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Coronavirus support for businesses – Regulatory and compliance support for business during the coronavirus pandemic

The ten Greater Manchester local authorities and the Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service work together to provide regulatory advice and support to businesses through the Greater Manchester Regulatory Centre of Excellence

This guidance has changed and the latest information is available on our FAQs page. 

View Coronavirus Business FAQs

This page was updated on 10 July 2020.

The ten Greater Manchester local authorities and the Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service work together to provide regulatory advice and support to businesses through the Greater Manchester Regulatory Centre of Excellence.

As local authorities, we want to support you with safely reopening your business and ensuring that all workplaces, products and services produced and offered are safe for use or consumption.

To help with this, we have provided some information and links below that may be useful to help you and your business navigate some of these complex areas of regulation. If you have any further questions, please contact your local environmental health, trading standards, licensing or fire safety teams or contact the Greater Manchester Regulatory Centre of Excellence.

 

Recent changes to Government Guidance and legislation

The lockdown has now been eased across a number of sectors, although some must remain closed. The Government has published an updated list of which businesses currently can and can’t open under the updated Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations 2020. A list of business which cannot open is also detailed here.

 
Re-opening your business


Firstly you need to check if your business is allowed to open under the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations 2020 and the Government’s list of which businesses that can open and can’t open and/or check with your local authority if your business is not listed.
Next, if you are satisfied that your business can open, you need to put a plan in place to keep your staff and customers safe.

In conjunction with businesses, unions, industry leaders and devolved administrations, the Government has published separate ‘working safely guides’ to help employers ensure workplaces are as safe as possible and these guides should be your starting point. They cover the following sectors: close contact services; heritage locations; hotels and other guest accommodation; construction and other outdoor work; factories, plants and warehouses; homes; labs and research facilities; offices and contact centres; other people’s homes; performing arts;providers of grassroots sport and gym/leisure facilities; restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services; shops and branches; vehicles; and the visitor economy.

The Government has set five steps for businesses to ‘Stay COVID-19 Secure’:

  1. Carried out a COVID-19 risk assessment and shared the results with the people who work at your business;
  2. Have cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in line with guidance;
  3. Taken all reasonable steps to help people work from home;
  4. Taken all reasonable steps to maintain a 2m distance in the workplace;
  5. Where people cannot be 2m apart, done everything practical to manage transmission risk.


There are lots of guides that have been produced by trade and industry bodies and these should be considered when carrying out your risk assessment.

Hospitality and other non-healthcare settings

The coronavirus pandemic closed most businesses within the hospitality industry, however following the Prime Minister's announcement on the 23rd June, pubs, restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels and others will be allowed to reopen from the 4th July. A full list of businesses reopening from the 4th July can be seen here and guidance on safely reopening is available here.

UK Hospitality have produced a useful guide to support hospitality businesses become COVID-19 secure.

Businesses seeking information for the Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure sector can also access a range of resources on Marketing Manchester's Tourism and Hospitality Support Hub.

Guidance has also been released to support businesses ensure good hygiene in the workplace. The World Health Organisation has produced its own guidance for accommodation and hotel providers.

The Government has also issued guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chartered Institute of Trading Standards and Dept for BEIS has also issued guidance for the travel and food industries. 

To support food businesses reopen safely, the Food Standards Agency has also developed a reopening checklist.

 

Licensing

On 25th June, the government announced plans for The Business and Planning Bill, which is currently in Parliament.

The Bill contains important provisions about applying for pavement licences. Operators, whether or not they already hold a tables and chairs/ pavement licence may apply for a pavement licence to the local authority. This is effectively a "Fast track" application process for pubs, wine bars, drinking establishments or other premises used for the sale of food or drink for consumption on or off the premises.
 
There is a public consultation period of 7 days beginning with the day after the day on which the application is made. The local authority may grant the application subject to certain criteria (mainly the ability of non-vehicular traffic being able to use the highway).
 
A pavement licence granted in this way can last until 30 September 2021 or such time as the local authority specifies in the licence, although that cannot be less than 3 months.

The local authority may publish conditions to apply to the pavement licence which may be different to their standard conditions which relate to tables and chairs licences. Equally, it can apply to revoke the licence if it considers that the conditions have been breached or serve notice on the licence holder requiring the taking of steps to be remedied.

 

Information on planned food hygiene inspections and interventions

All planned food hygiene, food standards and animal feed interventions will be deferred for a period of 12 weeks from 18 April 2020 until 17 July 2020. However, some inspections may still take place, for example at high risk businesses, new businesses those that are changing practices, or those that have been subject to recent enforcement action or customer complaints. For further information, please contact your local environmental health team.

 

Food delivery and takeaway guidance

The Government has issued specific guidance for business offering takeaway or delivery services and has updated the information provided to include restaurants, pubs, cafes and bars offering table service. 

Guidance should be used in conjunction with the business’ own food policy (Safer Food Better Business, or equivalent); Salford City Council has provided a useful SFBB insert and checklist for businesses to include COVID-19 considerations.

 

Information for businesses looking to provide food and drink to the community

During this time, many charities, groups and businesses are keen to help the community by providing food and drink to those in most need. As local authorities, we want to support you to do this, whilst ensuring that all products/foods are safe for the consumer. This is particularly important at this time to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

All food operators whether donating or receiving and handling donated food must be aware of their legal responsibilities under food safety legislation and where appropriate these must be considered within a food safety management system. You may need to register as a food operator before you are able to provide food and drink to members of the public.

The Food Standards Agency has produced specific guidance for those looking to provide food and drink to the community. Those delivering should also be mindful of our guidance on delivering food and drink above.

The National Volunteers Council for Voluntary Organisations (NVCO) have produced lots of useful information for charities and voluntary organisations to help keep volunteers safe and to support these organisations through the coronavirus crisis.

WRAP, the FSA and DEFRA have compiled a useful labelling guide for organisations looking to redistribute food and a checklist for those receiving and supplying surplus food which can be downloaded here.

 

Guidance on social distancing for employees and customers

The Government has issued 14 "working safely guides" to support businesses reopen safely and help maintain social distancing for staff and customers during the current pandemic. On June 23rd, the government announced a relaxation of the 2m rule which will be valid from Saturday 4th July. Where maintaining a 2m distance is not possible, people can remain 1m apart as long as measures have been implemented to mitigate risk of transmission. 

Many trade associations and other organisations have produced useful guidance for businesses to follow during the current crisis and a selection of these are included below. If your business is not covered, or you need further help please contact your local environmental health teams:

 

Management of queues outside your premises

Some stores which have recently reopened have experienced large queues outside stores, both from pedestrians and vehicles. Please be aware of the potential for these queues forming and put in place measures to reduce the risks to customers and members of the public.

Our Quick Guide to Safely Managing Queues outlines the measures you can take to manage queues inside and outside your premises.

Fire Safety during lockdown and when reopening your business

As you return to your place of work, it is vital to remember your fire safety responsibilities in keeping your staff and customers safe. For example, you should review your fire risk assessment to ensure that it is current and reflects the way your business now operates, ensure means of escape remain open and available, and ensure any necessary maintenance of fire safety equipment.

The National Fire Chiefs Council has provided some useful guidance and answers to FAQs for businesses.

 

Facilities & equipment management following full or partial shutdown of your business

You may need to carry out checks on gas, electrics or water systems or plant material – some further links for guidance can be found below:


Gas and Electrics

The HSE has provided some guidance to business to ensure that your gas and electrics systems are safe to use: www.hse.gov.uk/catering/guidance.htm

Water systems and legionella

A legionella risk exists in vacant properties where water is allowed to stagnate within water systems. As a general principle, outlets on hot and cold water systems should be used at least once a week to maintain a degree of water flow and to minimise the chances of stagnation.

The following guidance should be considered:

- The HSE has produced guidance about how to control risks associated with legionella
- The CIEH has also produced a guide regarding Legionnaires disease: lockdown risks and re-opening safely
- Public Health England suggest following the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group Code of Practice.
- European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases have also published guidance for managing legionella in building water systems

United Utilities have produced a booklet for businesses on ensuring that their water systems are safe: www.unitedutilities.com/globalassets/documents/pdf/8701-business-reopening-covid-19-leaflet-v9-web-acc.pdf

LOLER & PSSR

The law for Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR) remains in place. The HSE have produced some advice to help duty holders ensure that their work plant and equipment remain safe to use.

Funeral Directors

During these extremely challenging times, funerals and related formal and informal rituals play a crucial part in the grieving process for many families.  The government has issued guidance for managing a funeral during the coronavirus pandemic as well as guidance for care of the deceased with confirmed or suspected coronavirus.

The National Association of Funeral Directors have also published some useful guidance for funeral directors covering:

 

Construction and building work

The Government has said that construction work plays an important role in ensuring public safety and the provision of public services. It should continue in accordance with the social distancing guidelines wherever possible. It has published specific guidance for construction and other outdoor work

On 13th May 2020, the Government published a written ministerial statement on extending planning and construction hours. They also published some FAQs on this matter. On 25th June, draft guidance was published setting out further detail on the proposed new route for applicants seeking to extend construction site working hours introduced in the Business and Planning Bill.

In addition the Federation of Master builders have provided a guidance note on when to restart building work in other people’s homes.

 

Estate Agents & Landlord

Estate Agents are one of the businesses allowed to reopen as of 13th May, but must follow social distancing measures wherever possible. The Government has advised that virtual house viewings should be done wherever possible and provided guidance where physical viewings are due to take place.

The Home Owners Alliance has also produced some useful guidance for home buyers and home owners which estate agents could consider.

The Government have issued guidance for landlords and tenants to follow during the coronavirus pandemic.

CTSI and the Dept for BEIS have issued further guidance on landlord’s responsibilities to their tenants during this pandemic

 

Garden Centres

Garden Centres are another facility allowed to open from 13th May 2020 and they should follow guidance in the Government’s ‘Working  safely during coronavirus in shops and branches’ guide.

The Horticultural Trades Association has issued specific ‘Safe Trading Guidance’ for garden centres, as well as some advice on carrying out and completing risk assessments.

 

Outdoor sports facilities

From 13th May, the Government allowed outdoor sports courts, including public and private outdoor enclosed areas such as tennis courts, golf courses, basketball courts, bowling greens and football pitches, to open, if those responsible for them feel that they can do so safely. Outdoor pools can reopen to the public from 11 July with indoor gyms, pools and leisure centres also allowed to reopen from 25 July. If you have a sports facility which is not listed here, please consult your local authority for clarification and guidance. The Government has published guidance for sports facilities to follow.

In addition, the Lawn Tennis Association has provided their own guidance for venues, coaches and players.

England Golf have also produced ‘Play Safe, Stay Safe’ Guidelines for both players and those responsible for golf courses. Similarly the British and International Golf Greenkeepers Society has created its own COVID-19 Resource Hub to support those managing golf courses. 

 

Producing hand sanitiser and gels

The production of hand sanitiser is a complex area with different areas of regulation to consider.  The government has issued guidance for businesses producing hand sanitiser.

There is a two stage process to ensuring that you can provide your hand sanitiser product to members of the public – ensuring that you have the correct authorisations from both HMRC and one other regulatory agency depending on which type of product you are producing.

Licensed distillers or gin manufacturers: if you hold duty suspended ethanol in an excise warehouse, you can denature the ethanol by either:

You do not need to tell HMRC, but you must keep a record both of the:

  • amounts of ethanol denatured;
  • method used.

In normal circumstances, producers of hand-sanitiser may require a product authorisation from the HSE before distribution. However, given the urgency in producing these products, the HSE have made a very similar ruling that derogation may be issued if certain conditions are met. Further details can be found here and you must check this guidance before providing your hand sanitiser to the public.

The government has issued further guidance for businesses producing hand sanitiser.

 

Guidance for businesses creating PPE

To help get Covid-19 related personal protective equipment (PPE) to NHS staff as quickly as possible the Government has eased administrative requirements and barriers to their supply, without compromising on their safety. This easement relates to PPE which meets the essential safety requirements and is manufactured or sourced to meet demand in context of Covid-19. It may include items such as face masks, body protection and hand protection designed for use at work or made available on non-domestic premises as well as for private use or consumption.

Any manufacturer who can help produce much-needed Covid-19 related PPE should ensure it first meets essential safety requirements and contact a Notified Body to begin conformity assessment. Notified Bodies are listed in the documents below and have been asked to prioritise these requests. If you would like to help supply our NHS with this crucial PPE and you have ensured you meet the essential criteria in the safety requirements, please complete this online form.

The Office for Product Safety & Standards has produced two guides to assist business in producing PPE:

 

Protecting your businesses against scams, fraud and cyber crime

Since early March, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has witnessed a number of scams aimed at UK consumers. These scams have been attempted on the door step, on the telephone, via social media, text and email, and all themed around the coronavirus pandemic. 

National Trading Standards have issued some guidance for protecting your businesses against scams.

The Friends Against Scams team have also produced some useful steps you can take to prevent your business falling victims to scams.

Following the measures announced by the government, we are all spending more time at home and online. The government has produced a guide to some simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your business against fraud and cyber crime.

More information and resources are available on our Cyber-crime awareness page.


The Government has also issued some guidance on recognising genuine HMRC contact and recognising phishing emails.

 

Additional information

  • Lots of businesses continue to operate online during the current crisis. Please check out this guide to distance sales to ensure you adhere to the relevant legislation.
  • During this unprecedented time, there have been some concerns that businesses might exploit the situation to take advantage of people, for example by charging excessive prices or making misleading claims about their products. If you would like to report any concerns, you can do so via the Competitions Markets Authority
  • The latest advice on coronavirus from the Health & Safety Executive can be found here.
  • The Health & Safety Executive website has lots of information about managing risks at work and advice about how to carry out and complete a risk assessment.
  • Centre for Assessment within the Growth Company has also provided COVID-19 template risk assessments and guidance on how to complete them.
  • The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work has produced a guide to adapting business practices and protecting workers. It includes advice for various sectors including construction, food and transport.
  • The Food Standards Agency has provided specific guidance for the farming & agriculture sector, food manufacturers and restaurants and takeaways.
  • The Department for Businesses, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have hosted a range of free webinars for businesses to find out more about how to make their workplace COVID-secure.
  • The Growth Company has also delivered a series of webinars to discuss the challenges for different workplace settings and focus closely on common issues including skills and wellbeing.
  • Citizens Advice has provided some useful information for employees who are worried about going back to work and also a ‘top 6 need-to-knows’ for employees.

 

Contact details

For more information or assistance in any of these areas, please contact the Greater Manchester Regulatory Centre of Excellence on 07545462247 or nick.reddrop@salford.gov.uk.

 

For complaints or concerns about social distancing, please check this table to see whether the local authority the HSE enforces against that particular premises. Complaints about social distancing should be referred to the relevant enforcing authority:

HSE - https://www.hse.gov.uk/contact/concerns.htm


Bolton: Environmental.health@bolton.gov.uk

Bury: tradingstandards@bury.gov.uk

Manchester: fsafoodreg@manchester.gov.uk

Oldham: envhealth@oldham.gov.uk

Rochdale: report.biz@rochdale.go.uk

Salford: trading.standards@salford.gov.uk

Stockport: environmental.health@stockport.gov.uk

Tameside: publicprotection-es@tameside.gov.uk

Trafford: licensing@trafford.gov.uk

Wigan: comm@wigan.gov.uk


For more information about licensing and how to apply for a pavement or variation of your existing licence, please contact your local authority licensing team:

Bury

licensing@bury.gov.uk

Bolton

licensing.unit@bolton.gov.uk

Manchester

premises.licensing@manchester.gov.uk

Oldham

licensing@oldham.gov.uk

Rochdale

​​​licensing.reg@rochdale.gov.uk

Salford

licensing@salford.gov.uk

Stockport

licensing@stockport.gov.uk

Tameside

licensing@tameside.gov.uk

Trafford

licensing@trafford.gov.uk

Wigan

licensing@wigan.gov.uk

 

Find out all the information you need to make your workplace safe, by reading our specific safe workplaces FAQs

Safer workplaces FAQs

More information is available on the UK Government’s Coronavirus Business Support website. For more personalised advice call us on: 0161 237 4128 or email us at: BGH@growthco.uk 

 

The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. GC Business Growth Hub does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to the GC Business Growth Hub and The Growth Company is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.

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