Step 4 - answers to some common questions
- What has changed from 19 July?
The majority of legal restrictions in England came to an end as we moved to Step 4 in the Government's Roadmap. You can find out more about what this next step means here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-summer-2021-roadmap/coronavirus-how-to-stay-safe-and-help-prevent-the-spread
However, this does not mean an end to the pandemic. Covid-19 has not gone away. People are still becoming very ill and even those with mild symptoms can go on to develop long Covid. Therefore it is important to continue to do what you can to mitigate the risk of the virus spreading in your business.
- What do the changes mean for my business?
There are no legal restrictions with regard to Covid and operating your business from 19 July but there are still things you can do to mitigate risk - to your business, your employees and your community. This will help your business remain operational and help keep your employees and customers safe.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has useful, up to date guidance here: Making your workplace COVID-secure during the coronavirus pandemic (hse.gov.uk)
3. Do I still need a Covid risk assessment?
Yes. Although some of the restrictions have now been removed you must still control the risks and review and update your risk assessment. This may include ensuring adequate ventilation, sufficient cleaning and good hand hygiene.
For more information on Covid risk assessments see the HSE website Risk assessment - Working safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (hse.gov.uk)
- What about cleaning, do I still need to clean as often?
Absolutely. Maintaining a regular and thorough cleaning routine will help reduce infection rates and slow the spread of the virus. It's never been more important given the current high rates of infection in our region. You'll find up to date information on continuing an effective cleaning routine from the Health and Safety Executive here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/cleaning/cleaning-workplace.htm
- Can I go back to my pre-covid premises capacity?
Yes, there will be no legal limits on premises capacity. But you should consider the effects of increased capacity as part of your risk assessment, especially in relation to the wearing of face coverings and social distancing.
- Will customers and colleagues be required to wear face coverings and keep their distance?
There is now no legal requirement for your customers to wear face coverings or socially distance. However, you may choose to continue to do so, and ask your employees to do the same, to mitigate risk and protect them and customers.
You can find useful and up to date information on talking to your employees about working safely here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/talking-to-your-workers/index.htm
- Will we still need to ask people to check in?
It will no longer be a legal requirement for customers check into venues however doing so will help to support NHS test and trace to contain the virus. Organisations in higher risk settings are recommended to use the NHS COVID Pass as a condition of entry, in order to reduce the risk of Covid-19. This will especially be the case in large crowded settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household.
- Do people still need to isolate?
Yes, until 16 August the rules on self-isolation remain the same. You can find out the details of what this means here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae
- What is the NHS Covid Certification app and do I need to use it?
The NHS COVID-19 app allows you to see if you're at risk from coronavirus. The faster you know, the quicker you can alert and protect your loved ones and community, helping to stop the spread of coronavirus. The app has a number of tools to protect you, including contact tracing, information on local area restrictions and venue check-in. It uses proven technology from Apple and Google, designed to protect every user's privacy. You can watch this video to find out more https://youtu.be/Pj_tV1v9MR8
- If staff have been working from home, should they now come into the office?
Any change from home working should be gradual. For example, bringing everyone back into the workplace at once risks quickly spreading the virus quickly between people. Think about how you can mitigate risk by staggering working patterns, continuing to work from home where possible or implementing a split working week between home and office.
11. Must myself and my employees continue to test for covid?
Yes. If you are asymptomatic you should test yourself and your workforce regularly - at least twice a week. You can order free lateral flow test kits here: https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests
If you or any of your employees have Covid symptoms, isolate immediately and book a PCR Test here: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test
12. Where can I find out more?
The best place to find the most up to date information on working safely to help businesses mitigate risk can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-covid-19