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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 during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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Decide if you want to require face coverings to be worn on your business premises, even if not 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. 

Be aware that some industry-specific social distancing rules may still be in force.


Choose whether you wish to continue maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support Test and Trace programmes. Consider also whether you will require customers to scan a QR code when entering premises. 

Note that this action is no longer applicable in England, where the Test and Trace programme has closed. However, similar systems are still operating elsewhere in the UK. 

If you choose to continue collecting such data you should:

  1. identify what data may be collected, how this data should be maintained and recorded and when this data can be shared with Test and Trace services

  1. register with the ICO and familiarise yourself with the ICO’s data protection guidance for handling data for contact tracing purposes
  2. handle data in accordance with GDPR, understand how to process personal data legally and how to properly handle data
  3. be sure that your staff know exactly what they should and shouldn’t do with this data by creating or updating a Data protection policy
  4. you need to explain to people why you are collecting this data. This can be done using a template privacy notice provided by the UK Government. Note that this is intended for non-sensitive venues only

For more information on the different Test and Trace systems, see the guidance for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.


Consider the use of the NHS COVID Pass to reduce the risk of transmission at your venue or event. This is a method of COVID-status certification allowing people to demonstrate that they’re at a lower risk of carrying COVID-19 and transmitting it to others (eg through vaccination, testing or natural immunity).

Remain mindful of equality and discrimination laws (eg not everyone may be able to get vaccinated). Consider updating Terms and conditions to reflect this and displaying signs about your business’ COVID-status certification policy.


Understand the rules and guidance on COVID-19 for your business from the UK Government and the Health and Safety Executive.


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.


Take reasonable steps to protect your staff and customers from harm. Be sure to understand the guidelines around cleanliness and handwashing and ventilation. 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. 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 vulnerable. You have a legal duty to protect your workers and implement measures that reduce risk. Make sure you consider the risks to these workers and implement additional safeguards.


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


Once you have made your requisite policies, consult and/or explain them to your staff. This will ensure everyone is aware of the changes you’re planning.


Even with the Government’s vaccination programme, 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 causing you to make 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, including, where necessary, lay-offs and short-term working and coming to an agreement with staff about any changes to employment terms.


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


When you reopen, create zero hours contracts 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 contract.


Consider creating a Business continuity plan to prepare your business in case of future emergencies.

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

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