Social Distancing Guidance For Business

Barnsley Council understands that businesses may be able to and may wish to continue to trade during this time. The following advice covers required changes for those businesses obligations that you still must comply with.

For full details, please visit The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020

From 15 June 2020, non-essential retail will be allowed to reopen. See what support is available to enable you to do this safely here.

Social distancing is a key public health measure introduced by Public Health England to reduce the spread of infection. Listed below are some suggested measures for workplaces to enable effective social distancing;

General Information

All staff need to be informed of the background of coronavirus (COVID19) including transmission routes, symptoms and what to do if they become ill, self-isolation requirements and other relevant information to be able to effectively control the spread of coronavirus. For guidance on this the Government websites should be utilised;
Government List of guidance
Government guidance of social distancing and vulnerable people

Any staff members who feel they have any symptoms of the virus must be allowed to leave work immediately to return home to self-isolate. It is important that any staff who do self-isolate follow the Government guidance on self-isolation

Potentially vulnerable employees

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.

Identify employees who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19). This group includes those who are:

• aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions).

• under 70 with an underlying health condition (i.e. anyone instructed to get a flu jab as an adult each year on medical grounds).

These individuals will need to be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.

Working from Home

Employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home.

Guidance has been produced by the HSE where employees are temporarily working from home.

Travelling to Work

Where it is not be possible to work from home employees can still travel for work purposes, provided they are not showing coronavirus symptoms and neither they nor any of their household are self-isolating.

Whilst travelling to work employees will still need to observe the social distancing guidance whilst travelling, as far as is practical. this means staying 2 metres (6ft) apart from other people.

If employees have to travel to and from work using public transport, they should ensure they practice social distancing on board the vehicle by sitting separately from other passengers. They should also practice social distancing in any queues at stations or bus stops etc.

Office Work

Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able, where possible, to follow Public Health England guidelines on social distancing such as seating at desks at least 2 metres apart. Clear marking on floors of 2 metres may also enable staff to maintain social distance within offices.

Facilities must be provided that allow for adequate hand washing.

It is important that all desks and equipment are regularly cleaned and disinfected along with welfare facilities and toilets in Offices.

Staff Canteen

The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 require Workplace canteens to close, except where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food. Therefore, staff should be encouraged to bring their own food to enable the catering part of canteens to close where possible.

Within the canteen arrangements should be made for separation of at least 2M between staff at tables. The staggering of breaks will also enable for distancing of staff within canteen facilities.

Any queues should be managed to allow for social distancing, with clear marking identifying adequate separation distances.

At tills, where possible, allow staff to pay via ‘contactless’ card rather than using cash.

Entering / Exiting the Workplace

Where possible staggered start and finish times should be allowed to prevent overcrowding and people congregating close to each other. A further measure to allow this would be to control the entry and exit of the workplace to ensure staff remain a minimum of 2 metres apart when they are entering and exiting the workplace, this may be achieved by reducing the numbers arriving to work to smaller groups.

Clear marking on floors identifying 2 metre separation may be made at entrances, exits and within the workplace areas to help staff maintain 2 metre separation when within the workplace areas.

Where possible, introduce a ‘one way’ system to enable social distancing and this can also be extended to corridors and stair cases within buildings too.

Hand washing facilities should be available where entering and exiting the workplaces, where this isn’t practical hand sanitisers stations should be available.

A further measure that may be introduced is the relaxation of staff ‘swiping in and out’ to avoid any congregation of staff and avoid them all using the same equipment within a short period of time.

Break Times

Staff break times should be staggered to allow for distancing within the welfare and break facilities. Ideally they should be split so that there is no ‘overlap’ to ensure maximum social distancing can be achieved.

Distancing in the workplace

Employers must ensure that social distancing and hygiene precautions are in place to reduce the risks of transmission of COVID19. Examples include fixing exit doors open where possible (not fire doors) and putting supervision and management in at key locations to remind staff to comply.

Posters and signs in all areas should be put up to constantly remind staff of business’ and their own responsibilities in regards to social distancing. They may also utilise any public address system they have to regularly communicate reminders to staff.

Employers may put clear marking on floors to help staff maintain social distance with either markings made with paint or tape. This may be outside the workplace for areas like smoking shelters and routes in and out of the buildings. It may also be inside to distance between workstations and working areas. Where possible some workstations should be removed or re-located to enable 2 metre distancing within the workplace.

Employers may also consider the use of PPE, such as masks, particularly if they identify tasks that may compromise any distancing measures that have been introduced.

Where staff are customer facing the employer may choose to install sneeze shields in place to protect staff at service counters and checkouts. Employers should encourage their customers to use contactless payment rather than cash.

Cleaning / Disinfecting

COVID-19 is thought to survive on hard surfaces for up to three days which is why cleaning and disinfection routines throughout the workplace are critical to minimise its spread.

Ideally any regularly used contact points need constant cleaning such as door handles, railings, vending machines, welfare facilities (boilers) and other regularly used equipment.

For any retailers, cleaning and sanitising trolleys and baskets should occur between use. Also

contact areas such as screens on checkouts and debit card PIN pads should be regularly cleaned.

Hand washing

When washing hands they should be washed for at least 20 seconds. Ensure staff are handwashing regularly and that wash hand basins are provided with warm running water, anti-bacterial soap and paper towels. Ideally, hands should be washed;

  • On arrival at work
  • After touching anything that customers, staff or delivery drivers may have contaminated
  • After touching hand contact surfaces such as handrails or door handles
  • Always after using the toilet or going into the toilet areas
  • After touching your face, sneezing or coughing
  • In between ALL tasks
  • After cleaning
  • After smoking
  • After handling and opening packaging, money, receipts and cleaning supplies
  • Any time your hands are contaminated
  • After touching rubbish
  • Regularly

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