Support for businesses

Coronavirus advice and guidance for business

We are experiencing a high volume of calls at Newham Business Desk so it may take longer than usual to get back to you. We will endeavour to respond to you as soon as possible but if you are unable to get through to us, please leave us a message on the phone or in the first instance please email us at [email protected]. We thank you in advance.

Roadmap out of lockdown

A four step plan to ease the lockdown in England was announced by the Prime Minister on Monday 22 February 2021.

From 8 March people in England will see restrictions start to lift and the government’s four-step roadmap offer a route back to a more normal life.

Step 1

From 8 March pupils return to face-to-face education in school and further education in England. Pupils in Wales and Scotland returned on 22 February. Wraparound childcare, such as afterschool clubs, can reopen to enable parents to work, attend education, access medical care or attend a support group. Find guidance and support on the website for education, universities, and childcare. 

Outdoor recreation, such as a picnic, is allowed. This can be on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.

Indoor visits to care homes start again for a single named visitor.

The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March, but many restrictions will remain in place. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given that it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme. The government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel, which will report on 12 April.

Step 2

Step 2, which will be no earlier than 12 April, will see the opening of non-essential retail:

  • personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons
  • public buildings, including libraries and community centres
  • indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups)
  • outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas
  • self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen
  • hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors in Step 2 and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (table service). Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.

Step 3

Step 3, which will be no earlier than 17 May, will see most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors reopen. In all sectors, COVID-secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits. Indoor hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can seat customers indoors.

Indoor entertainment venues will reopen, such as:

  • museums, theatres, cinemas and children’s play areas
  • the rest of the hospitality sector including hotels, hostels and B&Bs
  • indoor adult group sports and exercise classes.

The government will also allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number) and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).

Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Step 4

Finally, before Step 4 begins, the government will complete a review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut transmission. This will inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which the rules on one metre plus, the wearing of face coverings and other measures may be lifted. This will also inform guidance on working from home, which should continue wherever possible until this review is complete.

By Step 4, which will take place no earlier than 21 June, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.

The government hopes to reopen remaining premises, including nightclubs, and ease the restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3. This will be subject to the results of the Events Research Programme to test the outcome of certain pilot events through the spring and summer, where we will trial the use of testing and other techniques to cut the risk of infection. The Events Research Programme will guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other events.

As we move through each of these phases on the roadmap, we must all remember that COVID-19 remains a part of our lives. We are going to have to keep living our lives differently to keep ourselves and others safe. We must carry on with ‘hands, face, space’. Comply with the COVID-secure measures that remain in place. Meet outdoors when we can and keep letting fresh air in. Get tested when needed. Get vaccinated when offered. If we all continue to play our part, we will be that bit closer to a future that is more familiar.

For full details of the roadmap, visit

Working safely during Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Keeping your customers and visitors safe
Seven steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus.

  1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff. Find out how to do a risk assessment.
  2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
  3. Ask your customers to wear face coverings in any indoor space or where required to do so by law. That is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions apply. Check when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own.
  4. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one way system that your customers can follow.
  5. Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running ventilation systems at all times.
  6. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all staff and contractors (not customers) for 21 days. This is enforceable by law. 
  7. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating. By law employers must not require someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.

Five more things to be aware of if your business is a shop, retail store or a branch:

  • Ensure staff wear face coverings. By law, staff in retail settings must wear face coverings when in customer facing areas, unless they have an exemption.
  • Reduce crowding. Consider how many people can be in the space while remaining socially distant. Use floor markings to manage queues.
  • Help your staff maintain social distancing. Consider using barriers to separate staff and customers, introduce back-to-back or side-to-side working, and have staff work in the same team each day.
  • Limit the handling of goods and clean stock regularly. Store items that have been returned, donated, or brought in for repair in a container or separate room for 48 hours or clean them before display.
  • Communicate and train. Make sure all staff and customers are kept up to date with how safety measures are being used and updated.

These are the priority actions to make your business safe during coronavirus, you should also read the full version of the guidance below.
More information can be found on the website

The UK government, in consultation with industry, has produced ‘COVID-19 secure’ guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible.

Businesses should print, sign and display the Staying secure in 2020: Five Steps to safer working together notice (PDF) to reaffirm to members of the public and employees that the business is complying with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19. For smaller, lower risk businesses, enforced for health and safety by local authorities and who don’t have dedicated health and safety advice we have created a template to help businesses (Word) go through the risk assessment process and document their findings. 

Risk assessment implementation template for COVID-19 (Word).

View the information on working safely during coronavirus which includes 12 guides for different sectors on the website.

You can view guidance on the website on local restriction tiers: what you need to know.

Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic is available on the government's website (external link). Specific guides are available for a number of industries including:

Businesses are only allowed to reopen if they are complying with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of COVID-19. Businesses should print, sign and display the Staying secure in 2020: Five Steps to safer working together notice (PDF) to confirm to members of the public and employees that they are COVID-19 Secure.

For smaller, lower risk businesses enforced for health and safety reasons by local authorities and who don’t have dedicated health and safety advice, we have created this template to help businesses (Word) go through the risk assessment process and document their findings.

The Council has also created social distancing posters for you to display for the exterior and interior of your businesses, to remind customers to maintain social distancing.

Download the posters in A3 size (PDF)
Download the posters in A4 size (PDF)

Mandatory face coverings in shops and indoor public settings (when regulations permit their opening)

  • In England it is a legal requirement to wear a face covering in the following indoor settings:
  • public transport and transport hubs 
  • shops, supermarkets, indoor markets and shopping centres (coverings can be removed when sitting in a food hall or eating area)
  • premises providing professional, legal or financial services 
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments (coverings can be removed during treatment if required)
  • premises providing veterinary services
  • visitor attractions and entertainment venues (coverings can be removed when sitting in a food hall or eating area)
  • libraries, community centres, youth centres and social clubs
  • places of worship
  • funeral service providers 
  • exhibition halls and conference centres
  • public areas in hotels and hostels
  • storage and distribution facilities.

Customers are expected to wear a face covering before entering any of these settings and must keep it on until they leave unless there is a reasonable excuse for removing it. Guidance on whether staff should wear face coverings can be found in the relevant industry guidance for the business. Information on working safely during coronavirus is available on

All staff offering close contact services, including hairdressers, should now wear a face mask (type 2 surgical), in addition to a clear visor that covers the face. This will help protect the customer and staff from respiratory droplets caused by sneezing, coughing, or speaking.

In settings where face coverings are required there are some circumstances where people may not be able to wear a face covering. Please be mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people are less able to wear face coverings, and that the reasons for this may not be visible to others. Further information is available on the website.

To support businesses with this new legislation the Council has posted the following materials to businesses which can also be downloaded from the website:

To report a business that is open when it should remain closed, please contact the Council Trading Standards Service on 020 3373 9937 9am – 5pm. To contact us outside of these hours email [email protected].

Guidance for click and collect and mixed retail use

If you are operating as a mixed retailer, you MUST be selling more than 50% of essential items including food, hardware and building materials. Click here to find out more.

Click here to find out how to operate on click and collect basis.