Business Healthy Newsletter, 22 December 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.

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 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 in the City

There is a COVID-19 testing centre in Guildhall Yard (EC2V 5AA), which can provide PCR tests to individuals with coronavirus symptoms.

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.

Tier 4: Stay at Home

London and other areas in the South East of England are subject to tighter restrictions, from 20 December, aimed at controlling a very rapidly rising level of coronavirus infections.

This means that:

  • you cannot leave or be outside of the place you are living, unless you have a reasonable excuse
  • you cannot meet other people indoors, including over the Christmas period, unless you live with them, or they are part of your support bubble
  • outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household
  • you cannot form a “Christmas Bubble” in Tier 4

These rules will not be relaxed for Christmas for Tier 4.

More detailed information on Tier 4 measures and what you can and cannot do can be found on the GOV.UK website.

People who are deemed “Clinically Extremely Vulnerable” to coronavirus are advised to stay at home at all times, unless for exercise or medical appointments, and not to attend work, even if they are unable to work from home.

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 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.

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 must get tested for coronavirus and self-isolate immediately, along with other members of their household.

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.

Opening hours during the festive season

Some local services providing health and wellbeing support to workers are operating different hours over the festive season.


To find your nearest pharmacy and its opening hours, use the NHS “Find a Pharmacy” tool.

City Advice

City Advice is closed over the Christmas period and will resume services on Monday 4 January. if your enquiry is not urgent, you can email the team and they will respond in the New Year.

Sexual Health

If you need to access STI testing, emergency hormonal contraception, or other support for your sexual or reproductive health, visit the Sexual Health webpage on the City Corporation website to find out more details, including how to access a free STI testing kit delivered to your home.

If you require further assistance, you can also call the Sexual Health advice line run by the Homerton Hospital on 020 7683 4103, where you can speak to a receptionist and arrange a call-back. The telephone line will be open at the following times:

  • Wednesday 23 December, 12pm – 4pm
  • Thursday 24 December, 9am – 12pm
  • Friday 25 and Monday 28 December – CLOSED
  • Tuesday 29 December, 9am – 4pm
  • Wednesday 30 December, 10.30am – 4pm
  • Thursday 31 December, 9am – 12pm
  • Friday 1 January – CLOSED

NHS 111

NHS 111 can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do.

To get help from NHS 111, you can:

NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Call 999 in a medical emergency. This is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

New on the blog

“Financial wellbeing: Support for employees”, from the Bank Workers Charity

Money troubles have been on the rise for years – but with vulnerabilities expected to worsen due to COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to tackle financial wellbeing in the workplace.

Bank Workers Charity explains the current situation and resources available to help employers support their staff’s financial health, in a guest blog for Business Healthy.

“Supporting workers who are enduring domestic abuse”, from the City of London’s Vulnerable Victims Advocate

“16 Days of Action against Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG)” is an annual campaign that raises awareness of domestic abuse and promotes support services available to victims and survivors. The ongoing pandemic, restrictions to curb the spread of the virus and measures such as more remote working, can all exacerbate existing issues and risks around domestic abuse.

The City of London’s Vulnerable Victims Advocate outlines the types of support available to employers and their staff, and how it can be accessed, in this guest blog post.

Coming up…

Dry January

2020 has been a stressful, scary and tiring year, which has led many of us to adopt habits we might like to break. With the New Year comes a fresh start, which resonates this year more so than ever before. This is where Dry January comes in. 31 days alcohol-free and a chance for a break and a reset.

Cutting down on your alcohol intake – if it’s safe for you to do so – brings many benefits to your health, as well as your pocket. There is a wealth of free resources available to support you and help you to maintain these good habits beyond the month. Read on to find out more.

Here are some ideas from Alcohol Change UK about supporting Dry January within your organisation:

  • Spread the word: Campaign resources, digital posters and newsletter text are available to download on the Alcohol Change UK website.
  • Identify Dry January “Champions” who can organise activities and inspire staff to get involved.
  • Engage staff, for example by using team meetings to talk about alcohol misuse and healthier lifestyles, or by hosting a webinar.
  • Encourage your employees to access the free “Try Dry” app, designed to help people meet their goals, whether they want to cut down on their drinking, or go totally alcohol-free.
  • Team up: everyone likes a bit of competition, especially if it’s for a good cause, like raising money for charity (and forming healthier habits, of course!)
  • Connect: engaging staff around Dry January can provide a great opportunities to re-connect in the New Year, especially for those who are still working remotely.
  • Plan for the future. This may be a good opportunity to launch or re-launch your workplace’s alcohol strategy.

How employers can foster a healthier culture around alcohol among their workforce

The Mayor of London’s Healthy Workplace Award has outlined some key steps beyond the minimum legal requirements, which employers can take to encourage the safe and sensible use of alcohol among their workforce, and respond and provide support to those who may be struggling.

These steps are relevant to employers no matter how little or how much they already have in place, and are split into “Foundation”, “Achievement”, and “Excellence”:


  • Making all workers (including new starters) aware of how to access policies, information and support services related to alcohol and other substance misuse.
  • Making available an alcohol and substance misuse policy or statement around the use of alcohol and other substances at work (including alcohol at business functions) that is clear and consistent.
  • Providing information to workers about the effects of alcohol and substance misuse that is appropriate, acceptable and accessible.
  • Supporting employees in seeking help to treat alcohol or substance misuse issues, including providing sources of further information and support that are readily available and actively promoted.


  • Making available an organisational code of conduct and behaviour in relation to alcohol and substances, and making sure it is well established and well publicised.


  • All employees and workers have access to information and guidance about alcohol and wellbeing, which includes information about the link between the misuse of alcohol and/ or other substances, and mental health.
  • Managers have access to information about alcohol and substance misuse, including how to spot the signs of misuse and the reasons that people may be reluctant to come forward with related problems. Managers actively promote the use of external help and rehabilitation when approached.

COVID-19 Q&A webinar for businesses, with Dr Sandra Husbands (Director of Public Health for the City of London and Hackney) – Tuesday 12 January (3.30-5pm)

Dr Sandra Husbands – Director of Public Health for the City of London and Hackney – will be on-hand to answer businesses’ questions on how to safeguard their workforce, clients and customers during the pandemic, in this free webinar hosted by the Greater London Authority’s London Healthy Workplace Award Team.

The webinar is open to businesses of all sizes in all sectors, and there will be an opportunity to submit questions in advance. To register your interest and/ or to submit a question to be answered during the webinar, please email the Business Healthy team.

Dragon Cafe in the City returns – Wednesday 13 January

The award-winning Dragon Café in the City will resume its fortnightly online programme of free and creative activities to help City workers and residents to release the pressure on Wednesday 13 January. It’s an opportunity to try something new, no matter if you 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.

Bringing the City’s legal sector together: Online roundtable hosted by Policy Chair Catherine McGuinness, Wednesday 27 January, 3-4pm

This online roundtable discussion, aimed at senior leaders from the City’s legal sector, will look at lessons learned and opportunities presented by COVID-19, through the lens of workforce mental health and wellbeing in the legal sector.

It will be chaired by the Policy Chair of the City of London Corporation – Catherine McGuinness. Attendees will also be able to hear from a Partner at Dentons – Martin Mankabady – about the firm’s response during these times.

While 2020 has been challenging for employers and employees alike, this session will be a safe space for organisations to share experiences, best practice and opportunities that have arisen from these significant changes to working practices due to the pandemic, and how these can be harnessed to help support and improve the mental wellbeing of the legal workforce.

The discussion will be conducted under Chatham House rules.

Places are strictly limited. To register your interest, please email us here.

Suicide Prevention Awareness session, in partnership with Samaritans and the City of London Police – Thursday 25 February, 9-11am

City workers have a crucial role to play in local suicide prevention efforts, and can often be the “eyes and ears” when it comes to identifying someone who may be in distress. This short and interactive awareness session provides practical tips on what to do and what not to do, the local situation with regards to suicide and suicide prevention, as well as insights on key listening skills.

We have been delivering these sessions on a regular basis over the past five years to a wide range of business representatives in many different sectors both within the City of London and beyond.

To find out more and to register your interest, please get in touch with the Business Healthy team here.

Free and useful resources

Able Futures – Coping at Christmas

Able Futures delivers the “Access to Work Mental Health support service” on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

It has published some information for employees on feeling better during the festive season.

Throughout the year, Able Futures can provide nine months’ advice and guidance from a mental health specialist to anyone aged 16+, in work, on an apprenticeship, about to start work, or on furlough, and who is experiencing challenges with their mental health that could impact on their work.

For a full list of services available to City workers to support their mental, physical, social and financial wellbeing, visit the Business Healthy website.

Improve your cycle skills with Transport for London’s free online course

Whether you’re new to cycling, or a seasoned cycle commuter looking to brush up on your skills, TfL has a new and free online course to help you cycle safely and confidently.

There are four short modules to complete – each one takes less than five minutes:

  1. Get ready to ride: gives you tips on getting you and your cycle ready for the road, including basic maintenance and road-handling skills
  2. First time on the road: shows you how to cycle safely and responsibly and includes tips on setting off, road positioning and stopping safely
  3. On the road again: helps to get you cycling again with advice on traffic lights, roundabouts and junctions, and how to share the road safely
  4. Cycling with children or groups: gives you advice on cycling in a group

You can also received a 15% Halfords discount on cycle lights, locks and helmets when you complete the course. Find out more on the TfL website.

Good Thinking’s toolkit for employers

London’s digital mental wellbeing service, Good Thinking, promotes self-care for the four most common mental health disorders: anxiety, sleep problems, low mood, and stress. It recommends a range of NHS-approved apps, many of which are free to anyone who lives or works in London, as well as free self-assessment tools and a wide range of free wellbeing content.

Good Thinking has published a free employer toolkit, which provides an introduction to the service and signposts to other useful websites. In addition, if many of your staff are still working remotely, the toolkit can be used to promote online support, too.

Access the toolkit on the Good Thinking website.

“Six ways to improve your wellbeing” – translated resources

Taking care of ourselves is really important, especially in these challenging times. Thrive LDN and Doctors of the World (DOTW) have joined forces to share guidance on six simple steps to improve our health and wellbeing, which has also been translated into 27 different languages, including Spanish, Polish and Portuguese.

Access the wellbeing guidance, as well as other translated materials on the DOTW website.

Thought of the Week

“To reduce health inequalities, action needs to be taken to address all the factors that contribute to these inequalities – reducing differences in risk of exposure, in vulnerability and in the consequences of the disease and of the control measures.”

Public Health England’sblogpost on opportunities to address inequalities: learning from the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local updates

The Museum of London’s “Imagined London: the City”

Take a free audio walk through the City of London, and hear oral histories from Londoners past and present. Drop in any time via the Museum of London website.

Free Corporate Social Responsibility programme for SMEs in London

Applications for Heart of the City‘s free responsible business programme for 2021 are now open to SMEs in London who are keen to do well by doing good, and are interested in developing their Corporate Social Responsibility, social value and social impact strategies. The programme addresses environmental impact, diversity and inclusion, health and wellbeing, community and volunteering.

The first year is free of charge for businesses that fit the criteria and there are 40 introductory year places available, which are allocated on a first come, first served basis (subject to criteria fulfilment).

The deadline for applications is 28 February. To find out more, visit Heart of the City’s website.

City of London Police’s Sector Policing

As part of the City of London Police’s key ambition to ensure the Square Mile remains one of the safest cities in the world, the Local Policing strand of the Transform Programme has recently launched a new, enhanced neighbourhood policing model known as ‘Sector Policing’.

This means that the City has been split into two ‘Sectors’, East and West, with a senior leader responsible for each sector. The Sectors are broken down further into three ‘clusters’ comprised of several, smaller wards. Every cluster has its own Dedicated Ward Officers (DWOs), responsible for their areas, leading on the policing response to, and management of, crime and disorder in that area and being the main point of contact for visitors, residents and businesses. The DWOs also provide a consistent approach to long-term problems.

Find out more on the City of London Police’s website.