As we continue into June, many small businesses in the UK remain closed as per the government’s rules. Affected businesses include restaurants, cafes, pubs, hairdressing and beauty salons, some other retail outlets, leisure facilities, B&Bs, hotels and caravan parks.
The hope is, that on the 4th July, some currently closed businesses will be allowed to reopen. This is providing the government’s five tests have been met, and that affected businesses follow the new ‘COVID-19 Secure’ guidelines. Read about the government’s plan to rebuild.
Working safely during the pandemic
If you run a small business that’s closed because of coronavirus, you’ll need to implement the government’s guidance on workly safely before you can reopen. There are different guides available for specific types of work – view them here.
Alongside the industry-specific guidance, there are five steps you should follow to create a safe working environment. Briefly, these are:
1. Undertake a COVID-19 risk assessment
Before reopening, you should consider all the relevant risks concerning COVID-19 that affect your premises, workforce and customers. More information about risk assessment and risk management can be found at the HSE website.
2. Upgrade hygiene and cleaning practices
Handwashing and surface cleaning should be increased appropriately. Any workers, clients or customers should be informed about hygiene practices and encouraged to wash and/or sanitise their hands regularly.
3. Encourage home working if possible
You may not have the type of business where you can work from home yourself, or have employees working from home. But if you do, you should. Consider what technology and resources you need to implement home working and have regular updates with staff to ensure they feel supported.
If you or your employees can’t work from home, consider how to make the journey into work safer. The current guidance is that public transport should be avoided if possible, and people should use a car, or bike to work instead. From Monday 15th June, face coverings must be worn on public transport.
4. Continue to promote social distancing
The 2-metre rule is still in effect, though this may be reduced in the future. Where possible, you should ensure social distancing can be maintained in the workplace. Mark out areas or floorspace to help people stay 2m apart, use individual workstations and use signage where appropriate.
If your business involves customers visiting your premises, try to reduce or control footfall, either by encouraging appointment-only visits or by sectioning off certain areas.
5. Manage transmission risk
Where it’s not possible to stay 2m apart at work, you’ll need to think about ways to manage the risk of coronavirus transmission. That might involve wearing PPE or face coverings, using screens or barriers, staggering employee arrival and departure times, or creating fixed ‘bubbles’ of employees.
*The government’s advice on coronavirus is constantly evolving, so it’s important to check for updates regularly.
Taking stock of coronavirus impact
You’ll no doubt be keen to work out the financial impact that coronavirus is having on your business. If you need help with examining your financial accounts, to identify any issues or ways to free up cash flow, we’re here to help. Get in touch today.