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Prepare to reopen checklist

This checklist can help you tick off the key things you have to do to protect your customers, employees, and business when opening after a closure or change of working conditions due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions have now been relaxed or removed throughout the UK, and many workplaces have reasonably judged that they no longer need to consider many Coronavirus (COVID-19) related health and safety issues. The Government’s guidelines on working safely during  Coronavirus (COVID-19) have also changed. 

For some businesses, however, it is still appropriate to thoroughly consider how to best mitigate the risks associated with  Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace. Some businesses may still be in the process of returning their employees to the workplace, or returning their business to full operation. This checklist is primarily relevant to these businesses.

Action

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Decide if you require face coverings to be worn on your business premises, even though they’re no longer legally required. 

Remain mindful of equality and discrimination laws (eg not everyone may be able to wear a face covering). Consider updating Terms and conditions to reflect this and displaying signs about your business’ mask policy.

 

Consider removing social distancing stickers and signage as most social distancing guidelines (eg the 1 metre plus rule) have been removed.

If social distancing is still a reasonable and proportionate Coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention measure for your business, ensure that your employees and visitors know why it’s important that they maintain a 1- or 2-metre distance between people. 

 

Decide whether it’s appropriate for you to continue keeping records of staff, customers, and visitors who visit your premises. Test and Trace programmes have now closed in the UK, but collecting this data may still be an appropriate Coronavirus (COVID-19) mitigation measure for some businesses.

If you choose to continue collecting this data you should make sure that you always handle data in accordance with data protection principles under UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018. You must understand how to process personal data legally and how to properly handle data.

You should also: 

For more information, read Data protection for Test and Trace.

 

Understand and adhere to guidance provided by the UK Government and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) regarding living safely with Coronavirus (COVID-19) moving forward, beyond the mandatory pandemic restrictions.

 

Create a Return to work risk assessment and a Health and safety policy to demonstrate legal compliance with health and safety regulations. Find out more about managing risk and Risk assessments at work.

 

Take reasonable steps to protect your staff and customers from harm. For example, consider ensuring that employees maintain cleanliness and enhanced handwashing practices. You may also need to stock personal protective equipment (PPE). 

 

Create a Working from home policy or a Temporary working from home policy if your staff are working from home. These policies set out guidance your staff should follow regarding health and safety and more. If you recall your staff to your premises, their personal needs and responsibilities may have changed, so you may wish to consider flexible working.

 

Remember, even if your staff are working from home, you still have the same level of health and safety responsibilities. Ensure you’re aware of key considerations for homeworkers.

 

Some of your staff may be particularly vulnerable to Coronavirus (COVID-19). You have a legal duty to protect your workers and implement measures that reduce risk, including risks that affect specific individuals within your workforce. Make sure you consider the risks to these workers and implement additional safeguards (eg reasonable adjustments).

 

Before you conclude your policies, be sure that everyone who works for you is taken into account, irrespective of their employment status (eg contractors, employees and workers).

Your health and safety duties as an employer apply to all categories of worker.

 

Once you have made your policies (eg health and safety policies or flexible working policies), consult with and/or explain them to your staff. This will ensure everyone is aware of the changes you’re implementing. 

 

Staff may still become unwell due to COVID-19 or other illnesses. Create a Sickness policy to set out procedures for reporting and managing sickness absences. Find out more about sick pay.

 

Unfortunately, challenging trade conditions may persist, forcing you to consider making redundancies. Be sure to understand the laws and regulations around redundancy, redundancy pooling and selection, and how to make someone redundant.

 

Consider how you will manage your employees during any challenging trading periods after reopening to ensure you’re prepared. This includes, where necessary, considering:

 

Communicate regularly with your staff and customers to increase awareness of your health and safety practices and how your business will be operating moving forward. You can do this by holding staff training sessions for your employees and by having posters or newsletters for customers.

 

When you reopen, create zero hours contracts if required to remain flexible amidst changing demand. Make a Zero hours contract that sets out the employment status and rights and obligations of your zero-hours staff.

 

You may need to make adjustments to your employees’ employment terms and conditions. Make a Change to employment terms letter if you want to notify employees of any changes to their employment contracts.

 

Consider creating a Business continuity plan to prepare your business for any future emergencies.

 
Make your Return to work risk assessment
Get started
Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest