This resource was last reviewed 9 April 2021
As businesses continue to operate under COVID-secure guidelines, it’s going to be crucial for your small business to maintain customer confidence. The Government has released detailed guidance on how different sectors in England can work safely during coronavirus, as well as an up-to-date list of businesses allowed to open. Separate guidance is available for businesses in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, including businesses currently allowed to open in each country.
COVID-19 is still a significant risk, so your business should be doing everything it can to keep customers safe. You can check our guide to carrying out a risk assessment to keep your business compliant or download our health and safety checklist so you don’t miss anything in your last-minute checks.
Following government guidelines is key for protecting your customers when they visit your premises, but how can you reassure them that you have taken all the right safety precautions?
Share your safety measures
Your health and safety procedures are going to be vital reassurance to customers. Make people aware of the new processes you have put in place to reopen your business, like social distancing, hand sanitiser or any necessary PPE.
Tell customers about the risk assessment you have carried out to be COVID-19 secure, as this reassures them you’re following all the government guidance.
- Place a poster in your window to demonstrate your awareness of the guidance and commitment to safety measures
- Ensure employees and customers follow social distancing of two metres (or one metre plus if two metres is not possible)
- Frequently clean objects and surfaces used regularly, such as card machines, trolleys and door handles
By law, businesses must remind people to wear face coverings on premises where they are required (unless the customer is exempt), for instance using signage or a verbal reminder. Some people don’t have to wear a face covering including for health, age or equality reasons. Businesses should be mindful and respectful of such circumstances (individuals do not routinely need to show written evidence of this, such as an exemption card).
Health and Safety Executive offer a COVID-19 secure certificate which you can print off, sign and display in your premises to show that you’re complying with government guidance, updating your cleaning procedures and managing the transmission risk. Visit our coronavirus hub to download a printable signage pack to display in your business.
Be direct about any plans for reopening. You could do this through your social media channels, your website or a sign in your window. Setting out a plan will give customers confidence that you’re prepared for opening.
Download and print our signs here to welcome your customers back and let them know you are COVID compliant.
Communicate clearly about any changes to your opening hours or days. For example, you may be choosing to only open on certain days, or closing early to allow for cleaning to take place. Whether it’s updating your Facebook business hours or putting up signs, letting people know when you’ll be open gives people the chance to plan their trips accordingly.
What message are you going to be communicating with your customers? Consistent messaging with a sensitive tone will help to reassure your customers. If you’re going to be advertising your business, use the right tone – this pandemic has impacted everyone, so be empathic, kind and supportive.
During the crisis, you may have adapted and implemented new services or ways of working in your business, such as selling online, offering deliveries or organising collections. When you reopen, keeping these options in place for people will help you to stay flexible in your approach.
People who are vulnerable or hesitant to visit in person will appreciate the option of still supporting your business online or the convenience of having your hand-picked products delivered to their doors. Continue to communicate with these customers about any new measures you have put in place to protect the health and safety of everyone involved.
Are you compliant with the latest government advice? Adhering to the latest government guidelines will ensure the safety of everyone involved with your business, including your customers. The government will be working with local authorities to carry out checks that the guidance is being adhered to, and will follow up on any concerns from the public.
Use trusted and reliable resources to keep yourself, your employees and your customers up-to-date, especially in these fast-changing times. You can visit the GOV.UK website, HSE or our dedicated coronavirus hub for the latest news, information and advice you need to know.
For more advice and guidance about how you can keep your business compliant during coronavirus, visit the FSB Legal Hub, where you can download a risk assessment template and access the latest health and safety information.