A Letter from SBC to Night Time Economy Businesses
We are sure that you are aware that since the 19th July 2021 almost all of the Coronavirus specific restrictions and requirements imposed on businesses have been lifted due to the success of the NHS vaccination campaign.
Whilst this does provide everyone more freedom we must continue to remain cautious as Coronavirus is still in circulation within the general population of the UK. Therefore contracting Coronavirus still presents a risk to health and life and it is important that all businesses take the necessary steps in line with their obligations under Health and Safety legislation.
Since Monday 16th August there have been significant changes to the requirements on when to self-isolate and full guidance can be found here.
Businesses will still be required to carry out an assessment of contacts with a positive case of COVID-19 within their workplace and identify and ensure those required to do so isolate. Identified contacts should also be encouraged to obtain a PCR test.
In addition, there are a number of actions that businesses need to take as a priority to ensure that they are managing the risks associated with Coronavirus, to help keep customers and employees safe.
There are six steps that the UK Government are recommending to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during Coronavirus:
1. Complete a health and safety risk assessment that includes the risk from COVID-19
Complete a risk assessment, considering the reasonable adjustments needed for staff and customers with disabilities. Share it with all your staff. Keep it updated. Find out how to do a risk assessment.
2. Provide adequate ventilation
You should make sure there is a supply of fresh air to indoor spaces where people are present. This can be natural ventilation through opening windows, doors and vents, mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts, or a combination of both. You should identify any poorly ventilated spaces in your premises and take steps to improve fresh air flow in these areas. In some places, a CO2 monitor can help identify if the space is poorly ventilated. High capacity areas (e.g. dancefloors and bars) should have suitable and sufficient fresh air ventilation to ensure the risk of possible Coronavirus transmission is minimised. This should be informed by a robust risk assessment as mentioned above. There is plenty of free guidance available from the Health and Safety Executive on ventilation and air conditioning during the pandemic. There is also specific COVID-19 ventilation guidance from the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) which is signposted from the HSE website.
3. Clean more often
It’s especially important to clean surfaces that people touch a lot. You should ask your staff to wash and thoroughly dry their hands regularly. There should be access to suitable hand washing facilities for both customers and staff. Hand sanitiser can be used in addition should washing facilities not be readily accessible.
4. Turn away people with COVID-19 symptoms
Staff members or customers should self-isolate if they have a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste. They must also self-isolate if they:
· have tested positive for COVID-19
· live in a household with someone who has symptoms, unless they’re exempt from self-isolation
· have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace
If you know that a worker is legally required to self-isolate, you must not allow them to come to work. It’s an offence to do this. Find out more about who should self-isolate.
5. Enable people to check in at your venue
You’re no longer legally required to collect customer contact details, but doing so will support NHS Test and Trace to contact those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 so that they can book a test. You can enable people to check in to your venue by displaying an NHS QR code poster. You do not have to ask people to check in or turn people away if they refuse. If you choose to display a QR code, you should also have a system in place to record contact details for people who want to check in but do not have the app.
6. Communicate and train
Keep all your workers, contractors and visitors up-to-date on how you’re using and updating safety measures.
Please take the time to read and digest the guidance document relevant to your business sector in full found here.
In addition to these measures, the Director of Public Health would like to advise businesses of best practice and should seek to put in place extra controls. We are recommending that businesses:
· Encourage staff to take regular lateral flow device (LFD) tests. These are quick and very easy to obtain throughout the borough – how to obtain free test kits
· Conduct a “prior to coming into work” pre-screening questionnaire for staff to target mild symptoms and ensure potential cases do not come into the workplace. We suggest that the screening questions could be:
o How are you feeling today?
o Do you have any ‘flu, cold or hay fever’ like symptoms?
o Have you in the last 24 hours experienced any of the following however mild
§ Dry cough
§ Aching muscles
§ Loss of smell or taste
§ Unusually tired
§ Any new signs and symptoms?
Those with mild symptoms and a negative LFD should be advised to seek a free PCR test
· Promote vaccinations to your workforce. Free vaccines are available to all of those over the age of 18 years old. Vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of getting serious ill or dying from COVID-19, reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 and protect against COVID-19 variants.
· Promote the use of face coverings amongst staff, to minimise risk of transmission from those who are asymptomatic both to other colleagues and your customers (prevention of harm).
· Southend-on-Sea Borough Council have been promoting the #GrabTheJab campaign. Also our Consultant in Public Health, Dr Bharat Pankhania has produced a video answering common questions about COVID-19 found here.
· You are encouraged to have a voluntary vaccination status register for your workforce so as to quickly identify those members of staff that will be required to isolate for 10 days, if you have identified them as having been in contact with a positive COVID-19 case in your workplace. This will also support your business continuity planning.
All licensed premises are required to ensure that they are meeting the licensing objectives which are:
· The prevention of crime and disorder;
· Public safety;
· The prevention of public nuisance
· The protection of children from harm
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council recognises the important role which our licensed premises play in the local community, however it is the responsibility of licensed premises to ensure that they are meeting these objectives.
If you have any questions, our teams are here to help, guide and support you. Please email in the first instance to Covidsupport@southend.gov.uk or call 01702 212497
Ø Health & Safety Guidance: www.hse.gov.uk (search for COVID)
There are any different pages available including advice on;
· Risk assessment: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/risk-assessment.htmt
· Making a workplace COVID secure: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/working-safely/index.htm
· Ventilation and advice on air conditioning during the pandemic (CIBSE): https://www.cibse.org/coronavirus-covid-19/emerging-from-lockdown#1
When to self-isolate: Find out more about who should self-isolate