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Advice for shops and businesses | Sandwell Council

Advice for shops and businesses

Updated Wednesday 30 December

Find out about shops and businesses that can remain open and which businesses need to close under Tier 4.

For essential shops and businesses that remain open

As a business you can play a leading role in preventing the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19), keeping you, your customers and your staff safe. Maintaining the social distancing rules, use of hand sanitisers and increasing cleansing are all vital in achieving this.

It is compulsory to wear a face covering or face mask in all shops and supermarkets, as well as on  all public transport (buses, trains and the Metro.)

Face coverings must also be worn in banks, building societies and post offices, places of worship, community centres, funeral homes, crematoria and visitor attractions. You can see a full list of where you are required to wear a face covering on the government website.

It is compulsory to wear a face covering when buying food and drink to take away from cafes and shops. If you are in a premises where you are able to sit down and consume food or drink that you have bought, then you can remove your face covering in order to eat and drink on-site.

Government information on wearing face coverings, including exemptions, and how to make your own cloth face covering

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) advice on face coverings and face masks at work

Think Sandwell website advice for businesses

Go to our Think Sandwell website for a range of detailed advice on returning to work safely and making your workplace safer.

There is also advice on working safely on the Government's website and Business Companion website.

Shops and businesses reopening can also join in the Government's #OpenForBusiness social media campaign.

Important posters to display

Have you displayed your Staying Covid-19 Secure in 2020 poster to show customers you have carried out the Government's guidance on managing the risk of Covid-19?
Download the Five Steps To Working Safer Together poster here.

There is also a We Are Open poster which has advice for customers on following social distancing guidance and allows you to display the number of customers allowed in your premises at any one time.
Download the We Are Open poster

Our Please Shop Safely poster has key advice for shoppers which you can also display at your premises.
Download the Please Shop Safely poster

Download the wear face coverings poster.

Download multi-language posters promoting a range of safety messages

Key advice for shoppers

Our shops and businesses look forward to welcoming you back. To help keep everyone safe, please follow these four key pieces of advice:

  • If you feel unwell, you must stay at home
  • Keep a safe distance – 2 metres where possible and at least 1 metre otherwise – from other people
  • Wear a face covering – this is compulsory
  • Use hand gel if you can and wash your hands as soon as you get home

People are also encouraged to avoid shopping in groups, walk or cycle to the shops if they can, and to pay by contactless rather than cash whenever possible.

Download our Please Shop Safely poster.

Key advice for businesses

1. Work from home, if you can

2. Carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment, in consultation with workers or trade unions. 
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website has guidance on working safely during Covid-19 and how to undertake a risk assessment.  

3. Check the maintenance of your premises, including the safety of your water supply and prevention of Legionella
Guidance is available on the Think Sandwell website for managing Legionella.

4. Maintain 2 metres social distancing, wherever possible
Think about how you will need to re-design workspaces to maintain at least 1 metre (2 metre wherever possible) distances between people; for example: staggering start times, creating one-way walk-throughs, opening more entrances and exits, changing seating layouts in break rooms, appointment times, signage. Each business needs to consider what will work for them.

5. Where people cannot be 2 metres apart, manage transmission risk
Some aspects of the business may need to be changed or stopped if transmission risks can’t be controlled. Consider putting barriers in shared spaces, creating workplace shift patterns or fixed teams minimising the number of people in contact with one another, or ensuring colleagues are facing away from each other, depending on the nature of the business. Face coverings and face masks will be compulsory in shops and supermarkets from 24 July.

6. Reinforce cleaning processes
Workplaces should be cleaned more frequently, paying close attention to high-contact objects like door handles and keyboards. Employers should provide handwashing facilities or hand sanitisers at entry and exit points. Employees should wash their hands more frequently for at least 20 seconds.

7. Limit cash handling and encourage contactless payment when possible

8. Talk with your workers about preventing the spread of coronavirus
The HSE website has guidance on this talking to workers about preventing the spread of coronavirus.

Read our detailed tips for reopening your business or go to the Think Sandwell website.

Guidance for businesses on Test and Trace

If anyone has any concerns regarding a business not complying with requirements, please email

Other useful resources

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
You can contact HSE by phone on 0300 790 6787 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 8pm) to get advice on protecting people from coronavirus in your workplace. Alternatively you can use their Working Safely Enquiry form online.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH)

Business representative organisations and trade associations 
The Government are providing links to business representative organisations and trade associations guidance - go to the Government website for more information.