COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions about reopening a Business

Frequently asked questions about reopening your business, supporting the test and trace efforts, what to do if your business has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 is reported and many other useful frequently asked questions.

Can my business be open?

You must not reopen if your business is closed under current government rules. Check if your business or venue can open.

What does my business need to have in place to open?

See the Better Business for All (BBfA) partnership COVID-19 Toolkit to help guide you to restarting your business safely

BBFA Covid-19 Toolkit
The toolkit provides useful information for businesses that are planning to reopen following the lockdown. You must complete a risk assessment for your business and consult with staff on the changes to normal practices designed to protect staff and customers from COVID-19.

Where can I find guidance on reopening my business?

The government has produced guidance for different types of businesses on working safety during coronavirus COVID-19..

Where can I get advice on financial support?

There is a wide range of financial support and advice for businesses in Mendip.  COVID-19: Information and Guidance for Mendip businesses and employers

Where can I get further advice?

  • Further advice is available from the Heart of the South West Growth Hub

COVID-19 support for business 

  • The European Working Group for Legionella Infections (ESGLI) has put together a guidance document on how to best manage Legionella water systems during that have remained unused during this COVID-19 outbreak

More information about managing Legionella in building water systems

Do I need to keep customer records for contact tracing?

New guidance asks organisations to maintain records of staff, customers and visitors on their premises to support test and trace efforts. The steps that need to be taken include:

  • Making a record of the name and contact phone number of any customers or visitors, or if it is a group of people, the name of the lead member of the group, who is able to contact other members of the group, and the number of people in the group
  • Recording the date, arrival and departure time of all visitors or visiting groups
  • Storing the information for 21 days, after which should be safely deleted
  • Collecting the names, and phone numbers of all staff working at the premises, as well as the date and time they worked

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) guidance describes clear, simple steps that businesses can take to ensure they handle customer data responsibly; and there is an accompanying small business helpline

What a Business should do when a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 is reported

The Somerset COVID-19 Local Engagement Board has devised a Local Outbreak Management Plan for COVID-19 detailing actions to take in the event of an outbreak. 

As part of this work they have worked with South West partners to devise flyers and posters to help you, your employees and customers know what to do when a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 is reported. 

  1. Icon for pdf Covid-19 Business flyer [195.41KB] - contains a checklist of actions for businesses
  2. Icon for pdf Covid-19 Accommodation Provider flyer [290.11KB] - is specifically for tourist or accommodation providers - please add in your postcode
  3. Icon for pdf Covid-19 Visitor poster [179.68KB] - to display in public settings i.e. reception/kitchen/toilets/bedrooms for visitors staying in your accommodation to see.  Please add in your contact phone number so visitors can call you if they suspect they have COVID-19.

Do call the Public Health England Health Protection Team immediately for any suspected or confirmed cases on 0300 303 8162 who can talk you through the next steps.

Somerset's Local Outbreak Management Plan is available to view here

Food business and licensed premises

Can I sell food from my premises to takeaway?

Yes, the government has temporarily relaxed the planning legislation meaning that all food business can offer takeaway services. Takeaways can now open to walk in customers without the need to pre order.  Wherever possible customers should still be encouraged to order online, by app, or by phone.  Customers waiting to order or collect should wait in a designated area where 2-metre distance from other people can be maintained.  If this is not possible, customers should enter the premises one at a time and only when their order is ready to be made or collected.

If I am open for takeaway only, do I need to open my toilets for customers?

No, there is no requirement to open your toilet facilities for customers whilst your premises is close to public access and operating as takeaway only. 

Can I sell Alcoholic drinks to take away?

Premises who wish to sell alcohol as part of a takeaway service or for consumption off the premises must ensure that the Licence covers off sales as part of the licensable activity and must ensure robust age verification measures are put in place to prevent alcohol being provided to minors.

More information about Premises Licence

Can I serve alcoholic drinks outside from my premises?

It depends on your licence and how sales are managed.  Detailed advice is available from the Institute of Licensing.

Icon for pdf Off-sales and compliance with the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (as amended) and the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 (as amended) [175.43KB]

Institute of Licensing