Reopening your Sandwell business? Four things you need to know!

Monday (12 April) sees the next step in the easing of coronavirus restrictions in England, with many businesses serving the public allowed to reopen – including all shops, outdoor hospitality, gyms, and personal care services such as hairdressers and barbers.

(Here’s a confirmed list from the government – and a more detailed list of the businesses included in each category.)

Here are four actions to help you open up as safely as possible:

1. Follow the rules and guidelines (obviously!)

To open your Sandwell business safely, follow the government guide relevant to your industry: working safely during coronavirus.

See also the government guides to workplace cleaning and ventilation.

You should check to see whether your business is legally obliged to display an NHS QR code poster for visitors to check in with, in order to assist the NHS Track and Trace programme.

If your business is required to display one, you can generate an NHS QR code poster here.

Sandwell Council officers will be making spot checks to check businesses are adhering to the rules.

2. Order testing kits

We urge you – if you haven’t done so already – to order free lateral flow test kits. These tests can be taken at home by your employees and will help to detect cases of Covid-19 which are asymptomatic (showing no symptoms). You need to put in your order by Monday 12 April.

3. Check your water supply

If your premises have been empty for a while, check their maintenance – including the safety of water systems. Legionella bacteria are widespread in natural water systems and may also be found in purpose-built water systems. If conditions are favourable, the bacteria may multiply, increasing the risks of legionnaires’ disease, and it is therefore important to control the risks by introducing appropriate measures.

Legionnaires’ disease can be contracted by breathing in small droplets of water suspended in the air which contain legionella bacteria. The disease can be fatal in 10 per cent of cases. Symptoms include fever, a non-productive cough and pneumonia.

Businesses are required by law to control legionella and may need to approach a specialist to disinfect water systems. You can get more legionella information from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the government.

4. Report and engage

It is so valuable for Sandwell’s Public Health team to understand where and how outbreaks of Covid-19 occur in the borough. If you have two or more cases of coronavirus in your workplace, please report them to PHCovid19_Enquiries@sandwell.gov.uk. You can ask for support that way too.

You can also sign up for webinars with Sandwell Council to explore recovery and restarting challenges as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. Learn more.

Find out what else you can do to fight Covid-19 in Sandwell, including by becoming a Sandwell Vaccination Leader.

See all our coronavirus resources for Sandwell businesses.

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