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Our response to Covid-19

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12 August 2020

How to Reopen Your Business Safely After COVID-19

by User Not Found

Many UK shops and businesses have now been allowed to reopen following the relaxing of lockdown measures. If you are starting to think about opening your business in light of changing advice and consumer behaviour, then it is vital to know how to reopen your business safely. There are many factors to consider, such as extra precautions to safeguard the health of your customers and staff, and potentially ways you’ll need to run your business differently than normal to comply with regulations. At Brightside Public Liability Insurance, we have compiled this guide to help you reopen your closed business to resume operations in a post-lockdown environment and avoid customer incidents that could lead to a public liability insurance claim.

Steps to Work Safely After Reopening

The most vital part of reopening your business post-lockdown is to ensure that your business is ‘COVID-19 secure’ once open by following UK government guidance. Once it is proven you are practising this guidance, you can then display badging in your business to reassure both employees and customers.

Five basic steps that most businesses can follow to help ensure a safe working environment after reopening are as follows:

  • Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment in line with HSE guidance
  • Expand and enforce cleaning, hygiene, and handwashing procedures, including providing hand sanitiser around the working area and in bathrooms
  • If possible, help employees to work from home
  • Maintain 2m social distancing guidelines where possible by using signs and floor tape to remind workers and visitors, avoiding sharing workstations and arranging one-way systems through your workplace
  • Manage transmission risk where it is not possible for people to not be 2m apart

Though a total of twelve business sectors are covered in the UK government's guidance, we will run through some of the more pertinent sectors for small businesses here. 


Making a retail shop ‘COVID-19 secure’

Before reopening, all shops and retail businesses should evaluate how many customers can fit within their shop floor while still observing the 2m social distancing regulations. Once this is determined, other measures that can be implemented to make a shop ‘COVID-19 secure’ and mitigate potential customer incidents include:

  • Limiting the number of customers on your shop floor at any one time, especially in areas which are more likely to see heavy foot traffic
  • Being flexible with the one-way flow around your shop; be prepared to adapt it if areas grow congested
  • Consider allowing only solo customers in at any one time unless they need special assistance
  • Utilising the space outside of your shop for queuing when safe to do so
  • Maintaining a strict cleaning schedule and routine for work surfaces and disinfecting items like baskets and trolleys
  • Ensuring that clear barriers are erected between customers and cashiers
  • Communicating rules to customers via signage and, where necessary, vocal reminders
  • If changes have to be made to your shop’s entry and exit points, ensure that the needs of shoppers that require special assistance, such as disabled shoppers, are accounted for in using them
  • Ensuring that your workers are split into teams or shift groups as much as possible so that whenever contact is unavoidable amongst staff, it is always between the same people


Making close contact services ‘COVID-19 secure’

Close contact services, such as hairdressers, tattoo parlours, nail bars and tailors, have also been allowed to reopen. Measures you can make to help make close-contact work safer include:

  • Enforcing the use of visors for any workers who will be in close proximity for an extended period
  • Encouraging customers to wash their hands and/or use hand sanitiser when entering the premises or prior to their treatment
  • Operating purely on a pre-booked appointment basis – no walk-ins
  • Limiting the number of appointments booked for any one time based on the maximum number of customers who can follow social distancing guidelines of 2m or 1m with risk mitigation
  • Maintaining social distancing regulations in waiting areas
  • Utilising floor markings and signage to remind staff and customers to keep their distance
  • Asking customers to turn up to appointments alone

Making restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaways ‘COVID-19 secure’

Restaurants, pubs, and takeaways are now permitted to reopen and while there are guidelines for safe reopening that apply equally to these, some guidelines will be specific to each business.

How to Reopen Pubs

Guidelines for safely reopening pubs include:

  • Limit the number of people allowed into your pub at any one time
  • Help customers and staff keep their distance with floor markings
  • Encourage customers to make their orders via smartphone apps, if possible, to avoid queuing up at the bar
  • Ensure tables are correctly spaced and provide table service to avoid bar congestion
  • Collect empty glasses from tables as soon as possible
  • Ensure staff thoroughly clean bar surfaces, door handles and fruit machines every hour
  • Make sure that toilets are used on a ‘one in, one out’ basis and encourage this system through signage and social distancing markings
  • Clean frequently touched surfaces in the toilets regularly
  • Patrol beer gardens to ensure social distancing guidelines are being followed

How to Reopen Restaurants

Guidelines for safely reopening restaurants include:

  • Enforce social distancing by imposing strict limits on the number of customers allowed in at any given time
  • Encourage contactless card payments
  • Utilise a ‘one in, one out’ system with toilets and clean hard and frequently touched surfaces regularly
  • Encourage customer reservations to stagger bookings
  • Replace laminated menus with single-use paper menus
  • Only provide single-sachet condiments, cutlery and napkins on request instead of leaving them on tables
  • sure cleaning procedures are in place for goods and merchandise entering the premises
  • Consider running limited menus to minimise cross-contamination of ingredients

How to Reopen Takeaways

Guidelines for safely reopening takeaways include:

  • Keep customers outside of your physical premises where possible
  • Implement strict and thorough cleaning techniques, including providing hand sanitiser
  • Keep contact between kitchen staff and delivery staff to a minimum – ensure each party also washes their hands before the transference of food, ideally with barriers used
  • Ensure kitchen staff are strictly kept to separate workstations when preparing food
  • Urge customers to use contactless or online payments to order food and instruct delivery drivers to maintain social distance when dropping off orders



By following the relevant guidelines, your small business should be able to reopen safely with a reduced risk of a customer incident. Although not a legal requirement, unlike employers' liability insurance, it is highly recommended to acquire a comprehensive public liability insurance policy for your business if it deals regularly with members of the public. Ensure your business is covered in the event of a customer incident by exploring Brightside’s public liability insurance broking services and get a quote today.

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