Produced in partnership with local task forces and businesses, we have produced pack of resources and information to help retail businesses reopen safely to the public.
Coronavirus: Resources for businesses to operate safely
The resources and information on this page are designed to help local customer-facing businesses to operate safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
COVID-19 Response: Spring 2021
The Government's “COVID-19 response – Spring 2021” was published on the 22 February 2021.
The full version of the document can be found on the Government's website COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 (Summary)
The comprehensive document sets out 4 steps to the lifting of restrictions, with a projected final date of no earlier than 21 June where it is hoped the majority of restrictions on the way we live our lives and run our businesses will be lifted.
This guidance is based on the information and guidance we have received from government and we will provide updates as further information and clarification is announced.
Further general information and guidance from Government can be found on the Government's website.
The Roadmap: Steps 1 and 2
Step 1 has two dates, 8 and 29 March. The main changes announced here are the return of schools, changes to who and how many people can meet outdoors in public spaces, opening of outside sports and leisure facilities and relaxations on child care arrangements.
This is the only step in the road map that is not preceded by the caution of a “no earlier than” warning to draw attention to the fact these are not absolute, confirmed dates and therefore may change if the infection rate is not going in the right direction.
Step 2 will take place no earlier than 12 April and is the first step in the road map to re-open a significant number of businesses. The following businesses and activities can re-open:
- All retail shops and businesses
- Personal care (close contact services such as hairdressers, tattooists, nail bars)
- Most outdoor attractions
- Indoor leisure services for individual use (Gyms)
- Self -Contained accommodation (single household use only)
- All children’s activities
- Outdoor hospitality (pubs, restaurants, cafes)
- Indoor parent and child groups (up to 15 parents)
This briefing will focus on advice and guidance to the hospitality sector opening outside areas on or after the 12 April – subject to confirmation from Government that this date has not changed.
This is the first step in the reopening of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants for consumption of food and drink on the premises.
There will be no restrictions on opening hours (other than any specific planning or licensing restrictions that may apply) and for sale of alcohol. There will not be a requirement to purchase a substantial meal with a drink.
However, the following restrictions and limitations will apply to all hospitality businesses:
- Outdoor service only (this means that any structure must be at least 50% open to the air)
- Table service only (for ordering, consumption and payment)
- Maximum number of 2 households or up to 6 people from different households
- Social Distancing requirements will apply (2m or reduction to 1m with mitigation)
- Customers to wear face covering when passing through permitted indoor areas, for example for toilet usage.
We expect there will be further guidance and clarification issued over the coming weeks to help determine how the measures and controls will be applied, but it may be expected the previous interpretation and advice will still apply such as:-
- Reduction in the 2 meters Social Distancing separation between customers will require additional steps, or mitigation. Where screens are used between customers from different groups or households, separation can be reduced to 1m only if the screen is substantial, providing good separation lengthways and above head height.
- Where back-to-back seating is the only mitigation, we would expect separation to be at least 1.5m between customers. Please remember that when measuring distances this is between customers and not measured table edge to table edge.
- Side by side seating is not considered to offer any substantial mitigation and therefore separation must remain at 2m
- Controlling customers as they queue to enter, to leave or use the toilet must be considered and controlled. Floor markings, one-way systems and good signage must be in place and staff must be briefed in advance
- Face coverings must be worn by staff and customers when passing through indoor areas (unless an exemption applies)
- Recording customer details for Test and Trace manually or using the NHS QR poster. We understand it will remain mandatory to display the NHS poster and this will need to be positioned somewhere easily accessible for customers and where it does not cause a pinch point for queuing. You are advised to display a number of the posters around your venue.
Use of marquees and gazebos
To make sure that businesses can make the most of the summer, businesses such as pubs and restaurants, will be allowed to use their land more flexibly to set up marquees and provide more outdoor space for diners as restrictions ease, allowing them to serve more customers and recover from the effects of the pandemic.
However to be COVID compliant walls to tents, marquees, gazebos, etc. under the roof must be at least 50% open to the outside. They must not be fully enclosed or substantially closed at any time. So rather than 4 walls, it should be 2.
Doors, windows and passageways are not considered openings.
Preparing for reopening
The roadmap provides businesses and the public with plenty of notice to prepare for the gradual removal of restrictions and we should all make best use of the notice period.
You should consider the following checks and considerations before reopening:
- Review your COVID safe measures and risk assessment, including refresher training for staff, signage and queue management
- If you intend to open for outdoor service on or after the 12 April, you must assess how many customers you can safely accommodate, seated, allowing for adequate Social Distancing, queue management, ordering and payment.
- Make sure you have enough trained staff to manage your customers safely and in accordance with the regulations and guidance. Make sure your customers understand your rules and maximum capacity.
- Where possible, let customers know about your rules and seating capacity before you open. Using Social Media is a good way to get the message out and manage customer expectations.
- Make sure you have systems in place to take orders and payments at the table
- If you provide food, ensure your kitchen staff review your food supplies for durability dates, condition and labelling
- Check for any pest activity
- Make sure your staff have the necessary food, safety and COVID awareness training. Refreshers courses are recommended for all.
- Carry out a deep clean of your Kitchen ready for trading
- Review your menu and allergens controls. It’s recommended to keep your menu simple
- Consider introducing COVID testing for your staff
Training and Support
The Council is here to help with advice and support where we can. Please refer to our website for latest information on COVID controls and guidance. We are also happy to answer specific questions or offer clarifications where we can. Please email your enquiries or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please remember that we do not have all the answers! We expect the Government will issue further guidance on how businesses can reopen in line with the roadmap, and please remember that the dates will be subject to Government review and are not fixed – they are “no earlier than” dates.
Advice for business owners and operators
You must keep on protecting your customers and helping them to protect themselves.
The following tips are for business owners and operators who remain open under the current guidelines.
Before their visit
Where possible, encourage customers to phone-in, use an app, or offer another method for them to place their orders before they visit.
Entering your business
Calculate how many customers can queue in the shop safely to maintain 2 metres social distancing and display this result clearly at the entrance to avoid confusion. We recommend that you provide floor markings outside at 2-meter intervals if queues to enter the business are expected, to assist with effective social distancing. Queues to enter the business should be managed to ensure that safe social distancing is observed, as well as to avoid causing an obstruction on the street.
Inside your premises
Ensure that customer ordering and waiting areas are not overcrowded by sticking to the maximum customer calculation. Try to encourage customers to wear a face covering correctly. It should cover both their mouth and nose. Use floor markings to aid in effective 2-meter spacing for your customers.Try to avoid customers waiting by doors offering entry or exit from the business.
Following their visit
Try to encourage customers to vacate the area as soon as possible once they have collected their purchase. Gatherings in groups is not permitted by law.
Posters to download and print
Government messaging posters
The following posters feature current government messaging. Download and print them to display in your premises.
- Stop the spread of coronavirus: Please do not gather in groups
- Hands face space: Please do not gather in this area
- Welcome: We continue to be open for takeaway service
NHS Test and Trace QR code poster
Support the NHS Test and Trace service by displaying a QR code poster unique to your premises. Businesses are legally required to do this from September 24.
Opening guidelines poster
Tell your customers when you are open and any distancing guidelines that are in place.
Health and Safety Executive poster
Demonstrate your compliance with health and safety guidelines using this Health and Safety Executive (HSE) poster.
Maintaining social distancing in your store
The advice below is to help business owners re-open their stores in a way that is safe for staff and customers.
- Define the number of customers that can reasonably follow social distancing within the store and any outdoor selling areas. Take into account total floorspace as well as likely pinch points and busy areas.
- Limit the number of customers in the store, overall and in any particular congestion areas, for example doorways between outside and inside spaces.
Advice to give your customers
- Encourage customers to shop alone where possible, unless they need specific assistance.
- Remind customers who are accompanied by children that they are responsible for supervising them at all times and should follow social distancing guidelines.
- Encourage customers to use hand sanitiser as they enter and discourage handling products whilst browsing, if at all possible.
Making changes to your store layout
- Look at how people walk through the shop and how you could adjust this to reduce congestion and contact, for example, queue management or one-way flow.
- Use outside premises for queuing where available and safe.
- Ensure any changes take into account reasonable adjustments for those who need them, including disabled shoppers.
- Manage outside queues to ensure they do not cause a risk to individuals or other businesses, for example by introducing queuing systems, using barriers and having staff direct customers.
Making changes to your services
- Suspend or reduce customer services that cannot be undertaken without contravening social distancing guidelines. This may include re-thinking how assistance is provided, for example, using fixed pairs of colleagues to lift heavy objects rather than a single colleague lifting with a customer.
Complete your risk assessment – you will need this to display your COVID-19 Safe Poster
Make the most of your window display
With shorter or different opening hours and customers queuing in front of them, now is the time for many businesses to rethink how their window displays can work even harder to increase sales. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Make your window attractive and interesting – your customers have time to explore with their eyes while they are waiting.
- Make sure your shopfront is clean and glass crystal clear.
- Make a plan and rotate your display regularly to maintain ongoing interest.
- If you are proud of your display/s shout about it – photograph them and post on social media.
- Use your window for competitions to make visitors look harder at what you have got – Find something ‘hidden’, answer a question – related to what you sell.
- Most customers will be need-driven – they will know what they want before they come in – especially if they have to queue first and maybe conscious of time. So, think about what else you sell that a customer might add to their main reason for shopping with you? Load your window, where they may be waiting inside, and till area, all with quality impulse buys to build your average sale.
- Do you offer click and collect (if no, why not?) or home delivery options? Well tell customers clearly in the window along with how they can find you online – don’t lose the sale if they come to buy and find you shut or too busy for them to wait! Make yourself ‘convenient’ to buy from and exciting when they shop in person!
- Light your windows well – This is just as important in the daytime as night time – you have got to shout through those window reflections!
Below is a list of PPE suppliers to consider using.
- Lello Home
- Safety Signs 4 Less (range of products)
- Zoom Display (products for retail safety)
- ARCO (high-vis vests)
- UK Safety Store (range of products)
- Fantasy Prints (signage)
- Positive Images (signage and stands)
- IS Group (signage)
- EFS (portable flooring)
- LED Sky ceilings
- Place Experts
Face covering suppliers
Masks are also available from Boots and Marks & Spencer in Swan Walk Shopping Centre.
- To speak to someone from the Economic Development Team at HDC please contact us on email@example.com and we will be in touch.
- For specific advice on health and safety contact the Council’s Environmental Health Team on firstname.lastname@example.org
Tell your customers when you are open, any guidelines you have in place, and whether you are offering takeaway
Hairdressing and beauty salon poster
Tell your customers when you are open, any guidelines you have in place, and how to book appointments
Tourism and leisure poster
Tell your visitors when you are open, any social distancing measures you have in place, and how visitors can book tickets.