Business guide to Covid-19

Shetland Islands Council Environmental Health Service is operational and will respond to service requests from businesses and the public whilst ensuring the latest government guidelines are being followed. We are committed to meeting our statutory obligations and will continue to carry out duties to protect public health, public safety and animal welfare at this time.

The council is committed to work with the Scottish Government and other agencies to continue to protect public health in Shetland during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Please refer to the joint COVID-19: safer work places statement from the Scottish Govenrment.

Phased Approach

The Scottish Government has published a route map for easing restrictions over four phases. The third phase of the plan began in early July 2020 and will gradually allow more categories of businesses to re-open. The latest important change was on the 15th July with the re-opening of indoor hospitality, holiday accommodation, places of worship, libraries, museums and hairdressers.

In advance of each phase, the Scottish Government is publishing sector specific guidance to help businesses prepare for re-opening. All other businesses should remain closed at this time until further relaxations to the regulations are announced by the First Minister. Even if the sector specific guidance relevant to your business is not yet published, you can still start to prepare. You may also have access to sector specific guidance released by trade associations which you may be part of. This information will assist in the development of procedures to be implemented to reduce the risk of transmission within your premises and protect the health of employees and the public.

Key COVID-19 Principles - Protect yourself and others

We must all

  • Follow the physical distancing and staying safe advice

  • Follow the shielding advice if this applies to you

  • Follow the guidance to self-isolate if you or a household member has symptoms of COVID-19 or have a COVID-19 diagnosis (whether you/ they have symptoms or not). Details are available on NHS Inform

  • Follow Test and Protect advice
  • Follow hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene advice

The following document offers further advice in these areas:

https://www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/web-resources-container/covid-19-guidance-for-non-healthcare-settings/

Social Distancing and Face Coverings

To stay safe, to protect others and to save lives customers should:

  • remember the facts
    • Face coverings in enclosed spaces
    • Avoid crowded places
    • Clean your hands and surfaces regularly
    • Two-metre social distancing
    • Self-isolate and book a test if you develop coronavirus symptoms
  • shop local - do not travel further than necessary when visiting stores
  • be patient - shopping may take longer than you may be used to and you may need to queue for longer as a result. Please do not smoke when queuing outside shops.
  • wear a face covering- when you go in to stores you must wear a face covering unless one of the exemptions apply.

Further guidance is available here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-consumers/

Retailers

If you are a retailer, one exercise you can carry out now is to use the Retailers checklist. This will help you identify what COVID-19 measures you may need to put in place within your premises.Please go to https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-retail-sector-guidance/

Please evidence that you have considered this information carefully by completing the checklist and taking the appropriate steps required to demonstrate compliance. Should an officer decide to visit your premises whether routinely or following a complaint, the Retailer’s checklist and the workplace COVID-19 risk assessments mentioned below will be relevant documentation that may be inspected.

Hospitality and Tourism

The tourism and hospitality sector is very important to Shetland and encompasses many types of businesses of varying models and size. It includes:

  • all accommodation providers (hotels, B&Bs, self-catering, caravan/holiday parks etc. )
  • visitor attractions
  • marine and adventure tourism
  • other activity or experience tourism operations/centres
  • tour operators
  • pubs and restaurants
  • retail aspects of tourism
  • natural spaces insofar as they relate to tourism, such as RSPB or National Trust of Scotland sites

To help you decide which actions to take, you need to carry out an appropriate COVID-19 risk assessment, just as you would for other health and safety related hazards. Please go to:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-tourism-and-hospitality-sector-guidance/

The checklist provided should help you get started. This risk assessment should be undertaken in consultation with trade unions or workforce representatives where relevant. The key areas that you need to consider are outlined in each of the sections.

Many operators are members of trade bodies who, in turn, have developed helpful guidelines for their sectors to coordinate effort to help businesses be ready for re-opening, when it is safe to do so.

Guidance on Collection of Customer and Visitor Details

This guidance is a tool to support customer and visitor data gathering for businesses and other establishments in Scotland where the nature of the premises means there may be an increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 due to a higher degree of interaction between unknown individuals. It sets out how to collect individual contact details in a safe and secure manner which is compliant with data protection legislation, to assist NHS Scotland in responding to outbreaks of COVID-19. It sets out key actions and information around the collection of customer and visitor data as restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic are eased. This guidance comes into effect from 15 July. From this date, premises within the sectors listed in the guidance should gather minimal contact details from customers to support NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect service. This measure will form part of the national effort to suppress COVID19, and support the country to return to a more normal way of life.

Click on this link for the guidance:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/test-protect-multi-sector-guidance-collection-customer-visitor-contact-details-july-2020/

Specific Guidance for Food Businesses

If you run a food business, before you consider preparing or delivering any food you must consider the current Scottish Government advice in relation to your own health and that of any people you may have working or volunteering with you.

Food Standards Scotland has recently published a useful Q & A document for consumers and businesses in relation to Coronavirus (COVID-19) and food:

https://www.foodstandards.gov.scot/consumers/food-safety/coronavirus/questions-and-answers-covid-19

And also information and guidance in respect of COVID-19 for different food business operators and their employees.

If you are considering changing your business model you should notify us and update your food business details using our Food Business Registration Form, which is available here.

https://www.shetland.gov.uk/environmental_health/FoodRegistration.asp

Changing your business model to include cook or chill processes and deliveries, will potentially introduce new and additional hazards to your business. In order to ensure that food is produced in a safe manner and therefore is fit for human consumption, you should review your food safety management system to identify potential hazards and implement effective controls.

Having a food safety management system is a legal requirement in Scotland and if you are a caterer then we recommend you learn about and apply a system called CookSafe https://www.foodstandards.gov.scot/publications-and-research/publications/cooksafe-manual

CookSafe will help any catering businesses understand and implement what’s called HACCP-based systems (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point). By reading this manual and following the instructions, you will be able to develop HACCP-based procedures that fit your needs.

Allergens

It remains a legal requirement to provide allergen information to consumers at point of sale. This includes businesses now providing takeaway meals, as well as those donating food. Even a tiny trace can cause an allergic reaction, and your business has to manage the risk. Follow these requirements when cooking for people with allergies to help keep your customers safe. It is essential to keep accurate records of ingredient information to hand to provide to anyone who may have specific requirements.

You must provide information at two stages:

  • Prior to point of ordering online menus or verbally
  • At point of delivery - highlight which allergen/s are present in on the pack

Only if you are able to demonstrate to environmental health that you are able to do so, you may make allergen free foods specifically to order. Be aware that businesses are not obliged to offer an allergen free option. If you wish to make allergen free foods please contact environmental health so that we can help you to ensure your products are safe.

Highlight the allergen information on the container, and provide a name where it might not be obvious which dish is which in an order. View further guidance on how to provide allergen information, including templates which can be downloaded free of charge.

Food Deliveries

Every effort should be made to minimise contact with individuals outwith your household, therefore deliveries should be made ‘contactless’. Whilst in transit, you must make sure that the product is stored correctly – that is chilled products transported between 1 to 5°C. A cool box with ice packs can be used as an alternative to a refrigerated van. When arriving at a property, the delivery driver should minimise contact and stand two metres away from the recipient. Detailed advice on distance selling and delivery has been made available.

Further Information

For further advice please contact the Environmental Health Service on Tel: 01595 745250 or Email: ehadmin@shetland.gov.uk.