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COVID-19: Businesses: Reopening and working safely

Last updated: 16 July 2021

Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Changes to restrictions
  3. Testing
  4. Water safety checks
  5. Outdoor structures and seating
  6. Get in touch

Overview

For Government advice, visit 

We'll update this page as more guidance becomes available.

Changes to restrictions

From Monday 19 July, most business restrictions will be removed.

  • All remaining closed businesses and venues such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues will be able to reopen.
  • All capacity limits at sporting, entertainment or business events will be lifted.
  • Hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and bars will no longer be required to provide table service or follow other social distancing rules.

Employers still have a legal duty to manage risks to those affected by their business. The way to do this is to carry out a health and safety risk assessment, including the risk of COVID-19, and to take reasonable steps to mitigate the risks you identify.

For more about risk assessments go to HSE: Risk assessments.

All businesses should follow the principles set out at GOV.UK: Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19).

This guidance sets out a range of mitigations employers should consider including:

  • Cleaning surfaces that people touch regularly
  • Identifying poorly - ventilated areas in the venue and taking steps to improve air- flow;
  • Ensuring that staff and customers who are unwell do not attend the workplace or venue;
  • Communicating to staff and customers the measures you have put in place

NHS COVID Pass

The Government is encouraging and supporting businesses and large events to use the NHS COVID Pass in high risk settings. The Government will work with organisations where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of this. If sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the Government will consider mandating certification in certain venues at a later date.

Read the Government guidance for businesses and venues

Read general information about the NHS COVID Pass

NHS Test and Trace

Businesses are also encouraged to continue displaying QR codes for customers wishing to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, or to continue collecting customer contact details to support NHS Test and Trace, however this will no longer be a legal requirement.

Testing

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms must book a test. Visit GOV.UK: Get a COVID-19 test.

People without symptoms can get free rapid lateral flow tests. Visit NHS: Regular rapid tests if you do not have symptoms.

To enquire about on-site or local testing for staff without symptoms, email covidtesting@southtyneside.gov.uk.

For information on what to do if you have a confirmed case in the workplace, see COVID-19 information for businesses.

More about COVID-19 testing in South Tyneside.

Water safety checks

After buildings have been closed, there's an increased risk of waterborne pathogens (such as Legionella bacteria) being present. Think about this before putting water systems back into use.

For information, go to Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH): Legionella guidance (COVID-19).

Outdoor structures and seating

To place tables, chairs or other temporary furniture on the pavement in South Tyneside, you need a licence from South Tyneside Council. More about pavement licences (outdoor seating).

Things to think about when setting up an outdoor structure: 

  • Where outdoor structures are used as smoking areas, at least 50% of the walls must be open and removed from the shelter.
  • Doors, windows and other fittings that can be opened or shut must be counted as part of the enclosed area.
  • Open sides of the structure must be at least 1.5m away from walls, fences, hedges or other obstructions that will impede ventilation.
  • Please also consider your near neighbours for noise and intrusive light impact.
  • Any temporary demountable structures must be erected and maintained by suitably trained and competent persons (such as MUTA registered contractor) and in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. 
  • Stability calculations are needed for larger pole marquees (greater than 12m in span) and framed tents (greater than 9m in span). Discuss this with your contractor supplier. 
  • Small tents or marquees can be used without producing stability calculations and can typically be proven by long established use.
  • You must carry out a suitable and sufficient risk assessment in respect of any temporary structure erected as part of your work activity. This should take account of any tables, chairs or other structures you intend to place within or under the structure. You must also consider what the structure will be used for, what it needs to be able to do, who will use it and how.
  • During use of temporary structures, weather conditions should be monitored. If high winds are forecast or exceed the maximum in-service windspeeds for the design of the temporary structure, then it should be closed from use or taken down. Rainwater pooling on the roof of structures should be regularly removed to prevent overloading and risk of collapse. 
  • In the event of adverse weather conditions, you should know what to do with any structure and any equipment within it to protect its stability. You should also have suitable measures in place to prevent unauthorised persons tampering with any structure, equipment or ballast for example, by erecting a barrier or something similar around the base of the equipment.
  • Anchoring of marquees and tented structures is critical to their stability. The pull-out force that an anchorage stake can withstand depends on ground conditions, angle and the depth of the anchor. The effectiveness of anchorage stakes can vary significantly between different sites. The suitability of anchorage stakes for larger structures should be checked by a competent person using calibrated 'pull test' equipment. The use of ballast / weights can provide a suitable alternative for the anchorage of temporary structures. Care should be taken to ensure ballast / weights at each anchor point provides sufficient resistance to wind uplift to meet with manufacturer instructions / structural engineer's design.
  • You should also have arrangements in place to make sure the structure is regularly inspected by a competent person during the time it is installed, in line with your risk assessment and, if needed, arrange for remedial works.

Get in touch

Please get in touch if you have any further queries or questions about keeping your staff and customers safe, or if you would like to book an advisory visit to your premises to discuss in more detail.

Email us at: 

environmental.healthmailbox@soutyneside.gov.uk

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