What are the new Covid-19 Secure guidelines for businesses?
In recent days, you may have heard about the new Covid-19 Secure guidelines for businesses. These have been created to help businesses reopen, while making sure their workplaces are as safe as possible.
That said, there has been some confusion about the guidelines, who they apply to and what they mean in practice.
We’ve written this short guide to clarify what the guidelines are, whether they cover your business and point you towards more detailed guidance.
What are the Covid-19 Secure guidelines for?
The Covid-19 Secure guidelines have been designed to help businesses make their workplaces as safe as they can and to give people the confidence to return to work during the pandemic.
The guidelines cover eight different workplace settings (see below). They do not cover businesses that the government requires to remain closed, such as pubs and restaurants not offering takeaway services.
In all eight workplace settings, the Covid-19 Secure guidelines are focused on 5 key points.
What are the 5 key points of the Covid-19 Secure guidelines?
The five key points are straightforward and apply to all businesses. They are:
- Work from home, if you can. Employers should take all reasonable steps to allow people to work from home wherever possible.
- Carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions. All businesses with more than 50 employees must publish this online, while smaller employers should do this if possible.
- Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible. This may require you to redesign your workplaces, stagger the working day and employ other strategies that ensure employees can keep their distance from each other.
- Where people can’t be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk. This may include installing barriers in shared spaces, ensuring people face away from each other and changing shift patterns.
- Reinforcing cleaning processes. This means keeping the workplace as clean as possible, making sure high-contact objects like door handles are sanitised regularly. It’s also about providing hand washing facilities or hand sanitisers at entrances and exits.
Which 8 kinds of workplace do the detailed Covid-19 Secure guidelines cover?
Covid-19 Secure guidelines cover the eight kinds of workplace listed below. Remember, your business may have several different types of workplace. In these cases, you’ll need to follow the advice for each one.
- Construction and other outdoor work
- Factories, plants and warehouses
- Labs and research facilities
- Offices and contact centres
- Other people’s homes
- Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery
- Shops and branches
The guidelines don’t cover my type of business. Can I re-open?
Don’t open your business before making sure that you can legally do so. Our blog post – Can I reopen my business? – will point you to helpful information that you need. In addition, be sure to keep an eye out for new government announcements about which businesses can reopen. If in doubt, consult an employment specialist.
If you are able to reopen your business and you need accountancy help or services, remember we’re here for you. We’re still working from home, but we’ve been offering a full service throughout the pandemic.