July 2, 2020
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Are you ready to re-open for business?
Here at Insurance Choice, we’ve been keeping a close eye on government guidelines in anticipation of the gradual easing of lockdown. As most of England anticipate the opening of pubs and restaurants again on Saturday (4th July), we’ve prepared some top tips for ensuring your business is safe to re-open when you choose.

Before customers walk through your doors for the first time in months, it’s best to make sure you’ve got the correct insurance in place. Many businesses chose to reduce their cover levels at the start of the lockdown, in line with the downturn in trade, so it’s important to check the suitability of your policy now.
Speak to our Commercial team today by calling 01384 429 900 and we’ll be more than happy to discuss your options.

Government Guidelines

If you’ve not already taken a look at the government guidelines, it’s the best place to start. You can view guidelines related to Keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services by clicking here, but we’ve included a short summary as a starting point (see below):

Risk Assessment 

Prior to any establishments re-opening, you must complete an up-to-date Risk Assessment, keeping in mind the changes to government guidelines.

A local authority enforcer (such as a local council representative or an HSE executive) will monitor your risk assessment and the results must be shared with your workforce. It’s also best practice to share the results on your business website and you are required to display a notification prominently in your establishment. Failure to comply could result in a breach of Health and Safety Law. 

Employee Safety

You will have identified potential risks when carrying out your risk assessment and may be required to implement new processes for your team. Some of the most common recommendations include:
 
  • Cleaning surfaces and washing hands more frequently.
  • Implementing screens and guards to separate employees where possible.
  • Working in staggered shift patterns, with varying start and finish times.
  • In kitchens and food preparation areas you should have as few employees as functionally possible.

Customer Safety

When it comes to the safety of your customers there’s quite a lot to consider before you open your doors. It can seem quite daunting, but don’t let that put you off because there’s plenty of support out there, too.
 
  • Think about other venues re-opening in your area and the impact this might have:
    • Engage with local business owners and discuss their plans for re-opening.
    • Ensure you liaise with local authorities to assess all risks, such as plans for outside queuing.
    • Check local travel timetables and taxi operators to anticipate any impact.
  • Keep your premises safe and tidy:
    • Consider moving furniture around, or even removing some tables, to adhere to government guidelines on social distancing.
    • Ensure clear signage is used throughout your premises, highlighting personal hygiene.
    • Ensure gathering limits are clearly displayed to your customers and employees.
    • Consider implementation of a one-way system in your premises, reducing unnecessary contact.
    • Ensure the needs of all customers, including those with disabilities, are considered.

Additional Considerations

Cleaning
 
  • Although it seems like an obvious one, cleaning your premises regularly and thoroughly will help prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
  • Consider implementing a new cleaning rota, or employing additional staff for the sole purpose of keeping your business clean.
  • Try to reduce touchpoints throughout your premises by, for example, wedging open doors to prevent customers touching handles. Remember to keep fire doors closed at all times.
Toilets
 
  • As well as ensuring that your facilities are cleaned regularly, you should also factor in more regular collection and disposal of waste.
  • Place clear signage around your premises instructing customers on where to queue, social distancing measures and any maximum numbers permitted at any time.
  • If you’ve not checked it for some time, make sure your ventilation system/s are still in good working order.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
 
  • PPE may not necessarily be required for every role, but is definitely worth considering. Once you have completed your risk assessment you will know whether any form of PPE is required.
  • If the risk assessment concludes that PPE is required for certain roles, you have a responsibility to provide it to workers who need it, free of charge.
Although this isn’t a comprehensive guide to getting your business back up and running, we hope it has highlighted some key areas for consideration. Please make sure to refer to up-to-date government guidelines, as well as checking in with your local authority.
Once you’re happy to get your business back on track, make sure you have the right insurance cover in place. We can look to cover your premises, contents, liabilities and more. Call us today on 01384 429 900 for a no obligation quote.
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