Please Note: Please read this guidance in conjunction with information on the Welsh Government website. The following information applies (where necessary), WHEN your business can re-open and in what way, as restrictions are still in place.

Monitoring the Welsh Government website is the best way to keep up to date with the regular Government reviews and changes which are being made.

In the latest update of the Regulations (effective from 10th August 2020), Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 2) (Wales) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020, as amended, all restrictions for Community Centres have been revoked (Regulation 10). From today so you are able to commence using the hall for activities as long as each activity has been fully risk assessed and social distancing is enforced.

https://gov.wales/safe-use-multi-purpose-community-centres-covid-19

If you need further advice, please contact: environmentalhealth@monmouthshire.gov.uk or telephone: 01633 644100.

It is unusual for food businesses to be closed for a prolonged period of time. There are many important safety considerations for operators to consider before they re-open their businesses. We suggest you use a checklist  to ensure you don’t miss anything. 

Food Safety Management Systems 

  • Review your Safer Food,Better Business (SFBB) pack to ensure it’s up to date –  if suppliers have changed you may have different products/brands etc., and therefore you will need to reassess your allergy information 
  • Consider refresher food hygiene training and allergen training  if you have been closed for some time or if you are employing any new staff 
  • Ensure you record your cleaning and checks in your SFBB file 

Pest Control 

Buildings may have been empty and undisturbed for some time, so you must look for evidence of pests and take action if necessary, before restarting your operations. Check for: 

  • signs of damage or smearing to walls and doors 
  • gnawed or stained packaging  
  • footprints in dust  
  • animal droppings or urine smell 
  • insect bodies, larvae, cocoons and egg/pupal casings  
  • feathers
  • Arrange for contractors to undertake a pre-opening site survey, if required

If you notice signs of pests in your premises you must not reopen until the pest problem has been resolved. 

Cleaning and Hygiene 

  • Carry out a full deep clean and disinfection of the premises and all equipment using appropriate cleaning products 
  • Check that you have enough cleaning products (handwash, sanitiser, paper towel etc) 
  • Check that you have hot water from your taps, you cannot open if staff cannot wash their hands in warm water 

Food Safety 

  • Switch on fridges and/or freezers a few days before opening to make sure they are still working and to allow them to get to the correct working temperature (make sure you have a thermometer) 
  • Check the date of all stock, make sure no food has gone past its ‘Use by Date’
  • If necessary, label food items once they are taken out of the freezer with a date of defrost, defrost in the fridge under temperature control and use within 24 hrs of defrost. Safe Method: Defrosting

Social Distancing 

You should follow the government’s guidance on working safely.  As more types of businesses are allowed to re-open the government will produce further guidance on this.  

Every business will have other health and safety considerations 

Health and Safety  

Employers should also display a notice visibly in their shop windows or outside their store to show their employees, customers and other visitors that they have followed this guidance.  

Risk Assessment  

It’s important to review your risk assessments  to include COVID -19 risk of infection and put in the necessary control measures to keep staff and members of the public in your premises safe. Below is some helpful information to help you carry out the assessment and consider how people will be able to social distance coming to work and leaving work.

  • How many people will you actually “fit” back into the workplace with social distancing measures in place.  
  • Decide when it will be safe to open – have contractors visit first to carry out any essential or necessary works, maintenance and testing. Ensure contractors are safe when working in your premises – both the contractor and the business must work together to communicate any concerns and control measures to each other.
  • Try to discourage members of the public from visiting your work place. Ask members of the public to make appointments. Walk-ins can lead to queuing, which creates additional challenges.
  • Involve employees and Union representatives in your decision- making and risk assessments reviews.

Social distancing/infection control 

  • Plan for how you long you will need to maintain social distancing (it could be required for a long time) 
  • Consider what hygiene controls must be in place, including maintaining additional handwashing, additional cleaning and disinfecting especially of touch points, shared equipment, handrails, doors, barriers between employees and public, etc. Please visit the Government website for Guidance on Contamination in non-healthcare settings 
  • Carry out thorough cleaning and disinfection of the premises and equipment with appropriate cleaning chemicals 
  • Consider a phased return to the building whilst COVID-19 continues and consider what will happen later, when COVID-19 controls end
  • Identify which roles and activities won’t go ahead due to the ongoing restrictions (e.g. due to the risk of infection, restrictions on travel, etc.) and what impact that will have on your business.

Water systems: Legionella risk 

  • Legionella risk assessments should be reviewed to reflect buildings being closed or having reduced occupancy levels during the COVID-19 outbreak. 
  • Hot and cold water outlets may now be infrequently-used and will require flushing on a weekly basis to prevent water stagnation. If weekly flushing cannot be undertaken, then duty holders should liaise with whoever provides their competent advice to ensure systems are cleaned (if required) and disinfected before building reoccupation. This is especially important for duty holders that have showers, such as hotels or leisure centres as showers can be a potential source of legionella.
  • Where spa pools or hot tubs remain in use, then existing control regimes must be maintained. Where systems are not in use, they will need to be drained, cleaned and disinfected. Prior to reinstatement, they will also need to be cleaned and disinfected. 
  • Where operation of Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers is still necessary, then these must be maintained and operated safely at all times to avoid an increased risk of legionella. During the COVID-19 emergency, it is important that employers have reviewed operations and planned for the necessary measures and resources to ensure safe systems of work are continued. This will include the availability of adequately trained personnel to carry out essential checks and monitoring, as well as ensuring chemical supplies are maintained and dosed appropriately.
  • Operators should liaise with their water treatment companies for assistance and if it is necessary to cease operation of any systems. If cooling towers and evaporative condensers are likely to be out of operation for: 
  • Up to a month –  fans should be isolated, but biocidally-treated water should be circulated around the system for at least an hour on a weekly basis, or 
  • More than a month– systems should be drained down, cleaned and disinfected before being refilled and returned to operation 

Water systems: Drinking water 

  • You need to consider drinking fountains, water coolers and other drinking water outlets where the spread of COVID-19 may occur 
  • You may want to remove drinking fountains as they pose a high risk of cross-infection as employees may touch them with their mouths, and coolers require a glass to be pushed against a lever which will also be likely to spread infection 
  • Ensure that you use water outlets that have sufficient room to enable staff to get a cup/glass easily under the tap to enable them to fill their cup/glass properly, without touching the tap spout or nozzle 
  • Employers have a duty to provide clean drinking water in the workplace for all staff, therefore alternative arrangements may need to be considered such as purchasing bottled water 

Equipment 

  • Identify all equipment and installations that may have missed their planned preventative maintenance, inspection, test or thorough examination – ensure they are maintained/tested/inspected/examined by a competent person before being put back into use (examples include pressure systemslifts and lifting equipmentgas installations and equipmentelectrical equipment and installationsextraction systems, ventilation systems, vehicles, manual handling equipment, metal detecting equipment, guarding, security equipment etc.) 
  • Think about the use of lifts whilst maintaining social distancing – you may need to restrict the number of people allowed in the lift at any one time, which will mean it could take longer for people to reach their work station 
  • If you restrict the number of people using the lifts, that may lead to increased use of staircases, you may also need to control the number of people using the staircases at any one time – plan for any extra time it may take and consider introducing staggered start, finish and break times to reduce the numbers in those areas 
  • Think about busy communal doorways, can they be propped open safely without interfering with fire precautions or making employees work in a draft? Can doors be retro-fitted with automatic door openers?

People management 

  • Understand how people will feel about going back into the workplace. People may have lost confidence in their ability to do the jobs they haven’t done for a while, they may be worried about mixing with other people – a planned phased return could help 
  • Some people may require refresher training or re-training to carry out their roles safely, competently and effectively – be understanding of this and provide any necessary support
  • People will need information, instruction and training on any changes in activities, any risks and new controls you have put in place, as well as training in your COVID-19 control measures 
  • Stagger shifts and break times to reduce the amount of people present at any one time 
  • Rotate days in the office and work from home (WFH) days to reduce amount of people in the building
  • Ensure that your work related stress policy is up to date. Line managers should be given refresher training on how to help employees, and employers should ensure that information to help employees find support is freely available
  • Remember that some employees may have been very unwell or be grieving for loved ones following the pandemic 

Customer Toilets  

You must take reasonable measures to: 

Ensure 2m distancing between all persons (staff and customers) within the toilets 

Ensure a suitable maximum number of persons are permitted in the toilets (to facilitate 2m distancing) 

  Ensure 2m distancing between persons waiting outside to enter the toilets 

Things to consider: 

  • Means to restrict numbers 
  • Signage reminding customers to maintain 2m social distancing  
  • Closure of some toilet stalls and urinal facilities to aid distancing 
  • Opening any additional facilities (eg disabled, baby change) to assist distancing controls 
  • Display hand wash poster reminding customers to wash for at least 20 seconds. Effective hand washing is a known control for COVID-19 
  • Guidance suggests hand driers can disperse the virus in the air. We recommend disabling hand driers and providing disposable paper towels where possible 
  • Replenish liquid soap and paper hand towels as necessary 
  • Designated entry and exit routes to indoor toilets where possible  

An enhanced cleaning and monitoring schedule should be designed and implemented. It is advisable to keep a written record. Staff must be trained to implement the schedule and be provided with suitable PPE. 

Remember to include touch surfaces (door handles, taps, flush, soap dispensers etc) 

Please follow this link for the toilet guidance issued by the Welsh Assembly Government – https://gov.wales/providing-safer-toilets-public-use-coronavirus-html 

Licensed Premises 

Please visit our website to download our Risk Assessment document to help you prepare for reopening.  Please note, we must await an announcement from the Welsh Assembly Government before opening of our licensed businesses for on-sales of food and drink.  The Licensing Section understand from speaking with many of you, preparations are underway to reopen safely and we hope you find the risk assessment very helpful.  We would like businesses to use the same type of social distancing posters where possible, not to cause confusion to customers, therefore the website also provides social distance posters with other useful information – https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/shop-local/  (scroll down to the downloads section on the “information for businesses” page, accessible on this link). 

 Keeping contact details 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/maintaining-records-of-staff-customers-and-visitors-to-support-nhs-test-and-trace

Other useful information  

The latest guidance for pubs/restaurants trading outdoors – https://www.ukhospitality.org.uk/page/WalesGuidance 

Further questions & advice  

For further advice, please contact us on 01873 735420 or 01291 635711 

via email on environmentalhealth@monmouthshire.gov.uk