What should I do as a business
The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. Share the below advice with your employees.
Public Health England (PHE) recommends that the following general cold and flu precautions are taken to help prevent people from catching and spreading COVID-19:
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
- put used tissues in the bin straight away
- wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Managing risks while travelling
Check the UK Government website if you are travelling to an affected area. Advice is in place for what to do if you have returned in the last 14 days from specified countries or areas and this is being updated on an ongoing basis.
This generally means that if you come from a destination which has containment measures in place, such as Wuhan in China, or certain areas of Italy, you should call NHS for advice and practice self-isolation as a pre-caution.
What to do if a member of staff or the public has recently been in your workplace
In most cases there is no need to close the workplace or send other staff home at this point. However, if someone becomes unwell in the workplace and has travelled to China or other affected countries, the unwell person should be removed to an area which is at least 2 metres away from other people.
If possible find a room or area where they can be isolated behind a closed door, such as a staff office. If it is possible to open a window, do so for ventilation.
The individual who is unwell should call NHS 111 from their mobile, or 999 if an emergency (if they are seriously ill or injured or their life is at risk) and explain which country they have returned from in the last 14 days and outline their current symptoms.
For contacts of a suspected case in the workplace, no restrictions or special control measures are required while laboratory test results for COVID19 are awaited. In particular, there is no need to close the workplace or send other staff home at this point.
Most possible cases turn out to be negative. Therefore, until the outcome of test results is known there is no action that the workplace needs to take.
If a confirmed case is identified in your workplace, the local Health Protection Team will provide the relevant staff with advice. These staff include:
- any employee in close face-to-face or touching contact
- talking with or being coughed on for any length of time while the employee was symptomatic
- anyone who has cleaned up any bodily fluids
- close friendship groups or workgroups
- any employee living in the same household as a confirmed case
The UK Government is regularly updating information for businesses and employers on what actions they should take in relation to Covid-19. We will also continue to check and update this page for short insights.
We also advise our members to check if they qualify for relief as part of the Government’s Covid-19 Budget announcements, including the ability for SME’s to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay, among other measures.