What is this?
This action card relates to the measures retail premises must take, by law, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Those responsible for these businesses are required to take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of people being exposed to coronavirus, and spreading the virus, at their premises.
As a basis for deciding what measures should be taken, they must also carry out a specific assessment of the risk posed by the coronavirus.
The Action Card highlights risks generally associated with these venues and considers what reasonable measures could to be taken to mitigate those risks.
This is not an exhaustive list and other reasonable measures not referred to below may be appropriate.
If you have questions or concerns please seek advice from your local authority’s environmental health department as soon as possible. Please be aware and respectful of the fact that their role is to ensure that appropriate reasonable measures are taken so that your venue can operate as safely as possible. However, it is not their role to approve your risk assessment.
Specific risks in these venues
The risks related to events will vary significantly depending on the size of the event, the number of people attending, the location, and the type of activities. Some events will be much higher risk, in particular larger events and events where people are indoors in close proximity for long periods of time.
It is important that events businesses appreciate that the pandemic is not over, and that mixing at events could lead to a significant increase in cases of coronavirus. Many of those who attend events will be aware of this and wary of the risk. Similarly, the Welsh Government will be closely monitoring the way events operate.
While risks will vary depending on the event, the following risks will be typical:
- close physical interaction, including queuing in close proximity to others before entry and while at the event venue, for example at food and drink outlets, corridors and aisles, toilets and near stages;
- increased likelihood of mixing and face to face interaction, exacerbated by the influence of alcohol;
- raising of voices over loud music increasing risk of aerosol transmission;
- potential for poor ventilation, particularly problematic where people spend prolonged periods together (indoors) at events.
What reasonable measures should I consider taking to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus?
While it is unlikely to be possible to mitigate the risks completely in all premises, some measures are reasonable to take, so must be taken.
You should consider whether the following measures are reasonable to take. The measures you take should be informed by your assessment of the risk of coronavirus spreading at your premises and tailored to your specific circumstances. The Welsh Government has produced a standard template for coronavirus risk assessments, and there is further information available to support you provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
Reduce the chance of coronavirus being present
- Requiring staff and (where feasible) customers to take a test before they enter the event.
- Requiring staff and (where feasible) customers to show that they have been vaccinated before they enter the event.
- Asking customers if they have been vaccinated, have recently been tested or if they have COVID-19 symptoms before they enter the event.
- Informing customers and staff that anyone who is symptomatic, has tested positive, is awaiting a test result or has been advised to self-isolate by NHS Wales Test Trace Protect, must not enter the event.
The best way of preventing spread of coronavirus in any premises is to reduce the risk of the virus being on the premises in the first place.
- Limiting numbers or controlling movement of people so that where possible customers can safely distance themselves from others. For example use one way systems to walk around the events and control the movement of people coming together in confined areas such as toilets and food and drink outlets, and near stages.
- Controlling entry and exit points to prevent people coming together.
- Adopting a table service system where appropriate for food and drink available at the event.
Limit your capacity
- Reducing numbers. In determining the capacity of the event, the number of people who may attend at any one time, remember that lowering numbers will reduce the extent to which close physical interaction will occur, in particular by reducing the potential for crowding.
- Spreading people evenly across the venue so that they don’t gather in disproportionate numbers in one room or space.
Improve your ventilation or go outside
- Enhancing airflow by opening windows and propping open internal doors (but not fire doors) where possible.
- If there is a lack of natural ventilation, ensuring mechanical ventilation systems provide 100% fresh air and do not recirculate air from one space to another.
- Making sure mechanical ventilation systems are effectively maintained and have been serviced.
- Monitoring CO2 levels to identify areas where ventilation may be poor.
- Encouraging use of outdoor space instead of staying indoors.
Keep the event venue clean
- Minimising the number of surfaces and objects people can touch. For example, limit contact with menus, use Apps to order and pay for food or drink, use contactless technology.
- Thorough and regular cleaning using disinfectant in high footfall areas and in high contact touchpoints such as counter tops, tables and door handles.
- Placing hand sanitisers in multiple locations, particularly at entry points and elsewhere at key touchpoints, and providing automated soap dispensers, water and paper towels in washrooms.
Keep the noise down
- Lowering the volume of any music played to reduce the need for people to shout or bring their faces close together to talk.
Look after your staff
- Implementing systems to minimise contacts between staff. For example, stagger staff shifts, break times and deliveries; set a maximum number for kitchens, staff rooms, changing rooms and areas such as smoking shelters.
- Providing staff with face coverings or other PPE.
- Erecting screens to protect staff, for example in the bar area or where people pay.
- Facilitating (and not preventing) members of staff that test positive from self-isolating, as required by law.
Remember face coverings
- Helping to ensure that people present comply with their legal obligation to wear a face covering.
- In hospitality settings, despite face coverings not being a general legal obligation, requiring them to be worn in some areas if other ways of mitigating risk aren’t practical.
Help Test, Trace, Protect
- Understanding the role of the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect system has in monitoring and controlling the virus.
- Informing customers and staff that anyone who is symptomatic, has tested positive, is awaiting a test result or has been asked to self-isolate must not enter your premises.
- Keeping records of staff, customers and visitors to support the NHS Wales TTP Service.
You have a legal obligation to provide information to those entering or working at your premises about how to minimise the risk of exposure to coronavirus. This includes, in particular, information to all those present about their risk of exposure to coronavirus identified in the risk assessment and the measures to be taken at the premises to minimise this risk.
This could include announcements, clear signage (e.g. signs, floor tape or paint) for limits on the number people present in a particular area or room, queuing systems and one way systems. Information can also be provided before the event.