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Covid-19 Reopening Guidance
Covid-19 Autumn-Winter Guidance
There has been widespread media coverage following the Government announcement of the Autumn-Winter Plan, there are two versions of the plan depending on the national Covid-19 situation:
Plan A – which aims to continue the positive progress that has been made through vaccination, testing and people isolating if they have symptoms, preparing the country for future challenges, while ensuring the NHS does not come under unsustainable pressure;
Plan B – which will come into force if the data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure. Plan B prioritises measures which can help control transmission of the virus while seeking to minimise economic and social impacts.You can read more about the plans here.
Over autumn and winter, the Government will aim to sustain the progress made and prepare the country for future challenges, while ensuring the National Health Service (NHS) does not come under unsustainable pressure. The Government have set out Plan A and Plan B, a comprehensive approach designed to steer the country through autumn and winter 2021-22.
To support businesses through the autumn and winter period, the Government will continue to provide up-to-date Working Safely guidance on how employers can reduce the risks in their workplace. Businesses should consider this guidance in preparing their health and safety risk assessments, and put in place suitable mitigations.
By law, businesses must not ask or allow employees to come to work if they are required to self-isolate.
In addition, businesses are encouraged to:
- Ask employees to stay at home if they are feeling unwell.
- Ensure there is an adequate supply of fresh air to indoor spaces. Businesses should identify any poorly ventilated spaces, for example by using a CO2 monitor, and take steps to improve fresh air flow in these areas. Advice on how to balance ventilation and keeping temperatures comfortable can be found here
- Provide hand sanitiser to enable staff and customers to clean their hands more frequently, and clean surfaces which people touch regularly.
- Display an NHS QR code poster for customers to check in using the NHS COVID-19 app, so they are alerted if there’s an outbreak and can take action to protect others. You can produce a QR code here.
- Consider using the NHS COVID Pass.
If the Government’s announces the implantation of Plan B the following will be implemented:
- Communicating clearly and urgently to the public that the level of risk has increased, and with it the need to behave more cautiously.
- Introducing mandatory vaccine-only COVID-status certification in certain settings.
These settings include
- nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques: all nightclubs, dance halls and discotheques would be in scope. In addition, any other setting that shares specified characteristics with these venues would also be in scope. This would be determined by a setting meeting all of the following criteria:
- is open between 1am and 5am
- serves alcohol during this period
- has a dance floor or space for dancing to be used by members of the public
- provides music for that dancing
- indoor events with 500 or more attendees: events at indoor settings with 500 or more attendees where attendees are likely to stand or move around and where these attendees have not been allocated seating
- outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees: events at outdoor settings with 4,000 or more attendees where attendees are likely to stand or move around and where these attendees have not been allocated seating
- very large events with 10,000 or more attendees: events at settings with 10,000 or more attendees, irrespective of how many attendees are seated.
- Legally mandating face coverings in certain settings.
You can help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by having adequate ventilation in the workplace. As an employer, you need to ensure that you have an adequate supply of fresh air (ventilation) in enclosed areas to help protect your employees and customers. You can do this by using natural ventilation such as opening windows, doors or air vents, or mechanical ventilation such as fans or ducts.
You can find out more by visiting www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation/index.htm
HSE have worked in partnership with the British Occupational Hygiene Society to develop a fast, easy tool for undertaking initial assessments of workspaces in respect to the provision of general ventilation as a control of Covid-19 transmission.
The tool can be found here.
Please note: This is not an ‘expert’ tool and is not intended to be a detailed assessment of ventilation. It is designed to assist businesses begin their journey into understanding their building ventilation and encourage simple actions such as opening windows or installing additional wall vents to help reduce the risk of aerosol transmission.
Employers and others must continue to follow statutory health and safety requirements, conduct a risk assessment, and take reasonable steps to manage risks in their workplace or setting, as set out in the below guides.
To support businesses through this next phase, the Governments ‘Working Safely’ guidance will continue to provide advice on precautions employers can take to manage risk and support their staff and customers.
Please read the guidance and consider the potential risks within your premises and decide which mitigations are appropriate to adopt.
You can find the guidance for your sector below:
Retail and Close Contact
Events and Attractions
Hotels and Guest Accommodation
Office, Factories and Labs
Construction and Outdoor Work
Positive cases in the workplace
The government requires all positive COVID-19 cases in the workplace to be reported to the Local Authority. You can do this by following this link: Reporting workplace COVID-19 cases - Wakefield Council.