Covid-19 Guidance for shops, branches, and close contact services

Covid-19 Guidance for shops, branches, and close contact services

Guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments and for people who provide close contact services, including hairdressers and beauticians.

New measures have been put in place as a precaution, because cases of a variant of concern (Omicron) have been found in the UK. There are changes to the rules in England on self-isolation, testing after international travel, and face coverings, which are applicable from 4am on Tuesday 30 November. In three weeks, these measures will be reviewed.

What’s changed?

Contacts of individuals with a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant, must self-isolate, regardless of their age or vaccination status. See Section 4.2 on gov.uk.

Staff and customers must wear a face covering in shops and in premises that provide close contact services (such as hairdressers and beauty therapists). See Section 7.2 on gov.uk.

Priority actions to take – what businesses should do to help protect staff and customer

There are 7 main actions you can take to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during COVID-19:

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

Complete a risk assessment, considering the measures set out in this guidance. Also consider reasonable adjustments needed for staff and customers with disabilities. Share it with all your staff. Keep it updated. Find out how to do a risk assessment.

2. 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. Read the advice on air conditioning and ventilation on the HSE website.

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

Customers are required by law to wear face coverings in all shops, including premises providing close contact services. Staff must also wear face coverings in areas where they are likely to come into contact with members of the public. You must notify your customers that they are required to wear a face covering, for example by using signs. However, you are not responsible for enforcing face covering requirements.

4. 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.

5. 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 test result, they must complete their full self-isolation period.

They must also self-isolate if they have been informed by NHS Test and Trace that they are a contact of a person who has had a positive test result for COVID-19 – unless they’re exempt. If you know that a worker is self-isolating, you must not allow them to come to work. It’s an offence to do this. Find out more about who should self-isolate.

6. Enable people to check in at your venue

You’re no longer legally required to collect customer contact details, but doing so will support NHS Test and Trace to contact those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 so that they can book a test. You can enable people to check in to your venue by displaying an NHS QR code poster. You do not have to ask people to check in or turn people away if they refuse. 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.

7. Communicate and train

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

These are the priority actions to make your business safer during coronavirus, you should also read the full version of the guidance on gov.uk by clicking here.

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