Reopening your business


What are my legal responsibilities?

All employers have a legal duty under health and safety legislation to ensure the safety of staff and other persons in the workplace. This duty includes reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Workers have a duty to take care of their own health and safety and that of others who may be affected by their actions at  work. This duty includes reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Workers must co-operate with employers and
co- workers to help everyone meet their legal requirements.

How do I get started?

You must ensure that you minimise the risk of transmission of the virus and adopt COVID-19 secure practices. To do this you must follow the five steps to working safely, which are:

  • Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment
  • Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures
  • Help people to work from home, where this is possible
  • Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible
  • Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk 

Download the General guidance and 5 steps to working safely

Once you have completed these steps you can print off, complete and display the Staying COVID-19 Secure in 2020 poster to help provide reassurance to customers and staff. Download the 5 steps to working safely poster

Where can I find specific guidance to assist me?

The amount of information in the media and on the internet can be confusing. Always use Government guidance to ensure you are meeting your legal obligations. Guidance for working safely during the Coronavirus pandemic is available for different types of work on the links below:

The guidance will assist you in undertaking a COVID-19 risk assessment and putting appropriate controls in place to minimise the risk of transmission. You may need to refer to more than one of these guides to cover all aspects of your business.

These guides will be kept updated and the Government will publish additional guides as and when other businesses are able to reopen. If your business activity is not currently included you can check for future guidance on the website 

Find guidance on how to undertake a risk assessment

Additional guidance for food businesses

Guidance on how and when to clean your workplace

If your building has been closed for any length of time, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease. Find guidance on Legionnaires' Disease

Scams to businesses - Since early March, there has been a flood of scams targeting UK businesses. They range from Government grant/tax refund scams to Tech support scams. If your business has been targeted by a Covid-19 scam then head to the Businesses against Scams website

Diversification of businesses - As a result of the impact Covid-19 has had on businesses many are exploring diversifying their business model to adapt to ‘the new normal’. To assist your business to comply, view the free expert guide on business diversification during the pandemic.

If your premises is authorised under the Licensing Act 2003, you must ensure that you comply with your licence and the conditions on it. Any change to your activities may require a variation application. Additional seating for patrons on the highway will require a separate licence, issued by Northamptonshire County Council. Please contact your local Licensing Team if you have any queries.

Additional guidance and aide-memoires for businesses

Northamptonshire Occupational Health and Safety Liaison Group have developed the following aide-memoires to complement working safely during COVID-19 guidance documents. Health and Safety Inspectors across the County will be using them during sector-specific inspections and businesses are encouraged to use them to self-assess the necessary COVID-19 controls within their respective workplaces:

Office and contact centres

Shops and branches

Working safely in other people's homes

Working in or from vehicles

Factories, plants and warehousing (including distribution) 

General guidance for restaurants offering takeaway and delivery

Social distancing for restaurants offering takeaway and delivery