The HSE has published guidance on social distancing, keeping businesses open and in-work activities during the coronavirus outbreak

Social distancing

  • In these extraordinary times, the HSE is constantly reviewing the fast-moving situation with their partners across government to support the national effort to tackle COVID-19.
  • While social distancing is fundamentally a public health measure introduced to reduce the spread of infection, they recognise the concerns raised on social distancing within the workplace and are in contact with trade unions.
  • Where the HSE identifies employers who are not taking action to comply with the relevant PHE guidance to control public health risks, eg employers not taking appropriate action to socially distance or ensure workers in the shielded category can follow the NHS advice to self-isolate for the period specified, they will consider taking a range of actions to improve control of workplace risks. These actions include the provision of specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices to help secure improvements with the PHE guidance.


Essential and non-essential work

  • Keep your business open. With the exception of some non-essential shops and public venues, they are not asking any other businesses to close – indeed it is important for business to carry on.
  • Employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home. Where it is not be possible to work from home you can still travel for work purposes, provided you are not showing coronavirus symptoms and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating.
  • Employers who have people in their offices or onsite should ensure that employees are able, where possible, to follow Public Health England guidelines on social distancing (including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others), and hygiene (washing their hands with soap and water often for at least 20 seconds). Follow government guidance on how to keep your employees safe.


In-work activity

  • All workers are encouraged to keep working and should be working from home if they can.
  • Only travel to work when you absolutely cannot work from home. Protect yourself, your workers and help save lives by staying at home. Follow government guidance on what you need to do.
  • If you are travelling to your workplace you will still need to observe the social distancing guidance whilst you are travelling, as far as is practical. Social distancing means staying 2 metres (6ft) apart from other people.
  • In your workplace you need to observe, where possible, the social distancing guidance.



Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.