Social distancing, keeping businesses open and in-work activities during the coronavirus outbreak
Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)
We have produced guidance for employers and others on measures you can take to help you carry on working safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It covers social distancing measures, staggering shifts, providing additional handwashing facilities and how to talk with workers about working safely.
- In these extraordinary times, HSE is constantly reviewing the fast-moving situation with our partners across government to support the national effort to tackle COVID-19.
- While social distancing is fundamentally a public health measure introduced to reduce the spread of infection, we recognise the concerns raised on social distancing within the workplace and are in contact with trade unions.
- Where HSE identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant public health legislation and guidance to control public health risks, eg employers not taking appropriate action to socially distance or ensure workers in the shielded category can follow the NHS advice to self-isolate for the period specified, we will consider taking a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. These actions include the provision of specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements with the guidance.
Essential and non-essential work
- Keep your business open. With the exception of some non-essential shops and public venues, businesses were not asked to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on (advice differs in each nation, check the guidance for England, Scotland and Wales).
- Employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home. Where it is not be possible to work from home you can still travel for work purposes, provided you are not showing coronavirus symptoms and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating.
- Employers who have people in their offices or on site should ensure that employees are able, where possible, to follow Public Health England guidelines on social distancing (including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others), and hygiene (washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds) and follow the guidance on working safely during the coronavirus outbreak..
- For guidance on social distancing in:
- England, follow the social distancing advice from Public Health England.
- Scotland, follow the guidance from the Scottish Government on social distancing.
- Wales, follow the guidance from the Welsh Government on how to maintain physical distancing in the workplace.
- All workers are encouraged to keep working and should be working from home if they can.
- Only travel to work when you absolutely cannot work from home. Follow the guidance on working safely during the coronavirus outbreak.
- If you are travelling to your workplace you will still need to observe the social distancing guidance whilst you are travelling, as far as is practical. Social distancing means staying 2 metres (6ft) apart from other people.
- In your workplace you need to observe, where possible, the social distancing guidance.