Reopening and trading safely

In retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors, COVID-secure workplace guidelines will become legal obligations. Businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach these rules. Many businesses cover more than one type of workplace. Find the information most relevant to your business by using the government's guidance finder.

Covid-secure guidelines will now become legal obligations and businesses can be fined up to £10,000 for repeated breaches.

Rule of six and social distancing

From 18 September, regulations came into force to ensure that hospitality businesses comply with the rule of six and maintain social distancing between customers.

It is an offence for a business to fail to adhere to this when taking a booking, to allow entry to a group of more than six people or to fail to advise groups not to merge in ways that breach the rules.

Businesses also need to ensure adequate distance between tables (2m or 1m+) and prevent customers from dancing.

Legally enforcable restrictions for businesses

A series of new restrictions to try to stop the spread of Coronavirus in England have been announced and are applicable from 24 September 2020.

  • businesses selling food or drink, social clubs and other indoor leisure facilities, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This includes takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm
  • pubs, bars and restaurants will be restricted to table service only (for groups of up to six), except for takeaways
  • face coverings are now compulsory for bar staff and non seated customers, shop workers, waiters, staff in close contact services and for customers in private hire vehicles or taxis - businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where mandated
  • employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self isolate to come to work

General guidance for operating safely

Layout and routes

  • try to limit the number of ways into and out of your business. If possible, keep your exit and entrance points separate
  • consider one-way routes inside your premises
  • put clear social distancing signs in your place of business, visible from the outside, so customers will understand your layout

Limit numbers

  • limit the number of customers in your premises at any one time, based on the size and layout of your space
  • encourage customers to shop alone if possible
  • have a colleague greet customers at the entrance and explain the social distancing measures inside, this employee can control the number of customers allowed inside
  • don't run sales and discount events in store. Keep them online to avoid queues and overcrowding.

Queues outside your business

  • if customers have to queue, make sure the queue runs along the longest side of the front of your premises rather than out onto the footpath
  • speak with neighbouring businesses to agree on how you will set up queues, you may be able to agree on a shared queuing space
  • actively manage your queue and stop people from joining itif you have reached your space limit

Deliveries and collections

  • if you offer click and collect, try to arrange collection times outside of busy hours
  • try to arrange your stock deliveries outside of busy hours

Keep pathways clear

Help us keep the pathways clear - do not put A-boards, flags or other signs outside of your premises or anywhere on public footpaths.

Consider water stagnation

If your building was closed or has seen reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease.