Print Icon

28 May 2020 - Update #17

This is our latest email bulletin relating to the COVID-19 outbreak - for more information about our services, how we can help you and links to national and local updates, please visit our dedicated webpage

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement this week, which revealed the timeline for businesses to reopen in the coming weeks, this bulletin will focus on how our levy payers can safely and efficiently get ready for when the time comes to open to the public. Our useful links section will signpost to more specific guidance and advice from a range of sources, which you may find helpful.    

The Proposed Timeline 
The Prime Minister has stated that outdoor markets, garden centres and car showrooms will be able to open from 1 June. On 15 June, all other non-essential business will be able to reopen providing they follow the COVID secure guidelines. These non-essential businesses include shops that sell clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, homeware and electronics, plus mobile phone stores, betting shops and chemists. 

How To Get Your Business Ready
Each business is different and will need to take specific measures to meet the requirements to make their business safe for both staff members and customers to return to. It is advised to follow through the Working safely during coronavirus’ guides relevant to your sector to understand what is needed. You may need to use more than one guide if your organisation covers multiple sectors (i.e a shop with an office). Alongside the Government announcement the ‘Shops and branches’ guide has been updated for the retail sector detailing the measures to take to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards. These practical actions for businesses to take are based on five steps:

    1.  Carry Out A COVID-19 Risk Assessment

Businesses will only be allowed to open from the above dates if they have completed a risk assessment. The HSE ‘Managing risks and risk assessment at work’ guidance can help you produce the correct risk assessment. Once you have carried out a risk assessment you should share this with your staff and even have a printed copy within the business for reference. For office based businesses, Knight Frank has produced a ‘COVID-10 office re-occupancy roadmap’ which offers advice on how best to repopulate the workplace. Once a business has completed a risk assessment you can display this official poster in your window to let customers know you have taken the correct steps to ensure a safe workplace. 

    2.  Develop Cleaning, Handwashing and Hygiene Procedures 

All members of staff should be encouraged to regularly wash their hands for at least 20 seconds - NHS guidance can be read here. It is advised to provide hand sanitiser in the workplace and increase cleaning of areas and objects which are touched regularly such as tables, worksurfaces, counters and products. If your business has a bathroom either for customers or staff, ensure you have clear guidance for their use and for cleaning them. For full guidance on cleaning in non-healthcare settings go here.

Although the hospitality sector is not set to reopen until July at the earliest, restaurants, pubs, cafes, and other types of food businesses are able to sell products for delivery or collection, if the correct guidance is followed. You can read through the ‘Reopening checklist for food businesses’ here as well as the Government specific guidance here.

    3.  Help People to Work from Home 
Continued advice remains that if possible, encourage your staff to work from home. Check that they have all the correct equipment, include them in communications and have regular virtual check-ins with them. Maintaining positive physical and mental wellbeing is important to think about when employees are at home. You can visit the Every Mind Matters page to either share ideas with your staff or to help yourself manage your own wellbeing.

    4.  Maintain 2m Social Distancing, Where Possible 
Under Government advice, businesses need to try to enforce the 2m social distancing rule wherever possible both on shop floors and within staff areas. You could do this by:
  • Putting up signs to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance
  • Avoiding sharing workstations
  • Using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep to a 2m distance
  • Arranging one-way traffic through the workplace if possible
  • Switching to seeing visitors by appointment only if possible

    5. Where People Cannot Be 2m Apart, Manage Transmission Risk 
Transmission risk can be both person to person or person to surface, so minimising close contact between employers and customers is top priority. Possible measures could include: 
  • Creating barriers between shared spaces
  • Shift patterns or fixed teams 
  • Staggering shift start and end times 
  • Use back-to-back or side-to-side working styles 
  • Consider which activities are needed for the business to operate 
  • Consider protective measures such as masks and screens

How To Get Your Property Ready 
Every property will be different based on function, size and number of employees. However, all fire, electrical, health and safety risks should be checked and managed before opening. The following measures should be considered: 
  • Businesses have a duty to assess and implement measures to control the risk of legionella. Properties which have been left unoccupied and unused for a long period of time can build up stagnant water in their systems which can increase the risk of Legionnaires disease. This must be handled prior to opening, you can read the HSE guidance here
  • Fire safety checks are important to carry out regularly, especially if your business has been closed for several weeks. This would include checking that smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and sprinklers are in working order. Conducting a fire safety drill with your workforce may also be beneficial. You can find more guidance from the NFCC here
  • Other areas you may wish to check before reopening are heating systems, ventilation systems, gas safety, fire extinguishers, electrical hazards, plumbing and any security measures you may have in place

What Is the BID Doing? 
We are working in close partnership with Southampton City Council to plan and implement measures across the city centre to ensure workers, residents and visitors have a hassle-free experience within a COVID-secure city. We are considering the following interventions:
  • Suspending street parking and utilising carriageways to widen footpaths to allow for social distancing measures, especially in areas with narrow pathways (such as Bedford Place/East Street) 
  • Queue markers around areas of expected high footfall such as Above Bar Street and High Street including the introduction of clearly marked one-way queues and exit systems
  • Additional stewards or security may be needed to help manage queues and pedestrian flows in the city
Additional cleaning regimes are already in place to ensure high contact areas of the city centre are being safely and routinely cleaned, ready for when visitors return. The BID’s cleaning team are working in partnership with Southampton City Council’s cleaning team to jet wash and disinfect public furniture with antiviral spray across the city centre on a daily rotation. More measures are being thought through to allow for extra cleaning. 

A Reopening High Streets Safely Fund of £50m was announced this week, which will be split across local councils to support the reopening of the high street by implementing the necessary measures. We hope that through this funding, we can work with the council to ensure the correct procedures are put in place both outside our businesses and on the high streets. 

Our number one priority is supporting our businesses through the phased recovery. If you have any specific queries, get in touch with us on You can also fill out our recovery survey here, to help us better understand how we can provide the appropriate support during this time.

We want to help our levy payers as best we can through this time, and with that need funding from levy bills to do so. We recently sent out our BID levy bills in March but few have been paid. We are extremely grateful to the businesses who have paid them and can understand why most haven't. Please do pay your levy bill as soon as you can afford to do so. That way we can play a major part in bringing the city back to life and attracting customers to your door.

Useful Links
  • View social distancing and hygiene guidance from Association of Convenience Stores here.
  • Read HSE’s short guide to working safely during the coronavirus outbreak here.
  • Visit the British Retail Consortium coronavirus hub for more information and business webinars here.
  • Read the Paris Smith returning to work page from here.
  • Read how to clean your workplace safely here.
  • Read the Governments COVID-19 Action Plan here.
  • For Government guidance for businesses, employers and employees go here.
  • Sign up for the Government’s specific business support email bulletins here.
  • Sign up for general Government coronavirus email updates here.
  • Check if your business can reopen here.
  • Watch and sign up for Government webinars for further support here.
  • View the Council's latest coronavirus information here.
  • Sign up for the Council's business e-newsletter here.

    Our Contact Information  

    You can reach the BID team via If you have any queries at all, or if you think we might be able to help you with something specific, please do not hesitate to contact us.