Find out the latest information on which businesses can open and how they can operate safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
This page was updated on 24 July.
What is it?
On May 11 2020, the UK Government issued guidance for employers to help get their businesses back up and running and workplaces operating safely. You can find the full government guidance for the work settings published here. This applies to employers, employees and the self-employed.
Who is allowed to go to work?
On May 10 2020, the Government published ‘Our plan to rebuild’ which sets out a roadmap of ‘3 Steps’ to move away from lockdown. You can find more information on the ‘3 Steps’ and the list of businesses allowed to reopen here. On 17 July, the Prime Minister announced the next chapter in the plan to rebuild the UK government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy.
As we move through the ‘3 Steps’, businesses should follow the guidelines to make workplaces as safe as possible and give people confidence to go back to work. The documents were developed in consultation with businesses, unions and industry leaders. An extra £14m has also been made available for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to provide support to businesses.
Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles, and may need to use more than one of these guides. The Government also provides employers with a downloadable notice which they should display in their workplaces to show their employees, customers and visitors, that they have followed this guidance. Additional posters and print assets have been developed and are available to download here.
Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) Guides:
- Construction and other outdoor work
- Close contact services
- Factories, plants and warehouses
- Labs and research facilities
- Offices and contact centres
- Other people's homes
- Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery (From 24 July, face coverings will be mandatory when buying food and drink to takeaway from cafes, restaurants and shops)
- Shops and branches (From 24 July, face coverings will be mandatory for customers in shops and supermarkets and businesses are expected to encourage compliance and can refuse entry. These will also be mandatory in shopping centres and enclosed transport hubs.)
- Hotels and other guest accommodation
- The visitor economy (Guidance for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows)
- Heritage locations (Guidance for people who work or volunteer in heritage locations)
- Guidance for DCMS sectors
- Performing Arts
There is also additional guidance for the owners and operators of urban centres and green spaces to help social distancing, find more information here. Guidance has also been released for the safe operation of places of worship.
5 Key Points
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has published 5 Key Points for businesses across all sectors to consider.
1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions
This guidance operates within current health and safety employment and equalities legislation and employers will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what guidelines to put in place. If possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and Government will expect all businesses with over 50 employees to do so.
You can find a Risk-Assessment guide and template from Centre for Assessment here
2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures
Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points. You can find further information on cleaning in non-healthcare settings here.
3. Help people to work from home
Employers should ensure all reasonable steps are taken to help people work from home. This could include discussing home working arrangements with employees and ensuring they have the right equipment required to perform their work.
4. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible
Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one-way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms
5. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk
Employers should consider putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.
- From 15 June, face coverings are mandatory while using public transport in England. Exemptions include children under the age of 11, anyone with a disability or condition which means they are unable to wear one, transport staff and emergency services.
- The Government has published guidance on safer travel for passengers and operators.
- Businesses in Greater Manchester can consult TfGM's latest advice and guidance to support their staff in using public transport safely.
Managing COVID-19 cases in the workplace
On 27 May, the government announced the launch of the NHS Test and Trace service. More information on how employers can support the service and what actions they can take in the event of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 to minimise the spread of infection is available through our guide.
Breach of Guidelines
On May 12, the Health and Safety Executive stated companies that cannot protect their employees from coronavirus should stay shut. If an employer is not adhering to the guidelines or taking all practical steps to promote social distancing, then they may be reported to their local authority or the Health and Safety Executive.
The police and local authorities have the powers to enforce the requirements set out in law if people do not comply with them.
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.