Reopening your business safely after lockdown
The Government has announced that many non-essential businesses can reopen from 15 June 2020.
Before you reopen you must undertake a risk assessment, carry out pre-opening checks and create a thorough cleaning regime. You will also need to put in place all necessary social distancing measures to make sure your business is Covid-19 secure and protect staff and customers. Once you have gone through this process you should display the Staying COVID-19 Secure poster to give you, your staff and your customers reassurance.
If your business has been closed for a number of weeks you will need to consider the risks from things such as legionella and possible rodent infestations, for example, as well as making sure that all equipment and installations are safe and in good working order.
When buildings reopen after lockdown, it is essential that water systems are not put back into use without considering the risks of Legionnaires' disease. There is an increased risk of waterborne pathogens such as Legionella bacteria being present as a consequence of the conditions that lockdown may have created.
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health has published guidance about reopening your business safely after lockdown. This includes the following advice:
- Flush through simple hot and cold water systems with fresh mains water for several minutes
- Increase the temperature of hot water systems to above 60°C if possible and drawing it through to all hot water outlets (a temperature over 60°C will kill Legionella bacteria over time)
- Flush through larger hot and cold water systems (including those with tanks, showers, calorifiers) for a significant period of time
- Ensuring that the system is capable of delivering water at safe temperatures by checking temperatures ahead of reopening
- Undertake a chemical or thermal disinfection of the water system or microbiological sampling for Legionella bacteria if required
The Food Standards Agency has published guidance for reopening food businesses after a period of closure. You should also check the following:
- Food preparation areas are clean and disinfected
- All areas are free from evidence of pest activity
- Handwashing and cleaning materials' availability
- Hot and cold running water is available at all sinks and hand wash basins
- Fridges, chilled display equipment and freezers are working properly
- Other equipment, such as ovens, are working properly
- Raw materials and ingredients are safe and allergen information is accurate and available for all products
Herefordshire Council's environmental health team are on hand to help - we can give you advice and information on how to reopen your business safely, please call us on 01432 261761.
Latest guidance and resources to help you reopen safely
- Covid-19 secure guides from GOV.UK - Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic
- Health and safety risk assessment guide
- Food Standards Agency site checklist
- Food Standards Agency reopening checklist for food businesses during Covid-19
- Covid-19 risk management confirmation poster
- Chartered Institute of Environmental Health Covid-19 signage for shops and other food premises
- Government guidance on keeping workers and customers safe during Covid-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services
- Government guidance on which businesses can and cannot open
- Government guidance for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows