Information for businesses - level 4 enhanced

Latest Coronavirus Restrictions

On the January 5, mainland Scotland, including Aberdeen, has been placed under Enhanced Level 4 restrictions for at least the whole of January. 
Aberdeen City Council aims to revise its COVID-19 web pages as quickly as possible in response to government updates.

Covid-19 – Regulations  

Throughout the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, our priority is to protect public health, while providing support and advice to businesses across Aberdeen City.  

The council has enforcement powers under legislation which has been made to introduce new temporary restrictions to help reduce the spread of the virus.  

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 come into force on Monday 2nd November.

The Council is the main regulator for retail, wholesale distribution and warehousing, hotel and catering premises, offices, and the consumer/leisure industries, including the requirements of physical distancing on these premises. We will be publishing information about what the new measures mean for businesses on this page in response to evolving government guidance.  

You may contact us if you have any questions 

If you have concerns about a business in Aberdeen or want advice on what you can or can not do please contact us using our online form.

Enhanced Level 4 Restrictions for Businesses 

The following restrictions apply to businesses in Aberdeen.

Retail

  • Only essential retail will be able to remain open providing they follow and have implemented Scottish Government guidance to ensure the safety of customers and staff. For retailers which have been defined as non-essential – i.e., not on the list below - the legal position is that they will need to close.

Those that can remain open are:  

  • food retailers, including food markets, supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops
  • off-licences and licensed shops selling alcohol (including breweries)
  • pharmacies (including non-dispensing pharmacies) and chemists
  • newsagents
  • building merchants and suppliers of products and tools used in building work and repairs
  • petrol stations
  • car repair and MOT services
  • bicycle shops
  • taxi or vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, credit unions, short-term loan providers, savings clubs, cash points and undertakings which by way of business operate a currency exchange office, transmit money (or any representation of money) by any means or cash cheques which are made payable to customers
  • post offices
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody services, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health
  • veterinary surgeons and pet shops
  • agricultural supplies shops and agricultural markets
  • storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop off or collection points, where the facilities are in the premises of a business included in this list
  • car parks
  • public toilets
  • livestock markets or auctions
  • outdoor markets, and outdoor car lots

Click and Collect

From Saturday 16 January click and collect can operate for essential and certain non-essential retail only. The non-essential retailers which can continue to operate click and collect services are: 

  • clothing and footwear stores 
  • homeware stores 
  • garden centre/plant nurseries 
  • baby equipment shops 
  • electrical shops (including repairs) 
  • key cutting and shoe repairs 
  • bookstores 

For these retailers listed above, who are otherwise closed to the public, they are able to offer a permitted collection services only where it meets the following legal requirements: 

  • It is operated by a staggered appointment system for collection with, where reasonably practicable, a gap between each appointment to separate customers from each other, and 
  • Limits access to the premises only to the extent, if any, that is required to offer the collection service.   Access to other areas of the closed store is not allowed.  

Whilst these measures apply specifically to the above list of permitted collection service retailers, essential retailers who are open should strive to implement similar controls, wherever possible, in order to minimise the need for customers to enter the premises and to minimise interactions with each other and with staff. 

Other measures that may be put in place could include: 

  • Avoiding passing goods hand-to-hand. 
  • Frequent cleaning of any surfaces involved in collection services and reducing touch points. 
  • Messaging customers in advance of collection to emphasise the need for face coverings to be worn and that 2 metre physical distancing is to be maintained. 
  • Additional appropriate measures to ensure customers with disabilities are able to collect safely and securely. 

Online ordering for delivery from other closed retailers can continue.

Close contact services such as hairdressing, barbers, beauticians, and mobile close contact service providers cannot operate.

Hospitality

  • Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars will be closed. 
  • Takeaways can still operate, provided food and drink is sold for consumption off the premises. Face coverings and physical distancing rules must be followed.
  • From Saturday 16 January customers in Scotland will no longer be allowed to go inside to collect takeaway food or drink. Businesses will have to operate from a serving hatch or doorway. The Scottish Government have issued guidance for businesses in regard to these new rules. 

Life Events Including Weddings and Funerals

  • Wedding ceremonies and civil partnership registrations can take place with a maximum capacity of 5 people (including the couple, the witnesses and the person conducting the ceremony, 6 if an interpreter is required) providing the venue’s capacity allows for 2 metre physical distancing. 
  • Funerals can take place with a maximum capacity of 20 guests providing the venue’s capacity allows for appropriate physical distancing.
  • Wedding or civil partnership receptions and post funeral gatherings such as wakes cannot take place.

Leisure and Entertainment

  • All leisure and entertainment premises must be closed.

Public Buildings

  • All public sector buildings such as libraries will be closed, however, library click and collect services may still operate in Level 4.

Visitor Attractions

  • All indoor visitor attractions such as museums, galleries, heritage attractions, indoor areas of zoos and aquariums are closed. Outdoor visitor attractions, such as parks, gardens and the outdoor areas of zoos may remain open, to enable exercise and recreation to be undertaken with appropriate physical distancing in place but should only be visited in line with travel restrictions. Visitor attraction’s retail and hospitality facilities will be closed.

Sports and Exercise

  • Outdoor gyms can remain open. Indoor gyms must close.
  • Outdoor non-contact sports such as golf and tennis are permitted for all age groups provided this is within a single household group, or the group contains no more than 2 people from 2 different households. Children under the age of 12 from these households do not count towards this number.

Tourism and Accommodation

All holiday accommodation is closed to tourism. Hotels, B&Bs and self-catering can remain open for essential customers only:  

  • anyone who is using that accommodation for essential work purposes 
  • anyone who requires accommodation to attend a funeral 
  • anyone who is providing accommodation or support services to the homeless 
  • anyone who uses that accommodation as their main residence 
  • anyone who needs accommodation while moving home 
  • anyone who is unable to return to their main residence 

Hotels and other accommodation providers can still serve food to qualifying guests i.e., key or exempt workers, staying in their premises up to 10pm. Room service, including alcohol, is allowed as normal. 

Other Business

  • Driving lessons, including motorcycle lessons, must not be held.
  • People are advised to work from home wherever that is practicable.
  • Businesses which provide essential services can continue to operate, such as those in the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) sector, courts and tribunals. There are 13 designated CNI sectors including agriculture and food production, activity to maintain the food supply chain, energy and transport. Not all CNI activity will be essential. Those operations which can be done effectively through home working should be adopted.
  • Outdoor workplaces, construction, manufacturing, veterinary services and film and TV production can also remain open. They should plan for the minimum number of people needed on site to operate safely and effectively.

Trades People, Home Repairs

From January 16 regulations will require that home visits by contractors should only be for essential services. Tradespeople should only go into a house in a level 4 area to carry out or deliver essential work or services, for example:

  • to carry out utility (electricity, gas, water, telephone, broadband) safety checks, repairs, maintenance and installations
  • to carry out repairs and maintenance that would otherwise threaten the household’s health and safety
  • to deliver goods or shopping
  • to deliver, install or repair key household furniture and appliances such as washing machines, fridges and cookers
  • to support a home move, for example furniture removal.

Information for Retail Premises 

On December 17 Aberdeen City Council held an online safety seminar for retailers to help protect staff, customers and businesses from COVID-19 in Aberdeen.

Seminar for Retail Premises video

 

We have also produced a questionnaire/checklist for retailers to use to help them comply with the regulations.

 

Guidance for Business

The Scottish Government has published guidance for the following sectors:

Social media

For the latest news from Aberdeen Trading Standards visit the Trading Standards Twitter page.

Frequently asked questions

Employers, the self-employed, and people in control of premises, such as landlords, have a duty to protect people by identifying and controlling risks associated with legionella.

If your building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the COVID-19 outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease.

The bacteria are carried in aerosol droplets from outlets such as showerheads, spray taps at sinks, spa pools, garden hoses attached to sprinklers, air conditioning systems, etc.

Before reopening your building, you must take steps to control the risks of legionella. Traditional methods of control include storing hot water above 60°C, and ensuring it reaches 50°C within one minute of running the hot water tap.  Similarly, cold water should be stored and distributed below 20°C.

Given the current restrictions, maintenance staff or specialist contractors may not be able to attend your premises to take monthly temperatures.  In these situations, you should introduce twice-weekly flushing of your system as a short-term measure to increase water turnover.  You should continue to check water temperatures monthly and actioning any out-of-range temperatures.  All these actions must be logged.

If your building has been completely closed, you must act a few weeks before reopening:

  • 2-3 weeks before reopening: you should consider a building chlorination, especially if you have cold water storage tanks.  This is because the temperature of the water in these systems is likely to have increased above 20°C.  Take a water sample at this stage, as this gives you time to action unfavourable results.  
  • 2-3 days before reopening: you should raise the temperature at hot water storage vessels/calorifier(s) to 60°C and turn the hot water taps on at every outlet.  Continue to flush the water until the temperature remains stable.  Those carrying out these checks are most at risk from the bacteria and must take precautions, such as covering spray taps with a clean cloth, or placing a clean plastic bag over a showerhead that cannot be removed, and cutting a corner of the bag.  Continue to flush the system regularly until the building is back in regular use.  Again, ensure you log all these actions.

If your workplace has been closed for an extended period and has air conditioning units that have a source of water that can generate aerosol, you will need to assess the risks of legionella being present within them before restarting. Small wall or ceiling-mounted units with closed cooling systems should not present a risk.

Larger units may present a risk if they have improperly drained condensate trays, or humidifier or evaporative cooling sections where water can stagnate, becoming a reservoir for bacteria to grow.

You must also update your Legionella risk assessment with any changes made to the water system or its operation and ensure the written control scheme is also updated.  You must also decide what the risks are for your air conditioning units and if you need to clean them safely before they are turned on.

More information is available on the HSE website and in Guidance produced by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) - Legionnaires’ disease: lockdown risks and reopening safely.

The risk of air conditioning spreading coronavirus is extremely low.  If you use a centralised ventilation system that removes and circulates air to different rooms, it is recommended that you turn off recirculation and use a fresh air supply. 

You do not need to adjust other types of air conditioning systems. If you’re unsure, speak to your heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) engineers or advisers.  Good ventilation is encouraged to help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. 

If your workplace has been closed for an extended period and has air conditioning units that have a source of water that can generate aerosol, you will however need to assess the risks of legionella being present within them before restarting. 

There may be potential challenges when carrying out legal requirements for a thorough examination and testing (TE&T) of plant and equipment as a result of additional precautions people need to take to help reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The law for Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR) remain in place. 
You must ensure that your work plant and equipment are and remain safe to use.   

HSE has provided advice to help duty holders ensure that their work plant and equipment remain safe to use and to guide decision making to see if TE&T requirements can still be met. For information visit the HSE website

Remote working should remain the default position for those who can. Those whose job relies on being the office can be asked to return, assuming safe working practices have been implemented. 

You must only report cases of COVID-19 matters arising out of or in connection with work under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) under the following circumstances:   

  • an unintended incident at work has led to someone’s possible or actual exposure to coronavirus. This must be reported as a dangerous occurrence. 
  • a worker has been diagnosed as having COVID-19 and there is reasonable evidence that it was caused by exposure at work. This must be reported as a case of disease. 
  • a worker dies as a result of occupational exposure to coronavirus. 

Employers need to have reasonable evidence that the COVID-19 element is work-related.  More information is available from HSE: RIDDOR Reporting

Handwashing 

Staff should be trained to wash their hands properly following an effective handwashing technique [to wash hands for the required 20 seconds with soap and water]. The importance of thorough and effective handwashing must be reinforced throughout your premises. Every wash hand basin must have access to hot water and be equipped with liquid hand soap and disposable paper towels. 
It is important to follow an effective handwashing technique to ensure that no areas of your hands are missed.  The same technique should be followed when using hand sanitisers. Commonly missed areas are fingertips and thumbs. 

Hand sanitisers 

The use of hand sanitiser should not be used as a substitute for effective handwashing.   Strict and frequent hand hygiene should be ensured, with alcohol-based hand sanitisers being used when hand washing is not available. 
Hand sanitiser dispensers should not be placed above or close to potential sources of ignition, such as light switches and electrical outlets due to the increased risk of vapours igniting. 

Staff should be advised to let their hands completely dry and the vapours disperse after using alcohol hand sanitiser.  Staff should also be advised not to smoke immediately after use.  
As part of your risk assessment, concerning fires, consideration should be given to the location of dispensers, the storage of stock, and the disposal of used containers/dispensers.

Face coverings 

Wearing of face coverings must not be used as an alternative to physical distancing, handwashing and respiratory hygiene.   
The Government has stated that it does not expect to see employers relying on face coverings as risk management for their health and safety assessments.  Therefore, we will not accept the wearing of masks or face coverings as a control instead of physical distancing for the protection of employees working in an establishment, where physical distancing is manageable (e.g. not manageable in care homes). 
If a face mask (PPE) was required for your job before, because of dust, etc., you must ensure your employees are still provided with sufficient supplies for them to carry out their role safely. 

Taking employees’ temperature

Relying on taking the temperature of employees alone is not a robust control, as it will only detect people who have a fever (i.e. a higher than normal body temperature).  It cannot detect whether someone is infected with COVID-19. 
Just like face coverings above, we will not accept the taking of temperatures of staff at the start of their working day as a control instead of implementing proper physical distancing, where it is achievable, and high standards of premises cleanliness and staff hygiene.  Discuss symptoms with employees before they start every shift, and check whether they – or any person they live with – are experiencing any symptoms related to COVID-19.   

There is a wealth of information available on the NHS Inform website about the symptoms of COVID-19 and what you should do if you think you have any of these symptoms.  This advice is available in several languages on the website. 

If an employee attends work displaying any of the symptoms:  

  • A new continuous cough 
  • A high temperature  
  • A loss of or change in sense of taste or smell  

They should be sent home straight away to self-isolate.  They should minimise contact with others and use a private vehicle to travel home.  If private transport is not possible then they should be advised to return home quickly and directly.  If they need clinical advice, they should go online to NHS 111 or call 111 if they do not have access to the internet.  

If another member of staff had helped someone displaying these symptoms they do not need to go home unless they start displaying symptoms themselves.  They should however wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone unwell with symptoms consistent with Coronavirus infection. 

Cleaning and disinfection should be carried out after a possible case has left the workplace. 

Guidance on appropriate environmental decontamination can be found at the Health Protection Scotland website

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