Business Healthy Newsletter, 15 June 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Updates for businesses

Employers want to keep their staff informed about the COVID-19 pandemic. There is lots of information and misinformation out there, so please ensure that any advice or guidance you are sharing only comes from a reputable source, such as the GOV.UK website.

This information was accurate at the time of sending the newsletter, but the situation is changing and the most up to date information and guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website.

Employers must continue to follow health and safety workplace guidance for their sector, and to refuse entry to their workplace/ premises for workers, visitors or customers who are displaying symptoms of COVID-19, and/ or have been instructed by NHS Test and Trace to self-isolate.

For individuals needing to attend the workplace, employers should encourage them to follow guidance on travelling safely during the coronavirus outbreak, which includes considering all other forms of transport before using public transport, avoiding the busiest times and routes, maintaining social distance, wearing a face covering when travelling on public transport and washing or sanitising hands regularly.

City businesses are urged to keep following COVID-19 rules to stop the rise in infections

The City of London Corporation is urging businesses to follow the rules after concerns that there have been COVID-19 outbreaks because of poor compliance with social distancing guidelines in some workplaces and hospiality settings.

Public Health England has confirmed that the Delta variant  – first identified in India  – is more transmissible than the version that sparked the winter wave  – the Alpha variant first seen in Kent.

Having both doses of the vaccine does, however, provide good protection against all of the current known variants of concern and all workers and residents are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated when they become eligible. Having your second vaccination on time is especially important to further strengthen the protective effects of vaccination.

Firms are being reminded that everyone who can work from home should do so, and to ensure workplaces are COVID-secure, including high levels of fresh air ventilation, social distancing, regular hand washing, and wearing of face coverings (over both the mouth and nose) in appropriate spaces.

Businesses have a leading role to play in stopping the transmission of this virus and it is important that companies, who may see an increase in staff coming back to offices over the coming weeks, stick to the rules to protect their employees and the public.

Read the full press release here.

Preventing and managing COVID-19 outbreaks within your workplace

All settings, such as offices, shops, and hospitality venues, should have a designated COVID-19 “Single Point of Contact”, who is responsible for ensuring proper infection prevention and control measures, such as COVID-19-specific risk assessments – are in place.

The Single Point of Contact (SPoC) is also responsible for reporting incidents and outbreaks within their setting to Public Health England’s London Coronavirus Response Cell (PHE LCRC) and to the Local Authority. Both PHE LCRC and the Local Authority can provide support to the SPoC as and where required.

Information about the roles and responsibilities of SPoCs, PHE LCRC and the Local Authority across a range of different settings, including workplaces, retail and close contact services, takeaway outlets, and restaurants, bars, and dine-in cafes, is outlined in a series of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) available on the City Corporation’s COVID-19 Local Outbreak Prevention and Management webpage. This also includes key contact details.

For any queries relating to the SOPs or COVID-19 outbreak management, please email

Financial support for employees

A £500 Test and Trace Support Payment is available for people on low incomes, who can’t work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating because they or their household have COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive, or have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace. Full details can be found here.

Self-Isolation Service Hub

This is a telephone line for employers and establishments to provide to NHS Test & Trace with a list of people who have been identified as contacts of a case of COVID-19 in their establishment, and therefore who must self-isolate.

It is critical that employers follow up and call 020 3743 6715 as soon as they have had a positive case in their establishment (and every time thereafter), because all contacts identified are then formally logged with NHS Test & Trace. This allows those contacts who are eligible to receive a self-isolation support payment from their home Local Authority.  Without the NHS Test & Trace reference, they cannot receive financial support.

Employers will need the CTAS ID of the person who had a positive case, in order to be able to record the contacts from your establishment, and will be asked to collect this from the employee/person at their establishment who tested positive as soon as they receive it. This means the employer will be able to call the hub without delay, to be able to support their employees and visitors at the earliest opportunity.

Continuing to share preventative messages about “Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air”

Core infection prevention control measures – regular handwashing/ sanitising (“hands”), wearing a face covering (“face”), maintaining distance with those we don’t live with (“space”), and ventilation (“fresh air”)  – remain crucial to stopping the spread of coronavirus. Please help us to continue to share these messages with your workforce.

If a staff member (or someone in their household), or a visitor to your premises has symptoms of COVID-19, you must turn them away.

Downloadable PHE posters with information on handwashing, keeping your distance, face coverings and more, can be accessed here.

Deadline coming up: financial support for City of London SMEs

Small and medium-sized City businesses that provide an in- person service to the general public in the retail, hospitality, leisure, or medical sectors (e.g. physiotherapists, opticians and dentists), can apply for financial grants through the City Corporation’s Business Recovery Grant Fund.

In order to apply for the grant funding, businesses will also need to register with the COVID Compliant Accreditation Scheme, if they have not done so already.

The scheme is aimed at supporting businesses in their re- opening, and in reassuring customers that they have systems in place to minimise risks associated with coronavirus and that their premises are safe to visit.

To find out more details about the scheme, and to access the application firm, visit the City Corporation website. The deadline to apply has been extended to 30 June.

COVID-19 testing for workplaces

Accessing free rapid COVID-19 tests for staff without symptoms

Twice-weekly rapid testing of staff without symptoms is a useful tool in helping to keep staff and customers safe, and minimise disruption to business operations, including needing to close down the premises.

Rapid COVID-19 tests are free and available to everyone in England without symptoms of COVID-19. They are quick and simple to do and provide results in 30 minutes.

One in three people with COVID-19 don’t show any symptoms and could be spreading the virus without knowing.  Alongside other infection prevention control measures, such as wearing of face coverings, maintaining distance, ventilating spaces, regular washing of hands, and using QR codes to check in, rapid testing is a valuable tool to stop the transmission of COVID-19, and should be followed by everyone, whether they have received a COVID-19 vaccination, or not.

Employers are highly encouraged to have a form of rapid testing regime in place for their workforce. City workers are encouraged as much as possible to test at or near to home, before travelling to their place of work, and to record the result, whether positive or negative.

City businesses can collect free home rapid testing kits for their staff from the COVID-19 Testing Site (Aldermanbury, London, EC2V 7HH). There’s no need to pre-order, just turn up, 7.30am-5pm, Monday to Friday. Up to 54 kits (containing 7 tests each) can be collected at any one time, and businesses will be asked to provide some basic details upon collection.

There are lots of ways City businesses and their workforce can access free rapid COVID-19 tests. To find out more, visit the City of London Corporation website.

Anyone receiving a positive result from a lateral flow (rapid) test will need to undertake a follow-up confirmatory PCR test within two days.

Posters and other promotional materials to help share information about rapid COVID-19 tests can be accessed on the PHE website.

PCR testing for people with symptoms

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19: a high temperature, new continuous cough, or a loss/ change to your sense of taste or smell, you must self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test to check whether you have COVID-19 or not. PCR tests can be booked here, or by calling 119. There is a testing centre, at 65A Basinghall Street (EC2V 5DZ), which is open seven days a week, 8am-8pm.

COVID-19 employer testing duty

If you are an employer that requires staff to travel regularly across UK borders – in jobs that qualify for travel exemptions – you must take reasonable steps to facilitate your employees to take tests (a rapid test for those without symptoms, and a PCR for those with symptoms).

Detailed guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website.

The NHS COVID-19 app and contact tracing

Keeping records of staff, visitors, or customers attending your premises is key to protecting them, and to minimising disruption to business operations.

This can be done through manual data collection, through the use of the NHS QR code posters, and through encouraging the use of the NHS COVID-19 app by those on the premises. The rules around the use of the app, as well as data collection to assist NHS Test and Trace have changed. Please read the Government guidance for the latest information. This factsheet and process poster are also useful guides.

By law, hospitality services (including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes), close-contact services, and other settings, must request contact details of every customer, visitor and staff, and display an NHS QR code poster at their venue. This is a legal requirement and helps to ensure that everyone receives the necessary public health advice in a timely manner.

See NHS Test and Trace in the workplace and Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace for more details.

Using the NHS COVID-19 app in offices

Once downloaded, the app should be left on as much as possible to ensure contact tracing can work as intended. This includes within workplaces. However, there are some specific workplace scenarios when the contact tracing feature should be paused. See the “Using the NHS COVID-19 app as a worker” section in the guidance.

COVID-19 vaccines and the workforce

Employers have an important role to play in helping their workforce – employees and those working on their sites – to get the vaccine when they are invited to by the NHS. This includes sharing accurate information and FAQs, from a trustworthy source, about the vaccine and its benefits, and providing time off to attend their vaccine appointments, for example.

Useful resources

  • The CIPD has produced some useful resources for employers on the COVID-19 vaccine and the workplace, outlining the role that employers can and should play in encouraging and facilitating the vaccination of their workforce, and the legal considerations they must address.
  • The East London Health and Care Partnership website has a set of comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions on the COVID-19 vaccine – feel free to share them more widely.
  • Professor Chris Whitty – England’s Chief Medical Officer – delivered a lecture to the City of London’s Gresham College, focusing on the central role that vaccines play in healthcare and in tackling an increasing range of diseases, including COVID-19 and cancer. Access it here.
  • Scroll through this newsletter to read a case study from a City cleaning company about how it has been encouraging its staff to get the vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccination clinic for anyone aged 25+ living in North East London – Saturday 19 June, 10am – 8pm

Anyone aged 25+ who lives in the following North East London boroughs is invited to book their first COVID-19 vaccine, at a clinic taking place this Saturday, 19 June, between 10am and 8pm at the London Stadium (Olympic Park, Stratford):

  • Barking and Dagenham
  • City of London
  • Hackney
  • Havering
  • Newham
  • Redbridge
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Waltham Forest

Appointments can be booked here; walk-ins will not be accepted.

For more details and the locations of over 50 other vaccination sites in North East London visit the East London Health and Care Partnership website.

COVID-19 vaccination site in the City of London

Boots pharmacy at 120 Fleet Street (EC4A 2BE) is the Square Mile’s dedicated NHS COVID-19 vaccination site, and is offering free vaccinations to City workers and residents.

Those who have not yet been vaccinated will be invited directly by the NHS or, if they are in an eligible group, they can book their COVID-19 vaccination appointment at the Boots pharmacy at 120 Fleet Street by visiting or ringing 119. A vaccine appointment must be booked before turning up.

In addition to vaccination, existing infection prevention control measures remain crucial.

Thought of the Week

“Our operations management teams have been at the forefront of communicating the importance, benefits, and how to access, rapid and PCR testing for COVID-19, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine, to staff.

Often these team members are from the same communities as our operatives, so this has helped to build trust and ensure that the messages are sensitive and resonate with them…They have encouraged staff to take the vaccine when it’s their turn to do so, and have also supported others when they have had concerns or needed some more information to make a decision.”

– City cleaning contractor DOC Cleaning shares insights into measures being taken to keep its cleaning operatives – as well as customers – safe and healthy during COVID-19, in this case study for Business Healthy.

Volunteering opportunities for City workers

City and Hackney Public Health Community Champions Programme

Volunteering opportunities are available for City workers to support the local COVID-19 response, through becoming a volunteer Public Health Community Champion.

Over the past months many local residents and workers have become volunteer Public Health Community Champions, helping to share the latest public health messages with their colleagues, family, friends, neighbours and other networks, and combat harmful misinformation from spreading. These messages are shared in a range of formats to support communication across many different platforms, including WhatsApp, email, SMS, Zoom, phone calls, social media, and more.

The role is flexible and does not demand a large time commitment. Community Champions receive ongoing support from both the City and Hackney Public Health team and Volunteer Centre Hackney, and have regular opportunities to raise any concerns and ask questions via email, but also at online forums for Community Champions.

To find out more about the programme, please contact Volunteer Centre Hackney by email, or by calling 07458 306214.

You can also help to spread the word about the programme and share information about opportunities, using these posters here and here.

Rewarding volunteers

The City of London Corporation is working in partnership with Tempo Time Credits to provide recognition to volunteers for their valuable contribution to their community.

Individuals can earn Tempo Time Credits for their time volunteering, which can be used with a network of local and national recognition partners for days out at attractions, classes at gyms or learning providers, vouchers for shopping and entertainment, and a variety of other activities.

If you are a voluntary sector agency or a business in the City of London area, who could benefit from working with Tempo Time Credits, get in touch with the team.

Coming up…

Free webinar: “Treatments for HIV – 40 years on” – Wednesday 23 June, 5-6.30pm

Fast-Track Cities London is partnering with the Worshipful Society of Apothcaries to deliver a webinar about how treatments for HIV have evolved since AIDS was first named 40 years ago.

The seminar promises to be an interesting one  – including for employers. Under the Equality Act 2010 anyone diagnosed with HIV has the same protection as people with disabilities, regardless of their health status.

Register for the webinar here.

Modern medical treatments for HIV mean that someone who is HIV-positive and taking treatment is not able to transmit it to others, including sexual partners (Undetectable Equals Untransmittable, or “U=U”). Despite this, people living with HIV are still vulnerable to stigma and discrimination, fuelled by the fear of HIV transmission. Tackling stigma has played a crucial role in encouraging the uptake of testing, preventative measures and treatment, which in turn has is leading to a dramatic decline in London in new HIV diagnoses. Find out more about U=U and the role employers can play in tackling HIV-related stigma, by visiting this page and viewing the slidedeck from a previous Business Healthy roundtable session on the subject.

Accessing sexual health support in the City of London

Anyone working, living or studying in the City can access sexual health advice and support locally, for example at 80 Leadenhall in the Square Mile. Services available also include free PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), which is a tablet taken by people who are HIV-negative, to reduce their risk of getting the virus. Find out more about the services available and how to access them here.

Free webinar: “How to make fertility a core part of inclusive workplace wellbeing” – Thursday 1 July, 12-1pm

Fertility challenges can affect anyone; men, women, same-sex couples, single people, and single parents – and are likely to be affecting a significant number of employees in every organisation.

Undergoing fertility issues can also have a large impact on individuals’ mental and emotional health and wellbeing.

This webinar looks at fertility problems and their impact in the workplace, and offers ideas about how employers can provide support.

To find out more and register, click this link.

Useful resources

How to do CPR on an adult during COVID-19

If you see someone collapsed and not breathing normally, you need to act fast so they can have the best chance of survival.

Ring 999 immediately. An ambulance call handler will help you confirm if the person is in cardiac arrest and guide you through doing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and locate a defibrillator.

St John Ambulance and Resuscitation Council UK have published an infographic on conducting CPR during COVID-19, which can be accessed here.

This short video from Resusciation Council UK also explains what CPR is, its benefits, and how to conduct it.

Doing adult CPR during COVID-19

How to do CPR on an adult: COVID-19 update

…and on the subject of heart health

Expert Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) prevention online sessions led by St Bart’s Heart Centre’s Consultant Cardiologists are available for City businesses and their workers. Their aim is to reduce the CVD risk in the local community and within the City’s workforce.

These sessions form part of wider work being undertaken by the East London Prevention Group (ELoPE) from Barts Health NHS Trust, in partnership with the British Heart Foundation, on raising awareness of CVD prevention across the community, including in schools and other settings.

Webinars are part of a series, and include sessions on “How to prevent a heart attack”, for example.

There is no set fee, but firms will be asked to make a donation in return for the session delivery to help raise funds for this important initiative.

Feedback from sessions already delivered to City firms includes:

  • “There is never enough information about heart attacks, first aid, etc. It is always good to hear it again and again”
  • “A great seminar – thank you. We all know this stuff in theory, but really good to have a reminder”

If your firm would like to benefit from this excellent and unique offer, please email the Business Healthy team.

Support to lose weight through WW (Weight Watchers UK)

City workers in service and/ or manual roles, such as construction, retail, food services, hospitality, and transport, who have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 23.5 or above, are able to access free support to help them to achieve weight loss and live a healthier lifestyle.

This service is commissioned by the City of London Corporation and delivered by WW. Anyone who may fit the above criteria, and who would like to make positive changes to their lifestyle, is invited to call 0345 602 7068 (national call rate) and quote reference WWRS106 to assess their eligibility.

Free HarvardX course on “Improving your Business Through a Culture of Health

This free course is delivered by leading faculty from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard Business School. It aims to provide businesses with strategies, tactics, and tools to gain a competitive advantage through using a “culture of health”.

Find out more and enrol at the edX website.

This week’s health and wellbeing milestones

Monday 14 to Sunday 20 June


Xenia Koumi

Xenia is a Public Health Specialist at the City of London Corporation and leads the Business Healthy programme