Business Healthy Newsletter, 19 October 2020

This newsletter is designed to provide a roundup of news, updates and information that may be useful in helping you to keep your workforce healthy and well. It is written in a way to make it easy for you to cut and paste content to share across your internal communications channels. If there is a way we can make this easier, please let us know here.

Business Healthy is funded and delivered by the City of London Corporation’s Public Health team, supporting the City Corporation’s statutory obligations to ensure the health and wellbeing of the more than half a million people who work in the Square Mile each day.

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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 please bear in mind that the situation is changing and the most up to date information and guidance can be found on the GOV.UK website.

The UK Government is regularly updating its latest information and advice webpage on the GOV.UK website and a summary of new guidance issued on 22 September can be found here. Specific guidance is available for employers and businesses on working safely during coronavirus. The guidance covers a range of different types of work.

Employers must continue to follow health and safety workplace guidance for their sector. This includes encouraging workers who can do so effectively to work from home during the winter. The measures employers put in place to maintain social distancing and other preventative measures – such as the need for staff and visitors/ customers to wear face coverings – will depend on their individual business circumstances, including their working environment, the size of the site and the number of workers. The guidance will support employers to make an informed decision and extra consideration should be given to those people at higher clinical risk.

In addition, there are new penalties for employers who threaten self-isolating staff with redundancy if they do not come into work.

For staff visiting 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.

COVID-19 testing centre opening in the City

A COVID-19 testing centre will be opening in Guildhall Yard (EC2V 5AA) later this week and will support efforts to boost testing capacity for the City and neighbouring boroughs.

Individuals with a pre-booked appointment will be able to access a test at the site seven days a week, between 8am and 8pm.

To book a test, visit the NHS website, or call 119.

London moves to “High” Alert Level: new measures

As of Saturday 17 October, additional measures to stop the transmission of COVID-19 are in place in London.

These include:

  • Working from home where possible
  • Reducing the number of journeys made on public transport
  • Closure of restaurants/ bars, cafes and pubs by 10pm, table service only and individuals allowed to visit only with those in their household/ support bubble

New posters can be accessed and downloaded on the Business Healthy website: New measures poster and general information poster.

Many City firms employ staff who live and are working outside of London. This postcode tool provides details of the local alert level, as well as guidance on what is and is not permitted.

Financial support for employees

A £500 Isolation 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”

Employers are asked to consider the increase in cases among working-age adults and to continue to share and reiterate messages with their employees, visitors and customers about the importance of following preventative measures to stop the spread of coronavirus. This includes minimising the number of unnecessary visits to offices, for example for meetings and by revising schedules for contractors delivering services, as outlined here.

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.

Preventative measures, such as regular handwashing (“hands”), wearing a face covering (“face”) and distancing (“space”), are the best ways to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Please help us to continue to share these messages.

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

An NHS video on the best way to wash your hands can be viewed here. Please watch and share and keep sharing. Thorough handwashing is one of the most effective ways to help stop the infection from spreading.

Translated resources

To help reach communities where English is not the first language, new translated materials have been made available in a variety of languages. These materials can help members of the public understand current guidance:

Test and Trace QR Code Posters for Businesses

Many venues across the Square Mile and further afield are legally required to display NHS QR posters on their premises, including those from the following sectors:

  • Hospitality services, including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés;
  • Workplace canteens;
  • Tourism and leisure services, including hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks;
  • Close-contact services, including hairdressers, barbershops and tailors;
  • Places of worship, including use for events and other community activities.

It only takes a few minutes to register your venue, create your unique QR code and print this out for display. You can do this here.

NHS COVID-19 app users will then be able to scan (check-in) as they enter a premises. This means that if people visit the premises and later test positive for the virus, then NHS Test and Trace will be able to quickly identify their contacts and alert them to self-isolate.

The app notification will not mention the name of your venue, it will just let app users know that they may have come into contact with coronavirus and provide them with public health guidance on next steps. Rest assured the app will also never access the GPS location, contacts, or any other personal data in the phones of users. More information about the QR code system and businesses’ obligations can be found here.

If a visitor doesn’t own a smartphone, they will need to provide their details to the venue who will then need to retain this, for 21 days,  in case NHS Test and Trace need to contact them. Please ensure that alternatives are available to log customer information and information on logging customer data for this purpose can be found here.

There are new restrictions on businesses in the hospitality sector, including around opening hours, and what customers can and can’t do. Non-compliance with the new measures could breach the law and make the employer subject to a large fine.

Preventing and managing an outbreak in the workplace: City & Hackney Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Workplaces and other settings

As part of their joint COVID-19 Local Outbreak Control Plan (LOCP), the City Corporation and London Borough of Hackney have published Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for a range of settings, including:

  • Workplaces
  • Takeaway food premises and mobile catering
  • Restaurants, bars and dine-in cafes
  • Retail and close-contact services

The SOPs outline how an outbreak linked to the setting will be identified, reported and managed by local health authorities, and the role and responsibilities of businesses within this process.

The SOPs also outline the process through which information about an outbreak can flow in a timely manner between the setting, the local authority and other health authorities and partners.

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

Testing and Tracing

By following Government guidance to protect the safety of their workers, as well as other people who may be affected by their business, employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff tests positive for COVID-19.

If a member of staff develops symptoms of COVID-19 – whether they at work or working from home – they and their household must self-isolate immediately and get tested for coronavirus. Although this may seem disruptive for businesses, it is less disruptive than an outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace will be, and far less disruptive than periods in lockdown.

The test only checks if someone has coronavirus at that point and involves taking a swab of the throat and nose. Anyone of any age with symptoms can access a test. More information about the NHS Test and Trace service can be found on the GOV.UK website and a test can be booked on the NHS website, or by calling 119.

Specific workplace guidance on NHS Test and Trace includes advice on why and how employers can support staff who may need to self-isolate.


Coming up…

“It Starts With Me” HIV Prevention Campaign, 19 October – 16 November

What is PrEP and how can it reduce HIV rates among our communities?

This phase of the national HIV Prevention Campaign aims to raise awareness of HIV PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) in Black African communities.

Despite only making up 1.8% of the British population, Black Africans are over-represented in the rates of new HIV diagnoses each year. The latest figures from PHE (2019) show that they make up 44% of all new HIV cases among heterosexual individuals.

PrEP is a pill that prevents HIV and is very effective. It is taken by HIV-negative people and puts them in control. It’s discreet and means that individuals don’t have to rely on their partner’s decisions to be able to protect themselves against HIV.

Is PrEP right for you? Find out by completing this short quiz.

More information on HIV prevention, including testing and choosing condoms, can be found on the It Starts with Me website.

Accessing sexual health support in the City of London

Anyone working, living or studying in the City can access NHS sexual health advice and support locally, for example at 80 Leadenhall in the Square Mile, which is open every Wednesday. A telephone consultation must be completed first, before visiting. Call 020 7683 4103, or find out more about accessing sexual health advice here.

World AIDS Day and tackling HIV-related stigma

World AIDS Day is coming up, on 1 December 2020. Did you know that  anyone diagnosed with HIV has the same protections as disabled people, under the Equality Act 2010, regardless of their health status?

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 led 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.

National Stress Awareness Day, Wednesday 4 November

There’s no doubt that for most people, this has been a stressful year in some way. Stress – particularly continual and severe – can be harmful for both mental and physical health. Everyone’s stress “threshold” is different and prevention – recognising and stopping stress in its tracks – is always better than cure. Recognising when we are feeling stressed is also an important early step.

A list of free local, regional and national resources available to help City workers release the pressure can be found on the City Corporation’s website and this very short quiz from the NHS can help to signpost to tailored support and resources. Wellbeing guidance in a myriad of languages is available here.

“This is Me” for Small Businesses, Thursday 22 October

The Lord Mayor’s Appeal is hosting a free 45-minute webinar for small businesses looking at how they can use the power of storytelling and “This Is Me” to tackle mental health-related stigma among their workforce. This practical session, with speakers from ELBA and Byrne Dean will share insights, best practice, and look at free tools available to support small businesses.

Find out more and register here.

Webinar on innovative approaches to supporting employee wellbeing, Thursday 29 October

The Mayor of London’s Healthy Workplace Award programme is hosting a free webinar looking at how innovative organisations are supporting employee wellbeing during COVID-19, between 5 and 6.45pm on Thursday 29 October. Speakers include Group People Director at M&C Saatchi. Learn more and book your place here.

Dragon Cafe in the City returns on Wednesday 28 October

The award-winning Dragon Café in the City provides a fortnightly online programme of free and creative activities to help City workers and residents to release the pressure and try something new, whether they are working from home or the office.

For details and to register for the online sessions (Zoom), please visit Dragon Cafe in the City’s website.


Thought of the Week

“Bringing art into people’s lives through activities including dancing, singing, and going to museums and concerts offers an added dimension to how we can improve physical and mental health”

Dr Piroska Östlin, WHO Regional Director for Europe

The Barbican Centre and other arts and cultural institutions across the City, such as the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Culture Mile, continue to deliver a fantastic array of free digital offerings, to help City workers, residents and visitors get a dose of culture, even when they are at home.


Call for volunteers: City Connections’ “Digital Buddies” scheme and Telephone Befrienders

City Connections is a free service for anyone working, living, studying or volunteering in the Square Mile and is commissioned by the City Corporation to signpost to free health and wellbeing support services. The service also incorporates the City Carers Service, which is specifically for unpaid or young carers, who are working or resident in the City of London.

City Connections is offering remote volunteering opportunities for City workers to support local residents as a “Digital Buddy”. This role will match volunteers to local residents who need assistance to engage in the digital world, for example to find the cheapest energy deal, do online shopping or banking, stay up to date with the latest news, or to stay connected with friends and loved ones.

The commitment is a minimum of two months, for one hour per week, plus feedback submissions and monthly one-hour peer group meetings. Full remote training and an induction will be provided, as will support from the Volunteer Coordinator.

There is also an opportunity for volunteer Telephone Befrienders, which is a weekly social call with a matched client, to help with social interaction and to alleviate isolation, loneliness and improve mental health and wellbeing.

To find out more about these volunteer opportunities, contact City Connections via email, over the phone (0203 957 9844), or through the online form.

City Connections also offers a timetable of free activities to support health and wellbeing. To find out more, access the timetable here.


Helping to prevent suicides in the City of London

Suicide Prevention Awareness session, Thursday 19 November

Changes over recent months have meant that the support of City employers and their workforce in preventing suicides locally and beyond the Square Mile has never been more crucial.

Business Healthy, in partnership with Samaritans and the City of London Police, is delivering another short Suicide Prevention Awareness session to the City of London’s business community, on the morning of Thursday 19 November. The session is taking place on Zoom and places are limited, as this is a highly interactive session,

For more information the session, to reserve a place and to find out about local suicide prevention efforts, please visit the session’s Eventbrite page.


Accessing NHS services

“Help Us, Help You” campaign on NHS access

A key consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is that some members of the public are reluctant to use NHS services, citing concerns about being exposed to coronavirus and not wanting to be a burden on the NHS.

A new phase of the “Help Us, Help You” campaign reminds the public that the NHS is still available to help and has adapted services to see patients safely.

If you are worried about a symptom that could be cancer, please don’t delay. Arrange to speak with your GP and visit the NHS webpage on Signs and symptoms of cancer.

“Healthier You” NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme

In response to COVID-19, anyone at-risk of Type 2 diabetes is invited to self-refer to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP). The NDPP will help you to take control of your health, supporting you to make changes to your diet, weight and the amount of exercise you do.

Taking this kind of action now if very important, as it can reduce your risk of – or even stop you – developing Type 2 diabetes.

To identify whether you are at risk of Type 2 diabetes, you can fill out this short “Know your Risk” tool. If you score 16 or more and are aged 18-79, not pregnant and do not already have a current Type 2 diabetes diagnosis, you can self-refer to the NDPP, by emailing, calling 0333 577 3010, or visiting You can also ask your GP, nurse or NHS Health Check professional to refer you.


Have your say: Active travel and physical activity in the City

The City of London Corporation has teamed up with ukactive to seek insights from employers and employees in the Square Mile – whether they are working on site or not – around their active travel, physical activity and leisure needs in the City, and how these are tied to health and wellbeing.

Please do spare a few minutes to have your say, through the short survey here, and you could also be in with a chance to win one of ten £50 Amazon vouchers.