Health and wellbeing Coronavirus - Businesses and employers

Advice for employers in the hospitality industry

One or more of your employees has tested positive for COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know.

1. You must send them home and tell them to isolate for ten days

If a member(s) of your staff has tested positive, you must send them home and advise them to self-isolate and stay at home for at least ten days. The ten days will start from the day their symptoms started (or the date of the test if they do not have symptoms but were asked to get a test).

You should tell them not to return to work and not leave the house or go outside their home at any time. This will reduce the risk of them infecting others.

You should make sure they understand that they should stay at home for the full ten days, and follow the Government’s advice:

  • Do not go to work, school, or public areas
  • Do not use public transport or taxis
  • Avoid contact with anyone you live with as far as possible
  • Wash your hand often, and clean surfaces such as door handles and railings regularly
  • Only take exercise in your home or garden
  • Do not leave the house to buy food or other essentials.

They should order their shopping and medication online or by phone.

Delivery drivers should not enter their home, and items should be left outside for collection.

If they require help with buying groceries, other shopping, picking up medication, or walking a dog, they should ask friends or family, or contact their local council.

As their employer you may need to provide support for workers around mental health and wellbeing. This could include advice or telephone support.

2. You should send home any other staff who have symptoms and ask them to get a test

You should send home any other staff with symptoms immediately and tell them to self-isolate and get a test.

Staff who receive a negative result can return to work as long as they have not been deemed a contact of the person who tested positive, in which case they must stay at home for 14 days, regardless of a negative result.

3. Make sure staff know that everyone they live with should stay at home for 14 days

You should make sure your employee(s) understand that everyone they live with must also stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days.

They may be feeling well and not have or develop any COVID-19 symptoms, but it is still essential that they stay at home for 14 days. This is because if they have been infected, they could be infectious to others for up to 14 days.

Some people infected with the virus don’t show any symptoms at all but can still spread the virus while infectious.

Staying at home will help prevent the spread of the virus to family, friends, the wider community, and particularly those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

4. Everyone they live with should get a free COVID-19 test if they develop symptoms

If anyone they live with has any symptoms of COVID-19, they should book a free COVID-19 test immediately on nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

This is because the test is most accurate in the first five days of having symptoms.

Symptoms include:

  • A fever
  • A persistent or new cough
  • Loss of or change in sense of smell and taste.

Contact tracing

You may be asked to share records of staff, customers and visitors.

Following a positive COVID-19 test result linked to your premises (either a staff member(s) or customer(s)) you may be asked to share your records of staff, customers and visitors with NHS Test and Trace and/or Manchester’s Contact Tracing Response Team to identify people who may have been exposed to the virus. These are known as close contacts.

What does a close contact mean?

Close contacts are not just family and people you live with. A close contact can also be anyone who has been in close contact with the person(s) who tested positive where they have had:

Direct contact without full PPE

This means face-to-face contact for any length of time, within one metre, including:

  • being coughed on
  • a face-to-face conversation physical contact (skin to skin) without PPE
  • travel in a small vehicle
  • any exposure within a one-metre distance, for one minute or longer.

Extended contact without full PPE

This is where you have been in contact with people within a one to two-metre distance for more than 15 minutes.

For PPE to be protective, it must be the appropriate level of PPE for the setting (fluid-repellent surgical mask/ FFP3, gloves, apron/coverall, and eye protection if appropriate) and the PPE must not be breached during the contact with the case.

For staff who work in the hospitality industry the list of potential close contacts could be significant, and wearing a visor or face covering does not stop the following people from being a contact:

  • Customers employees have served/chatted to while face to face within a one-metre distance
  • Customers employees have served/chatted to for more than 15 minutes, while one to two metres away
  • Managers/staff members employees have interacted/worked with within a one-metre distance
  • Managers/staff members employees have spent more than 15 minutes with, while one to two metres away
  • Managers/staff members that employees have socialised with outside of work either face to face within a one-metre distance, or for more than 15 minutes within a one to two-metre distance.

Customers could also be contacts if mingling with different households or groups on your premises. As a venue you must facilitate and properly manage customers on your premises to ensure that social-distancing rules are followed, ie. two metres or one metre (with mitigations) to reduce transmission of the virus. Customers from different groups must not be within one metre of each other and must not socially interact.

What information will I be required to provide?

You will be required to provide information on who worked at your premises and who visited in the period covering 48 hours before the affected employee developed symptoms of COVID-19, and up to the positive test result when the member(s) of staff was sent home.

Similarly, if the positive case is a customer, you will be expected to have such information for the time they visited your premises.

Where possible, you should be recording, and should be able to provide, the following information to aid contact tracing:

Staff

  • The names of staff who worked at the premises
  • A contact phone number for each member of staff
  • The dates and times staff are at work.

Customers and visitors

  • The name of the customer or visitor and a contact number. If there is more than one person, then you can record the name of the ‘lead member’ of the group and the number of people in the group
  • Date of visit, arrival time and, where possible, departure (this will help reduce the number of customers or staff needing to be contacted by NHS Test and Trace)
  • Name of the staff member(s) who served the group
  • It is advisable where possible to keep records of where the customers sat (if sat at a table). This will significantly help to identify potential contacts should a positive COVID-19 case be linked to your premises. If you don’t keep such accurate records, it may mean that every customer needs to be contacted following a positive COVID-19 case, rather than potentially just a few.

You should, along with the employee, identify potential workplace contacts and ensure that any staff deemed to be contacts are sent home for 14 days to self-isolate.

They may be feeling well and not have or develop any COVID-19 symptoms, but it is still essential that they stay at home for 14 days. This is because if they have been infected, they could be infectious to others at any point up to 14 days. The 14-day period will begin from the last contact with the person who tested positive.

Some people infected with the virus don’t show any symptoms at all but can still spread the virus while infectious.

Staying at home will help prevent the spread of the virus to family, friends, the wider community, and particularly those who are clinically extremely vulnerable. As a hospitality setting this could also include other members of your staff and customers.

In the interest of protecting Public Health staff, while you may have really good COVID-19 secure practices, procedures and policies in place, you and your staff should feel comfortable saying if these
have not been followed. This will also help Public Health staff offer you the correct support and guidance.

You should advise the NHS Test and Trace Team or the Manchester Contact Tracing Response Team if you think that any customers may have come into contact with the person who tested positive.

A ‘warn and inform’ fact sheet can be given to you to send out to all potentially affected customers to alert them to the fact that they may have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. They would not need to isolate or get a test, unless they were deemed a close contact, but the information would assist them in making decisions, eg. not coming into contact with vulnerable family members for 14 days, to protect them and to help minimise the spread of the virus.

You should advise staff that close contacts of the person/people who tested positive may be contacted.

The NHS Test and Trace Team and/or the Manchester Contact Tracing Response Team will also contact your employee(s) and ask them to share information about any close contacts they have had just before and after they developed symptoms.

Returning to work

Make sure your staff members know that retesting won’t mean they can return to work any quicker.

Employees should not be retested during the ten-day isolation period following their positive COVID-19 result.

This is because regardless of the results of a second test, positive or negative, they must stay at home for the full ten days.

It is also important to note that contacts of positive cases must self-isolate for 14 days. Having a negative test does not mean they can return to work earlier, as the test is only valid on the day it was taken and they could have been about to develop symptoms/become infectious.

Employees can return to work after ten days, as long as they feel well and do not have a fever.

After ten days, employees who have tested positive/had COVID symptoms (and after 14 days, employee contacts of positive cases) can return to work, as long as they feel well and no longer have a fever. The cough and change to sense of taste or smell may still be present for some time, but these symptoms do not mean they have to continue to isolate.

When they return to work, you should make sure that they follow your COVID-secure guidelines.

You must do all that you can to ensure that social-distancing measures are in place at your venue. If you are able to keep everyone two metres apart, no one will be classed as a contact.

We understand that a two-metre distance is not possible for every business, so if you are operating to one-metre-plus mitigating factors, you must have the mitigating factors in place.

For example, where the mitigating factor is that customers are seated at a table, they are sitting back to back; they must be seated back to back and at least one metre apart.

One-metre-plus mitigating factors will reduce risk but may not prevent someone being classed as a contact.

The coronavirus pandemic is an evolving situation. You must keep up to date with changing guidance by regularly visiting:

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