Health and wellbeing Coronavirus - Businesses and employers

NHS Test and Trace and early outbreak management Information for employers

Last updated 2.05pm Wednesday 28 August

How can your business or organisation support NHS Test and Trace?

You have a vital role in cutting the spread of the virus and reducing the risk of your people having to self-isolate. Here’s how:

  • Let staff work from home where possible.
  • If they can’t, control workplace risks with the right measures:
    • Don’t let people with symptoms visit your premises.
    • Encourage frequent hand cleaning and good ‘respiratory hygiene’. 
    • Clean regularly.
    • Maintain social distancing and minimise contact and mixing.
  • Encourage workers to self-isolate when told to.

You can see sector-specific workplace guidance on

All this will limit the chances of your people having to self-isolate. But you should also review business continuity plans in case several of your staff must self-isolate at once.

COVID-19 early outbreak management information

The COVID-19 Early Outbreak Management Information has been created to make sure people who run businesses or organisations know how to recognise an incident of COVID-19 and how to contain and report it, should an outbreak occur.

If you manage a business and become aware of two or more employees or customers testing positive for Coronavirus please contact Public Health England for advice: call the GM Health Protection Team on 0344 225 0562 (select option 3)

Action Cards have been produced to help businesses and other organisations work effectively with their local public health teams when dealing with an outbreak. They have been produced in a collaborative effort, led by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) and Public Health England, with contributions from local authorities and other partners'

Download the action cards from PHE

Anyone who gets symptoms should get tested

Here’s what you need to know if your staff get COVID symptoms, or if they’re told they are a “close contact” of someone who’s tested positive.

Anyone who develops COVID-19 symptoms must stay at home for 10 days. And members of their household must stay at home for 14 days—even if they don’t have symptoms. 

The symptoms to watch for are:

  • A new, continuous cough, OR
  • A fever (a temperature of 37.8°C or higher) OR
  • A loss of — or a change in — normal sense of taste or smell. 


Order a test online or by call 119. 

If you employ keyworkers, you can also book tests for them if they — or someone in their household — get symptoms. Register for this by e-mail at

NHS Test and Trace will provide evidence that someone’s been told to self-isolate.

See more on getting tested on

NHS contact tracing

People who’ve been in “close contact” with someone who’s tested positive must also stay at home for 14 days, even if they don’t have symptoms — to stop them spreading the virus without realising it.

A ‘close contact’ is :

  • A household contact of a case


  • Someone who has had face to face contact with a case for any length of time, including being coughed on or talked to. This includes exposure within 1 metre for 1 minute or longer. It also includes anyone who has travelled in a small vehicle with someone who has tested positive.


  • Someone who has had extended close contact (within 1-2m for more than 15 minutes) with a case

NHS Test and Trace will contact all those who test positive to identify these close contacts. 

Close contacts will then be told what they must do and how to get local support if they need it.

Test and Trace and keeping customer records

The opening up of the economy following the COVID-19 outbreak is being supported by NHS Test and Trace. The Government advises that businesses should assist this service by keeping a temporary record of your customers and visitors for 21 days, in a way that is manageable for your business, and assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed. This could help contain clusters or outbreaks. 

Many businesses that take bookings already have systems for recording their customers and visitors – including restaurants, hotels, and hair salons. 

The Government has released guidance on maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace.

Statutory Sick Pay 

NHS Test and Trace will provide evidence that someone’s been told to self-isolate. 

Workers in self-isolation can get Statutory Sick Pay if they qualify. As an employer, you may be able to claim back employees’ Statutory Sick Pay. 

For further information

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