Back to Work: The New "COVID-19 Secure" Guidelines

Updated 23 June 2020

From Saturday 4th July pubs, restaurants & hairdressers/barbers can open

The Prime Minister has announced that from 4th July 2020 pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines.

From the same date, he has set out that two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures, and that people can now enjoy "staycations" in England with the reopening of accommodation sites.

Some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, if they can do so safely – this includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, as well as libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centres.

Revision of the 2 meter distance rule

Following a review, the government has also set out that where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission.

Close proximity venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools, water parks, bowling alleys and spas must remain closed for the time being.

The government has previously set out detailed guidelines for employers as businesses and other organisations get up and running again. These guidelines are designed, in the words of the Prime Minister, to make workplaces "Covid Secure" and are centred around 5 common key points, with more detailed guidance set out for 8 specific working environments.

The Five Key Points are:

1. Work from home, if you can All reasonable steps should be taken by employers to help people work from home. But for those who cannot work from home and whose workplace has not been told to close, the message is you should go to work. Staff should speak to their employer about when their workplace will open. 2. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions

This guidance operates within current health and safety employment and equalities legislation and employers will need to carry out COVID-19 risk assessments in consultation with their workers or trade unions, to establish what guidelines to put in place. If possible, employers should publish the results of their risk assessments on their website and all businesses with over 50 employees are expected to do so.

3. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible

Employers should re-design workspaces to maintain 2 metre distances between people by staggering start times, creating one way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, or changing seating layouts in break rooms.

4. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk

Employers should look into putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other.

5. Reinforcing cleaning processes

Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points.

The detailed guidance documents include a downloadable notice that employers should display to show employees and visitors that they are complying with the guidance.

Detailed Guidance

The website has published 8 guides for a range of different types of work and working environments. You can click on the relevant link below to go to the specific guidance for that type of work:

Where employers operate in more than one type of working environment the relevant guidance for each should be followed.


The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) is being provided with an additional £14 million for extra resources to help them to deal with the Coronavirus situation, including additional inspectors. The government has said that the HSE will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing compliance with the guidelines, including unannounced inspections.

Fines for non compliance by the public are to increase, starting with £100 but doubling with every subsequent infringement up to £3,600.

Read the other Managing Staff Matters summaries via the links below:

If you have any other questions please do get in touch with our team on 01722 325833 or email

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