Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 2: staying safe and protecting others (physical distancing)

Rules on staying safe and protecting others to help protect the NHS and save lives.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 2: staying safe and protecting others (physical distancing)
Work places and other premises

Work places and other premises

Safety is our priority. We must control the virus and try to stop it spreading.

All workplaces that are not being specifically required to close should consider a set of key questions – and at all times work on the precautionary basis:

  • is your workplace currently able to open in accordance with the dates set out in the route map for moving out of lockdown? (Some workplaces will either have no date confirmed for re-opening yet or will not have reached their respective date where that has been set out.)
  • are you able to demonstrate and give confidence to your workforce that you can consistently practice safe physical distancing and comply with ALL other standard health and safety requirements?

If the answer to any of the above questions is no, the advice of the Chief Medical Officer on a precautionary basis is to close.  

More detailed information and exemptions can be found at Coronavirus: business and physical distancing guidance. This includes the list of those businesses and other venues that must close by law.  

This means:

  • places of worship can open for the purpose of individual prayer or contemplation. This should be in accordance with Coronavirus (COVID-19): safe use of places of worship guidance
  • accommodation providers can make accommodation provision available for workers, and those people providing voluntary or charitable services, for whom it is essential to travel and require short-term accommodation. This must be line with physical distancing and public health guidance. all retail outlets that have an entrance to the outdoors can re-open. Car showrooms, betting shops, and outdoor markets can also re-open and relevant guidance should be followed. Non-essential shops in shopping centres should remain closed
  • certain self-catering accommodation can re-open to all bookings. Self-catering accommodation opening on 3 July must have no shared facilities (or none that are open) and be accessible via an external door. This will mean that any flats and tenements let as accommodation which are only accessible through an internal shared space such as a close, stairwell, hall or corridor should not open until specifically permitted to, which is expected to be the 15 July
  • restaurants, cafes and pubs can open outdoor seating areas. This must be line with physical distancing and sector guidance for tourism and hospitality. A structure which has open sides and an overhead covering to provide shelter from the elements counts as outdoors for the purposes of these regulations

Specific guidance for those visiting shops can be found at : guidance for retail customers

Customers visiting restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs are being asked to provide contact details, to support Test and Protect and ensure that contact tracing works well. Specific guidance for those visiting hospitality and tourism businesses can be found at: guidance for tourism and hospitality customers

We must control the virus and try to stop it spreading. Operators of work places and other premises that are not closed should look critically at their operations and must ensure that they take all reasonable measures so that workers and anyone else on the premises stay at least 2 metres from each other. 

Work places that are open must also ensure that they admit people into their premises in sufficiently small numbers to maintain a 2 metre distance and take steps to ensure that distance can also be maintained by people (for example, customers) waiting to enter their premises.

Further guidance for individual sectors can be found at: Coronavirus (COVID-19): collection.

First published: 6 Jul 2020 Last updated: 7 Jul 2020 -