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Coronavirus (COVID-19) latest information and advice

Help for businesses

Expand the sections below to read more about the various support, advice, and guidance topics. Go to the next page for business grants and loans.

What to do if a staff member, customer or supplier gets coronavirus

As a business, you are not just responsible for the welfare of your staff, but also the customers and suppliers you come into contact with. It's highly important to follow the steps below if anyone who works for you, or comes into contact with your workplace, reports a suspected, or confirmed case of COVID-19.

If a member of staff, customer or supplier becomes ill with symptoms of COVID-19 (or develops them within two days of visiting your business)

They MUST self-isolate as soon as symptoms start.

They should get tested by applying through GOV.UK or calling 119

They should contact anyone they have been in close contact with in the last 48 hours before developing symptoms. 

Members of their household should self-isolate until the ill person has a virus test result.

Household members will not need to self-isolate if any of the following apply:

  • you are fully vaccinated – this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine given by the NHS
  • you are under 18 years, 6 months old
  • you are taking part or have taken part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

Wider contacts do not need to self-isolate at this stage, but they should take extra care to practise social distancing and good hygiene.

As an employer, you may need to assess if any of your staff and customers have had close contact with the ill person

If the ill person's test is negative
They can return to daily activities once they feel well again.

Their household (or bubble) can stop self-isolating.

You should contact anyone that you had previously informed of the suspected case, to let them know about the negative test.

If the ill person's test is positive
The ill person should continue to self-isolate for 10 days from when symptoms began (or when their test was taken, if they have no symptoms)

The ill person should expect contact from NHS Test and Trace to ask them about recent close contacts. This contact may be via text, email or phone.

Where the positive case has been in close contact with others in a work setting, employers should call the Self-Isolation Service Hub on 020 3743 6715 as soon as they are made aware that any of their workers have tested positive (regardless of whether they have symptoms or not).

Employers will need to provide the 8-digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID (sometimes referred to as a CTAS number) of the person who tested positive, alongside the names of co-workers identified as close contacts. This will ensure that all workplace contacts are registered with NHS Test and Trace and can receive the necessary public health advice, including the support available to help people to self-isolate where required.

If NHS Test and Trace are involved
The Test and Trace service will text, email or phone everyone that the ill person identifies as a close contact. This may take 24 to 48 hours from the time that the test result is received.

The ill person's identity will not be revealed to contacts.

If NHS Test and Trace inform you that you have been in close contact with a COVID-19 case

You must self-isolate for 10 days from the date of your contact with the case, as you could develop COVID-19 at any time during this period. You are advised to take a free PCR test. Please be aware that if the PCR test comes back negative, you are still required to isolate for the full 10 days as you may be incubating the virus.

You do not need to self-isolate if any of the following apply:

  • you are fully vaccinated – this means 14 days have passed since your final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine given by the NHS
  • you are under 18 years, 6 months old
  • you are taking part or have taken part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial
  • you are not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons

If any of the above apply to you, you are instead advised to take a free PCR test and limit social contact. If the test comes back positive, you must isolate for 10 days from the date the test was taken (if no symptoms), or the date of symptom onset.

If NHS Test and Trace need helping identifying contacts
If a COVID-19 case has been to a pub, hotel, workplace or been part of a communal event, such as playing team sport, Public Health England (PHE) will become involved.
They will complete a risk assessment process. If necessary, they will contact you as an employer, and ask you to supply information which could identify contacts, such as staff rotas or visitor records. It may take 24 to 48 hours for PHE to contact you to request this information.
If you're not sure what to do
Email us at Public_Health@bathnes.gov.uk at any time for advice about what you need to do.
If there is a localised outbreak (2 or more confirmed cases)

You must phone Public Health England on 0300 303 8162.

Please also email our Public Health Team at public_health@bathnes.gov.uk

COVID-19 Vaccinations

As an employer, you are in a unique position to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme by encouraging staff to get both their first jab and then, when they are eligible, their second jab, to ensure they have maximum protection.

Supporting your employees to get vaccinated comes with several benefits. Having the COVID-19 vaccine means:

  • your employees can better protect themselves and those around them
  • lower risk of your employees catching and spreading COVID-19 to colleagues, therefore reducing the negative impact on your workforce
  • protecting your customers when using your services
  • bringing your staff back safely into the workplace sooner

All those aged 18 and over can book their vaccination through the NHS booking service. You can also call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.

To find out more about how you can support vaccination of your workforce, please see COVID-19 vaccination: guide for employers.

If there is something you are not clear about, the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group website has answers to many commonly asked questions and specific frequently asked questions for health and social care workers.

COVID-19 testing

Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus don’t have symptoms, don’t realise they’re infected and may, therefore, spread the virus around their workplace without knowing it.

Twice-weekly rapid testing plays a critical role in safer working, stopping the spread of the virus, and is key to breaking the chains of transmission. Regular testing alongside the vaccine will ensure we can continue to ease our way out of lockdown.

Rapid testing is free for everyone and particularly important for those who cannot work from home and those who are working in the community.

As employers, encouraging your workforce to take up the offer of twice-weekly rapid testing is one of several measures that can help to provide a safe and secure workplace that protects the health of your workers and customers. Your workforce regularly accessing rapid testing will help to limit any future impact of COVID-19 cases in your workplace, reducing disruption to your business.

You can find information about how to access free rapid tests for your employees on our web page.

Anyone with one or more of the following symptoms should take a different test called a PCR test.

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss or change to sense of smell or taste.

Book a free PCR test on GOV.UK or call 119.

COVID-19 staff risk assessment tool

The COVID-19 staff risk assessment tool has been developed by Bath and North East Somerset Council using national government guidance and information provided by the National Health Service. It is intended as a guide for employers to use to assess any staff members’ level of risk to developing serious illness following an infection with COVID-19. The tool offers actions that employers and staff can take to reduce this risk to as low as is reasonably practicable.

Download the COVID-19 staff risk assessment tool

NHS Test and Trace service in the workplace

The NHS Test and Trace service does the following:

  • provides testing for anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 to find out if they have the virus
  • gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had
  • alerts those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them they need to self-isolate to help stop the spread of the virus

By following instructions to self-isolate, people who have had close recent contact with someone with COVID-19 will be protecting their family, friends, colleagues and other people around them, and will play a direct role in stopping the spread of the virus.

Visit GOV.UK for further information on how the NHS Test and Trace service works

Guidance on the NHS Test and Trace service for employers, workers and for the self-employed

Collecting customer and visitor data for NHS Test and Trace

The opening up of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. And so businesses should assist this service by doing the following things:

  • Keep a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days (in a way that is manageable for your business)
  • Assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data, if needed

This could help to contain clusters or outbreaks.

Local Outbreak Management Plan

The B&NES Local Outbreak Management Plan defines the majority of employment sites as places. A list of high risk places is listed in appendix 1 of the plan.

Find COVID-19 advice and guidance for businesses

How to make your workplace COVID-19 secure

For detailed guidance on how to make you workplace COVID-19 secure, please follow government advice

COVID-19 webinar for accommodation providers

We (the council) held a COVID-19 webinar for accommodation providers (hotels and other guest accommodation) on Thursday 6 August 2020.

The aim of the webinar was to support these providers to become COVID-19 secure, and prepare and respond to possible and confirmed cases of COVID-19 amongst employees and guests.

The webinar was recorded and is available to watch on the Council’s YouTube Channel

Webinar resources

Get help from Invest in Bath

Our Invest in Bath service is co-ordinating support services to local businesses in light of the COVID-19 public health situation. If you have specific concerns, questions or needs at this time, please email info@investinbath.co.uk and the team will respond directly.

Apply for the expanded retail discount

Apply for the business rates expanded retail discount for occupied retail, leisure and hospitality premises. Eligible premises will receive a discount of up to 100% on their bill for the 2020/21 financial year.

Apply for expanded retail discount online