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Coronavirus (Covid-19) checklist for businesses

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 require the closure of certain businesses, with restrictions imposed on those businesses which are permitted to remain open.

Businesses must the government guidelines to limit the spread of coronavirus. Where workplaces are open precautions need to be taken to reduce risks to both the workers and the public. This checklist will help you to put in place measures in your workplace to keep both employees and customers safe.

If you are unable to introduce measures to control the risk from coronavirus you may need to consider closing your business.

Employee safety

Employee safety measures
Measure Done
Businesses and workplaces should encourage their employees to work at home. Where staff are required to be at work 2 metre social distancing rules need to be adhered to at all times.. If 2 m cannot be achieved, 1 m may be permitted as long as additional control measures are in place. Staff should also maintain social distancing whilst on breaks, in changing rooms etc  
Businesses must carry out a risk assessment before they reopen in order to identify the risks and controls needed to reduce the spread of coronavirus between staff and members of the public. This checklist should help you do this. You must then put the controls in place in practice. Your risk assessment will need continually updating as new risks emerge or you find that controls are not working. If you have more than 5 employees the risk assessment must be written down. It is best practice to consult your workforce when carrying out your risk assessment as they are the best placed people to identify the risks. You must also have regard to those most vulnerable.  

To protect your staff, you should remind colleagues daily to only come into work if they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating. No one with coronavirus symptoms should be allowed into work

Identify employees who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus. This group includes those who are aged 70 or older and those with underlying health conditions. These individuals will need to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.  
Specific individuals who are at severe risk are to be ‘shielded’ and will have received a medical letter informing them to isolate themselves. It is important that these employees stay at home and do not go to work  
Provide handwashing stations with soap, hot and cold running water, and hygienic drying facilities, and encourage staff to use them. All staff must wash their hands more often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds, particularly after blowing their nose, sneezing or coughing, and before/after using shared equipment and prior to eating. Where facilities to wash hands are not available, hand sanitisers may be used (eg. for a delivery driver).  
Workers should cover any coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue in a bin and immediately wash their hands.Anyone with a persistent cough should not be at work and must be tested for coronavirus.  
Provide suitable personal protective equipment (PPE) where necessary. Face coverings must be worn by retail, leisure and hospitality staff working in areas that are open to the public and where they’re likely to come into contact with a member of the public. PPE should be used as a last resort after exhausting all other risk controls. Ensure that face masks are used correctly and changed safely with clean hands.  
Communicate with staff on a regular basis to remind them to follow social distancing guidelines and wash their hands regularly .Training should be provided on what is expected of employees, and for them to understand the new risks and control measures – carry out spot checks.  
Where possible use digital and remote transfers of material rather than physical format, such as using e-forms, emails and e-banking  
Allocate work spaces that are 2 m apart from other employees (1 m with additional controls), these can be marked out with tape or chalk. Equipment and fittings should be re-arranged to accommodate social distancing.  
Where it is not possible to remain 2 m apart, staff should work side by side or face away from each other, rather than face to face. Consider the use of screens or barriers.Please note that if social distancing cannot be achieved, you must consider if the activity needs to continue in order for the business to operate.  
Try to maintain dedicated work teams, such as ‘buddy systems’, and keep the number of staff members working with each other as small as possible. ie the same 2 people always working together on each shift. This will help to reduce the number of staff that could be asked to self-isolate if someone in your business test positive for coronavirus.  

Increase the ventilation within the premises by opening doors and windows, and using mechanical extraction


Increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfection throughout the premises. Special attention should be given to shared equipment and hand contact surfaces including work surfaces, tables, chairs, switches, door handles, push plates on doors, toilets, hand towel dispensers, taps etc. Check that you are using sanitisers that comply with BS EN 14476, or claim to kill viruses, and ensure that staff are adhering to the correct contact time and dilution rates. A solution of 1:8 bleach and water should kill the virus. You must ensure an adequate supply of cleaning materials is provided


Customers should not be directly in front of staff and counters/tills etc. Options to control risk include providing a physical ‘sneeze screen’ barrier to separate staff and customers and creating exclusion zones around such areas with a customer notice ‘Please stand behind the line whilst being served’


Keep a record of staff rotas and contact information in case it is needed for NHS Test and Trace services. This should be kept for 21 days.


Public safety

Public safety measures
Members of the public must wear a face covering in indoor public spaces, except when sat down at a table to eat or drink. This is now a legal requirement. Refer to the face coverings link for all exemptions. Signage asking people to wear face coverings may help to avoid difficult situations.  
Keep a temporary record of customer / visitor contact information; name, phone number, time and date of visit. This is to assist in the NHS Test and Trace service. Information should be kept for 21 days and then securely discarded. For many businesses a booking system with such information will already be in place. This is now a legal requirement, and you should refuse entry to those unwilling to provide this information. You must also display the official NHS QR code in an appropriate place, for customers to ‘check-in’ as an alternative to providing their contact details.  
Members of the public must wear face covering in indoor public spaces as of the 8 August 2020. This excludes restaurants, bars and pubs. Refer to the face coverings link for exemptions. Signage asking people to wear face coverings may help to avoid difficult situations.  
Introduce telephone, email and internet ordering to limit public access to the premises.  
Provide a delivery service to the public to limit access to the premises.  
If a click and collect service is offered, provide a designated collection time.  
Calculate the maximum number of customers / visitors that can reasonably fit inside (and outside where applicable) your premises whilst following social distancing requirements  
Remind customers/visitors when making bookings/appointments not to visit the premises if they have any of the symptoms, and/or display a sign at the entrance asking them not to enter. Consider asking your customers screening questions upon or before arrival.  
Provide sanitiser with an alcohol content of at least 60% for customers/staff to clean the basket/trolley handle and to sanitise hands.  

Where the public access the premises introduce control measures to implement the 2 metre social distancing. Controls may include:

  • Make it to clear to your customers what your controls are and what is expected of them when visiting your premises. This could be via signage at the entrance of premises. Or for an appointment or booking, this could be via email / text / App prior to their arrival.
  • Limit the number of customers, bookings or appointments, to control entry so that the premises does not become overcrowded.
  • Control the queue outside of premises so that the 2metre rule is observed by those waiting in the queue – customers must not be allowed to congregate or loiter. Use tape or chalk to mark the pavement as to where your customers should wait. (tape to be maintained so as not to cause an environmental issue)
  • Use signage and floor markings to direct people around the premises once inside, and to prevent congestion at pinch points
  • Create a ‘one way’ system where possible, by closing off aisles and using signage to direct customers to move in the same continuous direction
  • Close the premises if it becomes too busy / pause serving new customers
  • Where possible allocate a member of staff to act as stewards to advise customers on social distancing
  • Use of screens and barriers where 2m social distancing cannot be achieved
  • Rearrange indoor and outdoor seating to allow for social distancing
Encourage contactless payments. Place a sign at the till ‘Please use contactless payment if you are able to do so. Contactless payment is available for purchases up to £45  
Frequent cleaning and disinfection of shared customer touch points including hand held checkout devices, keypads at check out, fridge/freezer handles, escalator and staircase handrails, tables, back of chairs, arms rests, light switches, and on site ATMs etc. Consider removing gaming machines etc . This will also include children’s play areas and fitness equipment . Check that you are using sanitisers that comply with BS EN 14476, or claim to kill viruses, and ensure that staff are adhering to the correct contact time and dilution rates. A solution of 1:8 bleach and water is effective in killing the virus. You must ensure an adequate supply of cleaning materials is provided  
Encourage the use of hand sanitiser, or hand washing where possible  
Keep a temporary record of customer/visitor contact information. This is to assist in the NHS Test and Trace service. Information should be kept for 21 days and then securely discarded. For many businesses a booking system with such information will already be in place.  
Remind customers that they must supervision children  

What makes you a contact

What makes you a contact checklist
Direct contact - Face to face contact with a positive case for any length of time, within 1m, including being coughed on, a face to face conversation, unprotected physical contact (skin to skin) or travel in a small vehicle with a case. This includes exposure within 1 metre for 1 minute or longer.  
Proximity contact - Extended close contact (between 1 and 2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with a positive case.  
 If you have a positive case within your work place, you will need to consider whether you and your employees fall into the above 2 categories. If the answer is yes, then you/they will have to self-isolate for 14 days from the last contact with the case. You do not have to get tested for coronavirus if you do not have any symptoms. Only get tested if you become symptomatic  

Hospitality and entertainment – Restaurants, pubs, bars, takeaways, entertainment venues

Hospitality – Restaurants, Pubs, Bars, and Takeaways checklist
All hospitality and entertainment venues selling food or drink must be closed between 10.00pm and 5.00am. This will include takeaways, but delivery service can continue after 10.00pm  
Rule of 6. You must not allow group bookings of more than 6 people who are from different households. Exemptions from this rule can be found in the ‘Rule of 6’ link below  
If you are operating a licenced premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at a table. Customers must eat and drink at a table in any premises selling food and drink to consume on site  
Review your food safety management system to identify any new risks that have been introduced due to Covid 19. This could include changes to production, workflow management, increased cleaning frequencies, staffing and customer interactions, changes in suppliers etc   
Carry out all of your usual required opening and closing checks each day   
Avoid the use of communal condiments such as sauces, sugar, salt and pepper, and the use of communal cutlery holders, as this increases the risk of hand contact transmission. You must either add the condiment for the customer or offer it in individual sachets, and provide cutlery when serving the meal   
Update your allergen information if you have had changes to your food suppliers/products   
Check that all food which has been left in the business whilst it was closed is still safe and of good quality   
Use a dishwasher (and glass wash where applicable) rather than hand washing items   
Cloths and sponges should be changed daily    
Ensure staff know what controls they need to carry out to keep food safe – train new staff and provide refresher training to returning staff   
Minimise contact times between front of house and back of house employees   
Redesign kitchen to allow for social distancing of employees    
Minimise self-service of food, in particular avoiding the shared use of utensils   
Only allow for two different households in one booking. Prevent large bookings   
Prevent customers congregating at the bar. Consideration of table service / use of App for ordering.    
Live performances can take place in front of a live audience, whilst adhering to social distancing and the relevant infection control measures. Audience participation / singing and shouting should be discouraged  
Control measures should be implemented around karaoke, such as being limited to solo singers, and sanitizing hands and the mic before and after use  
No live performances to take place in front of a live audience    
Increase the availability of waste facilities, with increased waste removal   

Hotel and other guest accommodation

Hotel and other guest accommodation checklist
 Measure Done
Reception area considerations:
  • Measures to prevent overcrowding in reception area such as allocated check-in times, or a drop box for keys
  • Make employees accessible via phone/email/app to reduce face to face contact
  • Make the time in common areas as short as possible. This could be by providing your guests with certain information
    before they arrive at your premises – such as contact numbers, appliance instructions, and local information
  • Cleaning of keys/ key cards/ pens between guests
  • Avoid helping with luggage if possible – wash hands afterwards  
  • Face coverings to be worn in common areas as of 8 August
Minimise the use of lifts and person permitted at one time. Regularly clean touch points    

Service of food:

  • Offer room service – knock and step back from the door, and either ask the guest to put the tray back outside of the door once
    finished, or remove from room upon guest departure.
  • Implement a booking system for dining  
Use of ensuite rooms where possible. Shared bathrooms should be avoided or allocated to one household group   
Cleaning of rooms and common areas:
  • Implement a cleaning schedule inclusive of all hand contact surfaces to be cleaned on guest departure
  • Rooms should be well ventilated whilst cleaning
  • Appropriate PPE to be provided such as gloves, aprons and face masks – to be changed between rooms and wash hands.
  • Bedding and towels to be removed gently so as not to disperse potential virus particles into the air
  • Increase time required to clean room
  • For longer stays – only clean room if guests are not present
  • Regularly disinfect common areas and touch points throughout the day 
Bar and dining areas can only be used if compliant with social distancing, and after considering the
measures outlined in the hospitality section above.
Closure of shared sleeping facilities, and consideration to closure of shared facilities such as games rooms and communal kitchens  

Close contact services

Close contact service measures
 Measure Done
Maintain social distancing between your clients    
Where social distancing cannot be achieved between the client and the service provider, PPE should be used such as facemasks or visors. This will be in the form of a visor and a Type II face mask (medical face mask made up of a protective 3-ply construction that prevents large particles from reaching the client or work surfaces).  
Request that clients attend on their own, and arrive to their appointment on time, not early   
Operate an appointment only system   
Review working practices to reduce the time spent with the client    
Please note that facial beauty treatments, piercing of the face, and shaving of the face is not yet permitted  


Toilets check list

 Toilets may be used in premises, however this is a high risk area that would need to be identified in your risk assessment. Things to consider:

  • Size of toilet area / amount of toilets available
  • Amount of sinks available – can one be taken out of use to create wider gaps between users
  • Amount of urinals available – could any be removed/ taken out of use to create wider gaps between users
  • Use of one-use, disposable paper towels
  • Queueing systems in place and clear signage. Queue for toilet must not impact on other queues
  • Operate a 1 in 1 out system if necessary – consideration to a traffic light system
  • Increase in cleaning and disinfection of touch points such as taps and door handles
  • Increased checks to ensure sufficient supply soap and towels
  • Provision of hand sanitiser outside of the toilet
  • Installation of hands free activated toilet flush
  • Installation of hands free activated taps and soap dispenser
  • Provide signage to encourage customers to wash their hands properly and not to congregate in the toilet
  • Consider locking some of the cubicles to avoid too many people using the facilities at once and ask people to wait outside until one is free


Queuing check list
 Measure Done

 Managing your internal queue:

  • Calculate the internal capacity of your premises
  • Decide whether internal alterations are needed to accommodate the queue inside the business, removing any pinch points where possible and identifying any troublesome areas
  • Determine whether a one-way system would be beneficial in guiding customer movement around the business
  • Provide signage to aid customers in their movement around the business
  • Ensure that reasonable adjustments are made for those customers who have accessibility requirements
  • If your business large enough to accommodate a separate entrance and exit, then introduce this.
Managing your external queue:
  • Remove street clutter outside of your premises to keep the entrance clear. This includes A-Boards that could add to the congestion of the walkway
  • Identify the size and direction of the external queuing area and where necessary talk with neighbouring business/ properties to work together and reduce the likelihood of conflict
  • Work on the principle that the length of the queue should not exceed the frontage of the premises, unless your queue can be safely accommodated without blocking other rights of way
  • Ensure signage is visible and displayed in appropriate locations. This may include non-slip markers on the ground and signs in the window display. Provide signage at the end of the queue, indicating that customers should not join until there is space
  • Staff should be confident and proactive in ensuring effective queue flow, manage the capacity of the premises, and monitor customer behaviour
  • Always maintain a clear and visible emergency access/ exit
  • Dependant on the size of your business and the predicted footfall, consider the introduction of a Virtual Queuing System

Things to consider if your premises have been closed

Things to consider measures checklist
Ensure the premises are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before recommencing trading  
Carry out pest control checks. Check for any ingress points that have appeared whilst the premises has been left closed, and look for evidence of pest activity within the premises. If evidence is found you must treat the problem accordingly and prevent a recurrence  
Carry out an inspection of the outside of your premises. This will include external signage, lighting with electrical elements, and general maintenance. Safely remove any damaged or loose signage, and ensure that any required remedial action is carried out by a competent person  
Carry out a legionella risk assessment. If your business has been closed for many weeks your water system may be stagnated. This could lead to an increased risk of legionella. You must flush your systems through prior to trading. Cold water should be less than 20ºc and hot water to 60ºc and above. Further guidance can be found in the links below  

Note: This guidance has been created with the best information available at this time. It will be reviewed and modified in accordance with emerging guidance from the government and other professional bodies.

You can now apply for a free UK-wide industry standard and consumer mark to reassure your customers that your business adheres to Government and public health guidance. This is aimed at the tourism and hospitality sector, demonstrating that you have carried out a Covid 19 risk assessment and put the correct control measures in place. If your business achieved the industry standard, you will be eligible for a free listing on the ‘Know Before You Go’ section of the Visit website

Further information

HSE Coronavirus telephone advice line if you need help and advice on how to protect people from coronavirus in your workplace 0300 790 6787