COVID-19: Guidance on managing your business safely

User guide

National lockdown - easing of restrictions

On Monday 22 February 2021, the Prime Minister announced details of roadmap out of latest period of national restrictions. These include:

Step 2: No earlier than 12 April 2021

Opening of non-essential retail:

  • Opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres

Leisure and Hospitality:

  • Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups)
  • Most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas.
  • Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.
  • Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew
  • Customers must order, eat and drink while seated (table service).

Step 3: No earlier than 17 May 2021

Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to reopen.

Indoor hospitality will reopen - and as in Step 2, venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew. Customers will, however, have to order, eat and drink while seated.

Other indoor locations to open up in Step 3 include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes.

Read guidance for further details on how the restrictions will be lifted over time.

Businesses urged to download the NHS COVID-19 app

Pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, cinemas and other venues across England and Wales are being urged to download QR codes to prepare for public rollout of the new app.

The NHS COVID-19 App was launched on Thursday 24 September 2020. Once downloaded, it will allow people to report symptoms, order a coronavirus test, check in to venues by scanning a QR code and it helps the NHS trace individuals that may have coronavirus.

Face coverings

Face coverings are now compulsory in England for bar staff, shop workers, waiters and taxi drivers. Businesses are being urged to remind people to wear face coverings where mandated. Face coverings to be worn in the following settings.

  • Customers in private hire vehicles and taxis
  • Customers in hospitality venues who must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.
  • Staff in hospitality and retail will now also be required to wear face coverings
  • Staff working on public transport and taxi drivers will continue to be advised to wear face coverings
  • Guidance stating that face coverings and visors should be worn in close contact services has now become law (from Thursday 24 September 2020).

Read Coronavirus (COVID-19): What has changed – 22 September 2020 (GOV.UK)

Rule of six for hospitality businesses

The Government has announced that hospitality venues in England are now legally required to enforce the rule of six or face a fine of up to £4,000. Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants will now need to take bookings of no more than six people, ensure people are not meeting in groups of more than six on their premises, and to ensure there is sufficient space between tables. Businesses who break the rule are liable to be fined.

View Venues required to enforce rule of 6, NHS QR code posters and contact logs (GOV.UK).

Risk assessment template

The Risk Assessment template has been developed to help businesses implement the Government COVID-19 secure guidelines.


Here are some signs for businesses to print off and put on display to remind customers to adhere to social distancing.

Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020 notice 

The Government recommends that businesses and employers display the Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020 notice in their workplaces to show they have followed the 'Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)' guidance. This notice includes an HSE contact number for workers to report any concerns that they may have.

Early outbreak management

Public Health England has produced guidance on what you should do to manage a possible outbreak. This information provides key steps to quickly identify and contain any potential COVID-19 outbreak.

Read guidance for:

Guidance for workplaces 

Wandsworth Council has produced a guidance leaflet on how to safely operate your business.

See further guidance on how to be safe at work:

Businesses that must remain closed


Water and legionella

Social distancing

How to keep social distancing at work:

Travel advice

For help and advice on how to protect people from coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace contact the HSE.