Chelmsford City Council

Coronavirus advice for businesses

England has now moved to Step 4 of the government’s roadmap. This marks the end of national restrictions and the full reopening of our economy. 

Thank you for all your hard work in taking measures to protect your staff and your customers.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic is not over and infection rates within Essex are continuing to rise, especially amongst the younger age groups.


Your responsibilities

Pandemic safety measures have been prescriptive national laws, but the responsibility for deciding on restrictions is now partly down to individual businesses. This may allow you to tailor measures to suit your business.

With this new freedom comes a significant responsibility. It is now down to you to choose what measures you put in place to protect your staff and customers, while continuing to trade successfully. Some businesses will choose to keep many measures, as they consider them useful controls. Others may remove, change or add new controls as they see fit.

However, it is not an option to do nothing. The key to getting this balance right is the use of a systematic risk assessment.

On 14 July, to help you with this process, the government published Working Safely During Coronavirus (Covid-19): guidance from Step 4. It requires all businesses to develop an outbreak management plan.

Scientific research has shown that transmission is mostly via aerosol dispersal in poorly-ventilated indoor spaces, rather than via touching contaminated surfaces. This means that ventilation within your premises should be at the forefront of your risk assessment controls. You can find specific information via:

The HSE have published revised guidance on Making your workplace COVID-secure. This explains what you should consider in your risk assessment. By applying this guidance to your business, you can be confident that you are doing everything necessary to keep your staff and customers safe.


Inform us now

You must also nominate a single point of contact, to keep up-to-date records of cases, follow up actions and co-ordinate with external agencies about outbreaks.

 You should give us the details of your nominated co-ordinator, including a direct dial telephone number and email address. This will allow us to reach the correct person quickly if needed future. 

Moving to Step 4 will inevitably result in increased community transmission. Figures from Public Health England show that infection rates in this area are going up rapidly, due to the more infectious delta variant. Therefore, it’s highly likely that both your staff and customers will contract Covid-19 in the coming months.

You need to develop robust procedures if you suspect a positive case in your workplace. This will help to identify and remove any close contacts quickly, to prevent onward transmission. Staff absence due to self-isolation pose a significant risk to your company, so it is in your interest to keep Covid-19 out of your workplace.

If there are multiple cases linked to your business, our Environmental Health team or the Essex and Southend Contact Tracing Service (ESCTS) will contact you. They will carry out a workplace assessment to see if they need to put an outbreak management response in place.

Proactive lateral flow testing

Most staff who develop coronavirus symptoms will feel unwell and choose to self-isolate independently. However, it can be hard to identify and exclude asymptomatic cases. We recommend that you advise staff to test themselves twice a week using Lateral Flow Tests (LFT). This will identify people who are carriers of the virus but not unwell. Anyone can now order free packs of LFTs for personal use online.

You can also collect LFTs from many pharmacies and some libraries in the borough. You can find your closest collection site at maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/

We can also supply you with LFTs on request. You need to email safe.support@chelmsford.gov.uk with the number of staff willing to test to request some.

It is important that anyone to report the results of your test.


Postal Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests

We currently have a small stock of postal PCRs for businesses, which we supply on request. 

You can email safe.suport@chelmsford.gov.uk and provide your business name and a contact number and/or email to request them.

If Track and Trace tell you that you are a close contact of someone that has tested positive for the Omicron variant, you must:

  • book yourself a PCR test
  • self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of the result of the PCR test

This applies even if you are double vaccinated and/or have had a booster jab.

If you are a close contact of someone with the Delta variant and you are double vaccinated or under 18 years of age, you can carry on as normal. However, you need to carry out a daily lateral flow test.

You can arrange a PCR test via NHS Test and Trace in the workplace.

The government has removed the legal requirement for staff, visitors and customers to check-in via the NHS Track & Trace App (or equivalent written records). However, it strongly advises that you continue to use existing systems on a voluntary basis.

This will provide you with the right information to help in any subsequent outbreak investigation. It will support NHS Test and Trace to contact people exposed to COVID-19, so that they can book a test. This will help us to stop the spread of the virus, protect society and support businesses to stay open.

The UKHospitality.org website has useful information and we suggest you check their FAQ section periodically, as they update their advice regularly.

This will continue as before. We will work with the Police to respond to COVID 19 complaints, in line with our complaint’s procedure. 

According to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, you have a duty of care to those that you employ and those that visit your premise. This duty of care includes having a Covid 19 Risk Assessment.

You can find out about what grants you may be able to claim, as well as other useful help, advice and links on our Coronavirus for business section.

You can also get more information and support for businesses by:

Since Wednesday 15 December, some event organisers, venues and businesses have to use the COVID status checks as a condition of entry.

You can read the government guidance for carrying out checks.

You can also access a toolkit for venues to help you comply.

Keep up to date

We are asking all businesses to sign up to the  Chelmsford business e-newsletterand our closed  Facebook Group which is for businesses only. 

We will update these channels as regularly as possible to make sure your business has access to the latest information. 

 

Other forms of financial assistance

You can also read about other funding schemes offered by external organisations.

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Last updated: 17 December 2021

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