Environmental Health - Food Safety & Standards

Regulatory Services COVID-19 Business Advice

Financial support

Visit our Public Health pages for specific information about financial support available to businesses.

The situation and guidance changes regularly and we will try to keep this page up to date. For the latest advice, please refer to the Government's COVID-19 guidance.

The following outlines some of the key issues and provide links to external sources for further information. This list is not exhaustive and does not constitute legal advice.

The Government have set out a roadmap for easing restrictions. This includes the re-opening of outdoor hospitality at step two. The Environmental Health team have produced a letter to help businesses follow the restrictions and operate safely.

Business reopening

You must not open your business if it is required to be closed under the current closing regulations.

If your business is not on the list then you may open. The opening of premises and services must be a decision for you as a business. The situation is constantly under review, so please ensure that you keep up to date with Government's COVID-19 guidance.

Face Coverings

The Government have produced guidance on when to wear a face covering. The guidance provides advice on exemptions and how to make your own.

Persons responsible for a business must either:

  • display a notice at the relevant area informing persons on the premises of the need to wear a face covering
  • take measures to ensure that people entering the premises are so informed of the need to wear a face covering

The above does not apply to anyone exempt or if the person has a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering.

Customers in private hire vehicles and taxis must wear face coverings.

Customers in indoor hospitality venues must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. Staff in hospitality and retail are also now required to wear face coverings.

The need to wear face coverings and visors in close contact services has now become law.

Staff working on public transport and taxi drivers are advised to wear face coverings.

How to be COVID secure

Businesses have responsibilities and duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees and persons not in their employment.

You must take appropriate steps to work safely during the pandemic. The Government have produced a Five Step Guide containing actions for businesses to take:

  1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
  2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures
  3. Help people to work from home
  4. Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible
  5. Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk

Where an employer has five or more staff, they should document the findings of their risk assessment. The Health and Safety Executive have produced a risk assessment template to use. UK Hospitality have also produced advice and risk assessments for hospitality businesses. If you adopt the risk assessment templates you must review the content. This ensures that they reflect the specific circumstances in your business. You must also review other existing risk assessments which may be affected by changes in the business. For example, the fire risk assessment if the layout of the business has changed.

The Government have produced guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely.

Much of the guidance on social distancing is currently subject to the caveat of ‘where possible’. Social distancing should therefore not be the only control measure. There are other ways to achieve compliance and some of these are outlined on the Health and Safety Executive website.

If you are planning to host an event, the Licensing Department have produced guidance on how to do this safely.

A series of posters have been produced to assist businesses to communicate some of the COVID secure controls measures. The posters cover:

Businesses should ensure that they have undertaken all steps to risk assess their business activities in line with the government guidance.

The Environmental Health Department urges businesses to consider that these are stressful times for employers and employees, and the impact on employee wellbeing and mental health should be considered as part of your risk assessment. It is important to ensure that there are clear lines of communication between senior managers and all employees. Businesses should review and update their stress at work policies and ensure that any employee assistance programmes in place are adequate, and employees are aware of the help that is available to them. Please visit the Health and Safety Executive website for more information on stress at work.

Businesses must continue to report accidents and near misses in accordance with RIDDOR (The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013). A report must be made when:

  • an incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to COVID-19. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence
  • a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease
  • a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to COVID-19

For further information on COVID-19 and RIDDOR, or to make a RIDDOR report, please visit RIDDOR Reporting of COVID-19.

These are not legal standards but the guidance should be used to assist business decisions and safe systems of operation.  Human behaviour will play a significant role in achieving a safe working environment. Training, instruction and supervision play an important role.

This department will be responding to complaints and undertaking interventions with businesses. Organisations that have failed or refused to consider the risk, or put in place any control measures, are more likely to be subject to enforcement action.

COVID-19 in the workplace

Guide for employers, businesses and workers

If you have had or suspect a case of COVID-19 in the workplace our information sheet explains what you need to do.

What to do if a staff member has symptoms

The following covers what to do if there is a single case. If there are two or more cases linked to your business, then please refer to the section and advice on outbreaks.

By following the government's sector-specific guidance, employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff is suspected or tests positive for COVID-19.

The following should be completed:

  • ensure that individuals who are advised to stay at home following government ‘stay at home’ guidance to stop infection spreading do not physically come to work.
  • enhanced hygiene, hand washing and cleaning regimes should take place in line with the COVID-19: cleaning in non-healthcare settings guidance
  • keep staff informed about suspected COVID-19 cases among their colleagues. If possible, don’t name the individual. This should be used as a chance to remind everyone about the symptoms and make sure they are aware of the process to follow to isolate and get tested.
  • carry out a review of the information and factors in your workplace and the implementation and effectiveness of your control measures.

What staff members must do if they have symptoms

As soon as an employee shows symptoms (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) they must go home immediately to self-isolate.

The staff member should book a test online or call 119.

Cleaning guidance for non-healthcare settings

Public Health England have produced guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare setting. This guidance provides advice for laundry, waste and more for where COVID-19 has been present or suspected.

Test results

If the test comes back negative, the member of staff will no longer need to self-isolate.

If the test is positive, the member of staff should complete the remainder of their isolation period.

Outbreaks

This is when more than one confirmed case is associated with your business.

You must report to PHE Hampshire and Isle of Wight Health Protection Team who can give support and advice to help you manage the situation.

If your business is affected by COVID-19 good and appropriate communication is critical to support your staff, reassure customers and the community, in addition to protecting your reputation.

If you are busy handling a difficult situation, media enquiries can add to the challenge, our communications team may be able to help if you need media advice or support because of COVID-19 cases or outbreaks.

PHE Hampshire and Isle of Wight Health Protection Team - 0344 225 3861 select option 2

Business Regulations and Public Protection - 01983 823000 or covidregs@iow.gov.uk   

Isle of Wight Council Communications Team - media@iow.gov.uk

Test and Trace requirements

The continued opening up of the economy is reliant on NHS Test and Trace being used to minimise transmission of the virus.

It is a legal need for businesses in the hospitality industry to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data, and keep this for 21 days.  This includes pubs, bars and restaurants.

To ensure that businesses are able to remain open, you must:

  • Ask every customer, over the age of 16, who visits your premises to provide their contact details to assist NHS Test and Trace. Refuse entry to those who do not provide contact details.
  • Have a system in place to collect the details from your customers. The system should be able to provide this data to NHS Test and trace, if it is requested. Check what data you need to collect and how it should be managed.
  • Keep a record of all staff working on your premises and shift times on a given day and their contact details.
  • Display an official NHS QR code poster. Customers can 'check-in' using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details. Official NHS QR posters can be generated online.

We have produced a guide for employers and businesses to explain what to do if there is a suspected case of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Guidance for food businesses

It is very unlikely that you can catch COVID-19 from food. It is a respiratory illness. It is not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging. 

We understand that businesses may look to change their business model and diversify during this time.

A business will only be in a position to do this if they are registered as a food business with us.

Further advice is available from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. Advice is also available from the Business Companion website.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have produced a checklist for food businesses who are looking to reopen after a temporary shutdown. 

Financial support

Public Health have published guidance on the financial support available to businesses.