Environmental Health advice for businesses

Although restrictions are being lifted, the government is advising the public and businesses to make informed decisions to manage the risk to themselves and others.

We have produced guidance for businesses about how they can operate safely from 19 July 2021, including a template risk assessment to help businesses manage any potential Covid-19 risk in their workplaces.

Environmental Health and Licensing officers are carrying out site visits and are available to answer enquiries and give advice.

Pubs, restaurants, take-aways and nightclubs

  • No requirement to provide table service only.
  • No maximum number of group size inside or outside.
  • Social distancing requirements no longer apply, but you must take reasonable steps to limit the risk of Covid-19 spreading.
  • No legal requirement to wear a face covering. The government is encouraging everyone to wear them in crowded enclosed environments.
  • No requirement to record customer details for NHS Test and Trace, either manually or by using the NHS QR poster. It is advised to continue to provide this service to support the NHS Track and Trace service.

More information https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-covid-19/restaurants-pubs-bars-nightclubs-and-takeaway-services

Outside play areas

If your business operates an outside play area, you must follow the government guidance for safely operating a play area.

Employers should:

  • Review Covid-safe measures and risk assessment, think about holding refresher training for staff and check you have sufficient signage and queue management systems in place.
  • Assess how many customers you can safely accommodate, allowing for queue management, ordering and payment.
  • Make sure you have enough trained staff to manage your customers safely.
  • Where possible, let customers know about your rules, encouraging them to book in advance to avoid people gathering at your premises.
  • Open all available windows, doors and vents to allow for good air flow through the building. Also ensure air conditioning units are set to intake fresh air. Be mindful of open doors if they pose a security risk or if they are fire doors.
  • Continue the use of contactless ordering through apps or websites to avoid customers crowding at the tills or at the bar.
  • Increase the cleaning of contact points for customers and staff.
  • Increase the frequency of cleaning the toilets and maintain the limit on numbers in the facility to prevent overcrowding.
  • Allow time between bookings to clean and sanitise the table and chairs.
  • Use disposable or online menus.
  • Turn away staff or customers displaying Covid-19 symptoms.

Are you licensed for outdoor seating?

If you are introducing outdoor dining, or wish to increase your outside seating capacity you must apply for a pavement licence.

  • Customers and staff are not required to wear face coverings in indoor spaces, but the government advises the wearing of face coverings in enclosed spaces.
  • Social distancing guidelines no longer apply, but businesses must take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of the spread of Covid-19. This may include limiting the number of customers in your premises by having a system at the door to monitor the number of customers entering and exiting your premises.

Employers should:

  • Carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment, setting out the steps you’re taking to protect your employees and others from Covid-19 and how you will manage that risk. Guidance about producing your own risk assessment is available on the Health and Safety Executive’s website. We have also produced our own template risk assessment.
  • Businesses must still provide staff with appropriate PPE, including gloves and face coverings, and train them how to wear them correctly. You may choose to wear face coverings to keep your staff and customers safe and limit the transmission of Covid-19.
  • Maintain floor markers to encourage customers to queue in a socially distanced manner at the tills and outside the shop.
  • Have hand sanitiser available at various points throughout your premises. 
  • Keep screens in place at till points to protect staff. 
  • Continue to encourage contactless payment and regularly clean customer touchpoints, like card machines and surfaces.
  • Stagger staff breaks and encourage social distancing in staff break areas.
  • Train staff on the isolation process if they begin showing symptoms or test positive for Covid-19.

More information

Close contact businesses

  • Customers and staff are not required to wear face coverings in indoor spaces, but the government is advising the wearing of face coverings in enclosed spaces.
  • Social distancing guidelines no longer apply, but businesses must take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of the spread of Covid-19. 
  • No requirement to record customer details for NHS Test and Trace, either manually or by using the NHS QR poster. It is advised to continue providing this service to support the NHS Track and Trace service. 
  • Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If one of your staff, someone in their household, or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating. Anyone with Covid-19 symptoms or self-isolating should not come to work. 

Employers should:

  • You must carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment, setting out the steps you’re taking to protect your employees and others from Covid-19 and how you will manage that risk. Guidance about producing your own risk assessment is available on the Health and Safety Executive’s website. We have produced our own template risk assessment.
  • Ensure all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned, especially those being touched a lot and ask your staff and customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
  • Increase ventilation, by opening windows and doors and using fans.
  • Businesses must still provide staff with appropriate PPE, including gloves and face coverings, and train them how to wear them correctly. You may as a business choose to continue to wear face coverings to keep your staff and customers safe and limit the transmission of Covid-19.
  • Keep clients apart. Consider how many people can safely be in your premises to limit the transmission of Covid-19. Use a booking system, ask clients to arrive for their appointment time, and rearrange waiting areas so clients can socially distance.
  • Control the spread of Covid-19 by considering keeping barriers between workstations, back-to-back or side-to-side working and have staff work in the same team each day to reduce chances of cross infection.
  • Keep music and other background noise to a minimum to prevent people from speaking loudly or shouting.

If you visit customers’ homes as a mobile service:

  • You should communicate with households before any visit to discuss how the work will be carried out to reduce risk for all parties.
  • You should not carry out work in households which are isolating because one or more family members has symptoms.
  • Limit the areas in the home you go into.
  • Safely dispose of waste.
  • Ventilate the room you are working in.

Further guidance

 

Small and medium size events

  • There are no capacity limits, but control measures should still be in place to protect staff/volunteers and visitors.
  • There is no maximum number of group size inside or outside.
  • Social distancing requirements no longer apply, but you should take reasonable steps to limit the risk of Covid-19 spreading.
  • No legal requirement to wear a face covering. The government is encouraging everyone to wear them in crowded enclosed environments.
  • No requirement to record customer details for NHS Test and Trace, either manually or by using the NHS QR poster. It is advised you keep this service to support the NHS Track and Trace service.

Event organisers are responsible for assessing the potential risks which could occur during their event and putting measures in place to protect staff/volunteers and visitors from them.

A risk assessment should be completed when planning the event and it should include control measures to manage the risk of Covid-19.

When producing your Event Safety Management Plan, you might find the HSE’s guidance on Managing crowds safely – A guide for organisers at events and venues’ helpful.  The guidance advises basing plans on the Purple Guide, written by The Events Industry Forum.

Event organisers with no employees do not need to produce an Event Safety Management Plan, associated checklists or health and safety risk assessments. You will need to demonstrate how you have reduced the risk of any incidents or accidents occurring.

When planning the event and completing the Risk Assessment, event organisers could include the following measures to help protect against Covid-19 transmission:

  • Identify potential pinch points where crowds may form (toilets, bar, food stands) and plan measures to help control the flow of visitors in these areas, eg barriers used for queue management, floor markers, stewards in those areas.
  • Have multiple entrances and exit points round the event site to avoid overcrowding.
  • Implement a one way system round the venue or event site
  • Identify poorly ventilated areas if the event is inside or elements of it are inside. Put measures in place to improve fresh air flow, as well as opening all available doors, windows, vents and using air conditioning effectively.
  • Increase cleaning of any contact surfaces throughout the venue, PDQ machines, door handles, surfaces at catering counters (bar) and common touch points in the toilets.
  • Clean shared equipment after each individual use before passing it on to the next member of staff/volunteer/steward.
  • Stagger arrival times to the venue by giving ticket holders designated time slots for their arrival, also send or e-mail tickets in advance to avoid a large number of visitors having to queue for ticket collection at event.
  • Have hand sanitiser available throughout the venue/event, the entrance to the building or event site, outside the toilets, at hospitality counters, in staff break areas etc.
  • Ensure hand sanitiser and soap supplies are frequently checked on and refilled throughout the day along with displaying posters reminding visitors of the correct hand washing technique in the toilets.
  • Have regular announcements reminding visitors of safety measures.
  • If a visitor, audience member or member of staff begins to display symptoms of Covid-19, ask them to leave or deny entry and ask them to isolate accordingly.
  • At all pay points encourage contactless payments and e-tickets which can be shown on visitor/audience member’s phones.
  • Let visitors know the safe measures that will be in place in advance, eg Covid-19 NHS Pass (to prove jabs), facemasks in certain areas etc.

Outside play areas

If you operate an outside play area, you must follow the government guidance.

Do you have the correct licence?

If you have any questions about licensing requirements for your proposed event, please contact us.

Other things to consider when planning an event

  • If your event is being held at a site owned or managed by a third party, you must ensure your Event Safety Management Plan and risk assessments are consistent with those of the site.
  • Your event’s public liability insurance should reference Covid-19, as under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013, employers and/or duty holders are required to report cases of, or deaths from, Covid-19 from occupational exposure, as a result of a person's work.

Temporary demountable structures

If you are planning to use marquees or other temporary demountable structures at your event, you should include this in your event documentation, including your Event Safety Management Plan and risk assessment.

Guidance is available to help you safely erect outdoor structures.

If you plan on having a marquee permanently erected, you’ll need planning permission. When deciding where to place your marquee, please consider neighbours, to minimise any disturbance.  

Surrey County Council Covid-19 checklist for events

Surrey County Council has produced a useful checklist for event organisers, to help you ensure your event is Covid-secure.

Organising an event or street party

We have produced a template Covid-19 risk assessment which businesses might find useful when managing potential Covid-19 risks in their workplaces.

Delivering food

  • Social distancing requirements no longer apply, but you should take reasonable steps to limit the risk of Covid-19 spreading.
  • There is no legal requirement to wear a face covering, but the government is encouraging everyone to keep wearing them in crowded enclosed environments.

More information

Food should be put into food safe containers for delivery. Consider the time and distance for delivering and try to keep both to a minimum to maintain food quality and safety. Ensuring good temperature control is essential.

For food safety and quality, you will want to ensure hot ready to eat food is delivered piping hot. Insulated cool boxes/bags are a good way to keep the heat in food.

Food intended to be eaten cold, must be kept it cold. Use insulated cold storage boxes or similar to keep the temperature between 0 - 5°C.

You should also ensure:

  • Delivery vehicles are fit for purpose and food must not be subjected to potential contamination.
  • The interior of the vehicle is kept clean and food is not transported with animals or chemicals such as fuel, oil and screen wash.
  • The vehicle insurance covers business use.
  • Alcoholic drinks are not delivered - unless you have a licence.
  • Hot food and/or drink are/is not served between the hours of 11pm and 5am, unless you have a licence.

Contact free delivery

Limiting contact when delivering orders will help keep everyone healthy. You should leave deliveries at your customer's door, rather than handing it over to them. 

Take payments over the phone or internet, to avoid handling cash. If this is not possible, ensure your delivery driver has some alcohol gel to clean their hands after handling money.

Allergen management 

Allergen management is also crucial to the safety of your customers, when food is sold at a distance, for example online, home delivery or ordered in advance as a take-away. Measures must be in place to ensure the relevant allergen information is provided.

Food businesses must provide allergen information about any of the 14 legal allergens when these are used, as ingredients, in the food and/or drink they provide. 

The allergen information must be available to the customer at two stages through the ordering process as follows:

  • Before they order - this can be given verbally or in writing (for example in an online menu).
  • At the point of delivery - if there has been no opportunity to speak to the customer before this will need to be in writing, for example, on stickers on the food packaging.

Additional information on allergens is available on the Food Standards Agency website.

All foods must be provided to consumers in a way, which ensures they do not become unsafe or unfit to eat during the take-away or delivery process. 

Infection control

Food businesses must ensure food handlers are fit for work and comply with health and safety.


Anyone who has been asked to self-isolate can order a takeaway by phone or online. They should tell the delivery driver the items are to be left outside or at another agreed location.

The Working Safely guidance sets out practical steps for businesses in eight guides covering a range of different types of work. Many businesses operate more than one type of workplace, such as an office, factory and fleet of vehicles. You may need to use more than one of these guides as you think through what you need to do to keep employees safe.

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