Business Implications of NHS Test and Trace
This guidance relates to England.
Since lockdown eased for the hospitality sector, there have been press reports of pubs closing after customers or staff tested positive for COVID-19. However, a positive test does not always have to result in shutting down the business.
What if a staff member has COVID-19 symptoms?
- If they become ill on site, assist them to return home safely and self-isolate. Otherwise advise them not to come into work and self-isolate.
- Direct them to the NHS webpage to order a free COVID-19 test.
- They should not return to work until after 7 days and only if they feel well and have not had a high temperature for 48 hours.
- If more than one member of staff shows symptoms, contact your local HPT (Health Protection Team) for advice straightaway. Contact details can be found here.
What if a customer informs you that they have COVID-19?
- Ask them to confirm if they are liaising with NHS Test & Trace. If they are, you will be contacted by NHS Test & Trace if a customer has been in close contact with anyone on your premises
- If not, contact your local HPT for advice.
What does close contact mean?
- Having face-to-face contact with someone less than 1 metre away.
- Spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of someone
- Travelling in a car or other small vehicle with someone (even on a short journey).
If staff wear face masks or shields would they still be deemed a close contact?
Yes. NHS Test & Trace consider them to be a close contact if they meet the other criteria.
What information will I need to provide to NHS Test & Trace?
- Customers or staff members that were on site at the same time as the customer (see our blog piece on Collecting Data for guidance on this).
- Staff members in their group if you operate work zones, work bubbles or fixed teams.
- Staff members who have travelled to work together in a car – particularly across work bubbles or zones.
NB. Remember that you will need the permission of your employees and customers to pass on their details to NHS Test & Trace.
What will NHS Test and Trace do with this information?
- They will contact staff members and customers to identify if they have been in close contact with the person that has tested positive.
- They will use this information to decide whether to advise self-isolation and testing.
What if a COVID-19 outbreak is associated with your premises?
- Discuss the situation in detail with your local HPT to establish whether you need to close or whether this can be managed any other way.
- The HPT will liaise with your local environmental health department who may also be in touch to check that the COVID-19 control measures in place are suitable and sufficient.
Having good control measures in place to mitigate Covid-19 risks will go a long way to reducing the likelihood of your business having to close. Always keeping staff members and customers 2 metre apart is the best option.
If you want to reassure your staff, visitors, and customers that you are following best practice, you should consider applying for COVID-SAFE UK Approval