- If the layout is appropriate, consider a one-way system for shoppers to make it easier for people to avoid each other
- If it is possible, place an extra barrier near the tills to prevent people coming too close
- Ask that people use contactless payment if possible
- Clean the stores with disinfectant at regular intervals, especially areas that people will be touching frequently, for example the check-out area, door handles, basket handles
- If appropriate, consider offering a local delivery service or a system where people could order their groceries over the phone and then come in to pay and collect
- Staff should observe the government advice on self-isolation (see below) and should not come to work if they, or anyone in their household, have a cough or a fever
- Staff should wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap at the start of their shift and at regular intervals throughout the day
More information (external links)
- General coronavirus advice for retailers from the ACS
- Printable posters and signs from the ACS
- COVID-19: social distancing in the workplace (sector guidance) – GOV.UK (external link)
- COVID 19: cleaning in non-healthcare setting - GOV.UK
- COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection - GOV.UK
COVID-19 has necessitated that many businesses have had to stay closed for a prolonged period. The government’s recovery strategy has now set out key dates that many businesses can reopen.
This may be the first time in many weeks your premises will be open to the public and you will need to change the way that you operate and interact with your customers.
The Metropolitan Police Service are maintaining a visible presence across the capital and committed to preventing any crime. They are asking for your help to ensure that your buildings are as safe and secure as they can be.
London Fire Brigade advise you to review your Fire Risk assessment and Emergency Plan in light of the impact of COVID-19 on your staffing levels, operating times, business processes and evacuation arrangements.
- Some companies may take the opportunity to bring forward maintenance operations and building works. These should be appropriately fire risk assessed and supervised to ensure they are not creating increased fire risk
- Review the impact of COVID-19 on maintenance provision on essential fixed installations for fire-fighters and potential ignition sources such as electrical installations, ducting cleaning etc
- Consider prohibiting all hot works
- For all premises that may be unoccupied, ensure that all electrical appliances are switched off and the plugs are removed from sockets
- Ensure that all fire doors are securely closed
- Consider impact of disruptions to waste collections on waste storage and build up causing fire risks
- Consider security arrangements to address any increased risk of arson for empty premises and waste build up
- Ensure that security staff and any new or inexperienced security staff are familiar with the emergency plan and procedure for contacting the fire brigade
Specific advice for Healthcare Premises
Any staged evacuation arrangements such as progressive horizontal evacuation, which are often in place in hospitals and care homes, need to be supported by appropriate levels of staff. Management should consider the need for appropriate staff resources to allow for this. If these staffing levels are affected by COVID-19 you will need to review your risk assessment and emergency plan and if you believe that your staffing levels are not sufficient to support your evacuation strategy you should contact the London Fire Brigade.
If a fire does occur in your premises you must ensure the fire brigade is called at the earliest opportunity and inform the operator that an evacuation is in progress.
Home fire safety (employees working from home)
- For employees who will be working from home, please encourage them to take the time to check home fire safety arrangements, and ensure that smoke alarms are fitted, tested and are working correctly
- Make sure all members of the family know what to do if you have a fire - particularly elderly people and children
- Bedtime checks: close doors, unplug electrical appliances and chargers, check heaters are off and candles and cigarettes are properly extinguished
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