COVID-19 information, support and guidance for City businesses

Updated 23 July 2021. For the latest guidance, please visit GOV.UK

Local guidance for businesses

Guidance is available for local businesses in a range of sectors through City and Hackney Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). These include SOPs for Hospitality, Gyms and fitness studios, Offices, Retail and close-contact services, and more. Access the guidance here.

Please note these documents are being refreshed in light of Step 4 of the COVID-19 Roadmap and will be republished as and when they are ready.

It is a legal requirement under Health and Safety law to undertake a risk assessment to identify workplace hazards – including COVID-19 – and consider measures to control them,such as infection prevention control measures. It is also a legal requirement to ensure that your staff and other workers on your site are protected from harm, and that everyone – including customers – are not harmed by the business activities. In addition, ensuring your staff and customers/ visitors can stay healthy and well helps to avoid disruption to your business.

To receive the latest updates for City of London workplaces on support and signposting to improve the health and wellbeing of your workforce, including COVID-19 and more, please subscribe to receive the Business Healthy newsletter (visit the homepage and scroll to the end to sign up).

Reporting positive COVID-19 cases within your workplace 

If you become aware of positive COVID-19 cases linked with your workplace (staff/ customers), please contact the City and Hackney Public Health team at This mailbox is monitored during office hours and can also be contacted for specific queries. To report case(s) urgently out of hours, please email Public Health England’s PHE London Coronavirus Response Cell: / 0300 303 0450.

COVID-19 testing

Free NHS COVID-19 tests are available for people without symptoms: rapid (lateral flow) tests for people without symptoms, and PCR tests for anyone with COVID-19 symptoms.

One in three people with COVID-19 does not show any symptoms. This means they could be spreading it to others without knowing. It is advised that anyone without symptoms of COVID-19 tests twice a week with a lateral flow test, which can help to identify when they have COVID-19 and need to self-isolate. This helps to stop the spread of the virus and is an effective tool to help to prevent outbreaks in workplaces.

More details about how businesses and their staff can access these tests can be found here.

COVID-19 vaccines

The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and the best way to protect individuals against severe disease and death from the virus. They can also help to protect others.

While it is not mandatory to get a COVID-19 vaccine, employers have an important role to play in encouraging and supporting staff to get vaccinated.

This can include, for example:

The CIPD has published some useful resources on policies and procedures to assist businesses encouraging their staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

For more details on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the City Corporation website.

Supporting staff with additional access needs for rapid testing

  • Translated information:

Instructions and information for rapid tests is available in different languages and can be accessed on the GOV.UK website.

In addition, 119 is open every day, 7am-11am, and can provide support in 200 languages.

  • British Sign Language support:

InterpreterNow is a free online British Sign Language interpreter service for 119.

Xenia Koumi

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