COVID-19: Guidance on managing your business safely

User guide

National lockdown

On Monday 4 January 2021, the Prime Minister announced a new national lockdown.

This means certain businesses are required to remain closed, including:

  • Non-essential retail (these venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect and delivery services)
  • Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery
  • Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons
  • Leisure and sports facilities
  • Entertainment venues
  • Accommodation such as hotels, hostels and guest houses

For further details, please refer to Government guidance.

These pages will be updated with further information as it is received.

Requirements for businesses in the hospitality and entertainment sectors

On 22 September the Government announced that the COVID-secure guidance for all retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors is now a legal obligation, with potentially large fines in place for those who fail to adhere by the new measures. The government’s expectation is the measures described below will need to remain in place until March 2021.

It is now a legal requirement that businesses follow their industry guidance around social distancing, PPE, contact tracing, cleanliness and hygiene. Government guidance for working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19).

Face coverings

  • Customers in private hire vehicles and taxis must wear face coverings (from 23 September)
  • Customers in hospitality venues must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink
  • Staff in hospitality and retail will now also be required to wear face coverings (from 24 September)
  • People who are already exempt from the existing face covering obligations, such as because of an underlying health condition, will continue to be exempt from these new obligations
  • Guidance stating that face coverings and visors should be worn in close contact services will now become law (from 24 September)
  • Staff working on public transport and taxi drivers will continue to be advised to wear face coverings

Working from home

To help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter.


Businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls, must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This will include takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm (from 24 September).

In licensed premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table.

Customers must eat and drink at a table in any premises selling food and drink to consume on site (from 24 September).

Businesses will need to display the official NHS QR code posters so that customers can ‘check-in’ at different premises using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details once the app is rolled out nationally (from 24 September). We appreciate that a small number of local businesses might not have access to a computer or printer. Therefore, if you are not able to create and print your personalised QR code poster - please visit one of our libraries or the Civic Centre and Council staff will be able to assist.

Businesses and organisations will face stricter rules to make their premises COVID-Secure (from 28 September):

  • A wider range of leisure and entertainment venues, services provided in community centres, and close contact services will be subject to the COVID-19 Secure requirements in law and fines of up to £10,000 for repeated breaches
  • Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work
  • Businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where mandated
  • Business conferences, exhibition halls and large sporting events, so we will not be able to reopen for trial events as previously planned from 1 October

Meeting people safely

  • Support groups must be limited to a maximum of 15 people (from 24 September)
  • Indoor organised sport for over 18s will no longer be exempt from the rule of six. There is an exemption for indoor organised team sports for disabled people (from 24 September)
  • There will be a new exemption in those areas of local intervention where household mixing is not allowed to permit friends and family to provide informal childcare for children under 14 (from 24 September)
  • Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions will be restricted to a maximum of 15 people (down from 30). Other significant standalone life events will be subject to the 'rule of six' limits, except funerals (from 28 September)

Managing your business safely - Government guidance

Below is a range of government guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Early outbreak management

Public Health England has produced guidance on what you should do to manage a possible outbreak. This information provides key steps to quickly identify and contain any potential COVID-19 outbreak.

Read guidance for:

Risk assessment template

The Risk Assessment template (MS Word, 876 KB) has been developed to help businesses implement the Government COVID-19 secure guidelines.


Here are some signs for businesses to print off and put on display to remind customers to adhere to social distancing.

Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020 notice 

The Government recommends that businesses and employers display the Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020 notice (pdf, 423 KB) in their workplaces to show they have followed the 'Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)' guidance. This notice includes an HSE contact number for workers to report any concerns that they may have.

Guidance for workplaces 

Richmond Council has produced a guidance leaflet on how to safely operate your business (pdf, 62 KB).

See further guidance on how to be safe at work:

Businesses that must remain closed

Community Toilet Scheme for local businesses

The Community Toilet Scheme allows businesses across the Borough to earn money in return for allowing non-paying customers to use their toilet facilities. Businesses will also be promoted across the borough, informing visitors of the facilities on offer.


Water and legionella

Swimming pools


Social distancing

How to keep social distancing at work:

Travel advice

For help and advice on how to protect people from coronavirus (COVID-19) in your workplace contact the HSE.

Updated: 08 January 2021