People should work from home as much as they can during the coronavirus outbreak.

But some businesses can only run from their premises. They must take steps to keep staff safe. If they don't, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) can get involved.

Before they reopen, businesses should share a risk assessment with staff.

Businesses vary and need different measures. But some are the same for all.


Premises should be clean and hygienic.

  1. Deep clean before re-opening.
  2. Clean after each shift.
  3. Clean well-used objects.
  4. Supply hand sanitisers.
  5. Display guidance.

Social distancing

Staff should be two metres apart.

Things to think about

  1. A one-way system
  2. Separate entrance and exit
  3. Staggered start and finish times
  4. Floor markings
  5. Separate work areas
  6. Fixed breaks
  7. Limiting use of shared spaces

If people can't always be two metres apart

  1. Reduce the activity.
  2. Use screens.
  3. Stop face-to-face working.
  4. Use fixed teams.
  5. Use face coverings, but also apply measures 1-4 above.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

PPE helps people stay safe at work. Examples are gloves, helmets, goggles and other eyewear, facemasks.

The Government says PPE is not the way most people should keep themselves safe at work during the coronavirus outbreak. Instead, we need to follow hygiene and social distancing guidelines, as outlined above.

People who work in social and health care may have to use PPE to protect themselves from coronavirus.

More about using PPE at work during the coronavirus outbreak


Managers should talk with staff about how they're getting to work.

People shouldn't use public transport unless they have to, especially at busy times.

Try to reduce work travel

  • Stagger start and finish times.
  • Hold meetings online.
  • Walk, cycle, or drive.
  • Let staff work from home.


Managers should meet with each member of staff.

Some may have worries about money, childcare, or relatives. It might be better for them to work at home.

Employers should be flexible and supportive. They should also offer mental health support.

Staff should be able to give feedback through their manager or HR department.

More information about reopening a business

Contact the HSE for more information.

Visit Gov.UK for advice about re-opening your business.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Island

The information on this web page is for businesses in England.

Are you thinking about reopening a business in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland? If so, check the rules and guidance from your government.  

Running a small business?

You can find some facts that we think matter if you have your own business and think you've got a legal issue. There is also practical help and tips to help you get the support you need to sort things out.

Learn more about legal issues and your small business

Good to know

Legal Choices is a free website run by legal services regulators.

The information here is independent and just the facts. We're not trying to sell you anything.

We just tell you about things that are good to know to help you make better choices about legal issues and lawyers.

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Your Comments

Sussn says:

Thu, 05/28/2020 - 05:52
What advise do you give when people use to car share to get to work?

Christine Bie… says:

Fri, 05/29/2020 - 07:43
Can you please tell me the rules on small hairdressing salons

Dino says:

Sat, 05/30/2020 - 16:23
I run a small restaurant what do I do

Dave Jacklin, says:

Sun, 05/31/2020 - 20:23
Great info, thank you,
Will see how much of the safe working practices are implemented when I return to work on 15th June,
Many staff are worried about returning to work, me included.

Debbie johnson says:

Mon, 06/01/2020 - 13:56
I am a leaseholder if a hair and beauty salon ... all staff are self employed- 7 people ... the building will be cleaned daily . Sanitised in accordance with guidelines and PPE will be worn by all staff ... Do I have to complete any risk assessments? Many thanks

Sharron Kemp says:

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 20:25
How can we stop face to face when we are beauty therapists and literally work in peoples faces? Help

Janet West says:

Fri, 06/05/2020 - 04:58
Would you send me the latest news regarding Covid pandemic pls

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