COVID-19: Environmental health guidance & resources for business
The principal source of up-to-date information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and what you need to do is on the Government website, GOV.UK.
At the heart of the advice is the requirement to conduct a COVID-19 risk assessment that is specific to your business, with the national guides providing suggestions as to how to achieve this in different types of workplaces.
National guidance does change – so remember to regularly check the areas relevant to you and your business for the latest developments.
Employers have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site. Use this Coronavirus guidance to help you carry out a risk assessment and make sensible adjustments to the site and workforce.
Spot checks: Making sure businesses are COVID-secure and complying with lockdown:
We are working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to contact businesses in our area to make sure they are COVID-secure and complying with current lockdown regulations including ensuring staff are working from home wherever possible and to help control the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The purpose of the spot checks is to ensure businesses are aware of the COVID-secure guidance and stay at home guidance that applies to their business, and that they are acting upon it.
During the checks we provide advice and guidance to manage risk and protect workers, customers and visitors but where some businesses are not managing this, we will take immediate action. We will also assist businesses making the best use of the free testing for COVID including asymptomatic or lateral flow testing.
Enforcement action can range from the provision of specific advice, issuing enforcement notices, stopping certain work practices until they are made safe and, where businesses fail to comply, this could lead to prosecution.
We continue to work with our local public health colleagues to support the prevention, mitigation and control of infection and the understanding of any patterns in confirmed coronavirus cases in the area.
Deputy Director of Public Health for the City of London, Chris Lovitt, said “Businesses have a vital role in helping us to reduce COVID infections, support workers to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. This work will help ensure staff and customers are kept safe during the lockdown especially in businesses which are providing essential services.
All businesses are in scope for spot checks which means businesses of any size, in any sector can receive an unannounced check to ensure they are COVID-secure. By making sure that businesses have measures in place to manage the risks, we can benefit the health of the local community as well as support the local and national UK economy.”
If you are looking to re-open your business, or you are already trading, please use the following resources to ensure everything is in place to operate safely, and to find further help and support.
Have you let us know you are reopening? Please contact the Public Protection team
The following checklists are designed to help a range of businesses reopen and/or operate safely in respect to minimising the transmission of Covid-19.
City of London
We have produced a checklist (see below PDF), that will help you to put in place measures in your workplace to keep both employees and customers safe.
Employers that want to reopen their business have a legal responsibility to protect their employees and other people on site. Use this guidance to help you carry out a risk assessment and make sensible adjustments to the site and workforce. If you do not carry out a risk assessment, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) or the City of London Corporation could issue an enforcement notice.
Employees can use this guidance to check what their workplace needs to do to keep people safe. This guidance is only for businesses that are allowed to reopen in England. This guidance is only for businesses that are allowed to reopen in England is only for businesses that are allowed to reopen in England.
Have you let us know you are reopening? Please email the Public Protection team.
The following checklists have been produced to support you to reopen a food business safely during COVID-19 and after a period of inaction. As well as checking you are adhering to the guidance on the government's website, the Food Standard Agency checklist and guidance help you ensure you have considered issues like:
- pest control
- waste collection
- changes to your Food Safety Management System
Guidance for licensed premises
As increasing numbers of businesses in the City of London seek to re-open their premises in July 2020, we acknowledge the importance of helping businesses adjust to new ways of working and to succeed in these new and challenging conditions, whilst promoting a safe environment for all. Please find the guidance below.
Businesses reminded to check water
As lockdown continues to ease, businesses and building owners are reminded to check the maintenance of their premises as they reopen.
We are warning businesses of an increased risk of Legionella bacteria being present as a result of water systems not being used during the lockdown period.
Legionnaires’ disease can be contracted by breathing in small droplets of water suspended in the air which contain Legionella bacteria. Symptoms include fever, a non-productive cough and pneumonia.
The disease can be more serious in men aged over 50, smokers and people with chronic lung disease and weak immune systems. It does not spread from person to person.
People who manage or own buildings are being asked to follow the latest advice.
If your water system has not been used regularly there is a risk of Legionella. You must make sure it is safe before using it. The Health and Safety Executive website and Water UK can provide further information.
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) have also produced guidance on Legionnaires’disease: lockdown risks and reopening safely.
Does your business need on-street signage to help your visitors follow safe social distancing when queueing outside the premises? Complete our short form to request any of our temporary vinyl signage.
Public Health England/NHS Resources
Public Health England are providing a number of campaign resources for download on their website.
Please see below for posters:
Be alert, observe the two metre rule
We're open for deliveries and collection only
Closed due to Covid
For your safety
Other sources of information are available to augment the general advice and guidance.
Business Companion provides free, impartial legal guidance for businesses. They produce a range of Bulletins with impartial, Government-backed information and guidance.
Food Standards Agency (FSA)
The FSA have produced guidance on Reopening and adapting your food business during COVID-19
Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE) are leading the UK government response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak but you can get more information from the HSE on specific work-related safety and health.
The Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST) have created a COVID-19 Knowledge Hub to consolidate advice, practical guidance and links to resources to support individuals, smaller food businesses and larger food operations.
The Society of Food Hygiene and Technology (SOFHT), SOFHT have created a Guide to Cleaning and Disinfection Regime with regard to novel Coronavirus. This guidance includes discussion on the likely efficacy of various cleaning agents.
The Society of Occupational Medicine have produced a toolkit in partnership with Acas, Mind, BITC and CIPD. This document is designed for professionals to use to provide advice for employers and employees returning to work so that employers can manage risk alongside their legal obligations.
Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) The CIEH have a Covid-19 resource page. This includes advice on Legionnaires’disease: lockdown risks and reopening safely.
Other Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations are providing coronavirus related support for specific sectors. You can get more information on the Coronavirus support from Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations page on GOV.UK.
If you need more information, please email the Public Protection team
We’re backing a new campaign from the Food Standards Agency (FSA), which offers support and guidance to new and established businesses, as they welcome customers back in the ‘new normal’.
‘Here to Help’ was launched in August 2020 and aims to help businesses that have had to diversify in order to continue to trade during the COVID -19 pandemic, as well as newly established small and micro food businesses. This includes food delivery, home catering, takeaway or online sales.
If your business has a new or different operating model, the Here to Help campaign provides advice on the food hygiene and safety rules that need to be considered and the importance of registering your food business.
Employers of all sizes and sectors in the Square Mile can access free support and signposting on workforce health and wellbeing through Business Healthy, which is delivered through the City Corporation’s Public Health team. Visit Business Healthy to find out more and register your organisation as a member.
National restrictions from 16 December 20
Business assessment checklist