Throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, our priority is to protect public health, while providing support and advice to businesses across the Falkirk Council area.

The UK Government and the Scottish Government have agreed on regulations and emergency restrictions. The legislation passed in Scotland is The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.

Our Trading Standards Officers and Environmental Health Officers are striving to make sure that local businesses are complying with legal requirements contained in the regulations. These requirements relate to the closure of certain business premises and to the social distancing measures that should be put in place at business premises that can operate.

    Route map for easing lockdown restrictions

    The Scottish Government has published a four phase route map for easing lockdown restrictions in response to COVID-19.

    The Scottish Government has published a list of all the non-essential premises which currently must remain closed.

    If you are a Falkirk Council business and would like advice on whether you can continue to operate, please email the Environmental Health and Trading Standards Service at publichealth@falkirk.gov.uk.


    Checklists for businesses to follow

    The Scottish Government has produced a number of re-opening checklists for the following sectors (keep checking back as we will update this when more become available):

    Guides from the Health and Safety Executive provide useful sources of information:

    Food Standards Scotland recently updated their guidance on COVID-19 for food businesses. The update guidance package now also includes a new risk assessment tool and checklist to support Food Business Operators (FBOs) in identifying and the measures they need to implement alongside their existing Food Safety Management System to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) with input from various sources, have created the following guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed how to work safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    If you have not already done so, you should carry out an assessment of the risks posed by COVID-19 in your workplace as soon as possible. If you are currently operating, you are likely to have gone through a lot of this thinking already. This guidance will assist you to identify any further improvements you should make. Once you have followed the guidance, you should display this HSE notice in your workplace to show you have followed this guidance.

    Hospitality sector

    The mandatory collection of customer and visitor details in hospitality businesses

    From Friday 14 August new regulations make it mandatory for restaurants, cafes, bars, public houses and hotels in which food or drink is sold for consumption on the premises, to take measures to:

    • obtain and record visitor information
    • record visitor information in a filing system suitable for recording, storing and retrieving such information
    • retain visitor information for at least 21 days from the date on which the visit occurred.

    You must collect:

    • the name and telephone number of one member of each household visiting the premises
    • the date of their visit and arrival and departure times
    • together with a note of the number of any members of that person's household visiting the premises at the same time.

    You must provide the visitor information to a public health officer, as soon as reasonably practicable but within 24 hours of it being requested.

    It is a criminal offence not to comply with these regulations.

    The Scottish Government have published guidance on the collection of customer details.

    Requirement to collect customer and visitor details in other premises

    So that the test and protect system can function as effectively as possible, the following services should continue to follow guidance from the Scottish Government and collect and store customer details:

    • Tourism and leisure, including theme parks, museums, and cinemas
    • Close contact services, including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors, and fashion designers
    • Facilities provided by local authorities, such as libraries, leisure centres, and registration offices
    • Cremation authorities, burial authorities, places of worship or funeral director service rooms offering funeral services
    • Places of worship which are reopening for congregational services and communal prayer or contemplation.

    The requirements do not apply where services are taken off-site immediately, for example, a library operating a click-and-collect service or a food outlet that only provides takeaways. If premises offer a mixture of an on-site and collection service, contact information only needs to be collected for customers who remain on-site.

    Exemption to the required 2 metre physical distance rules in hospitality premises

    The Scottish Government has issued new statutory guidance relating to indoor hospitality. Hospitality businesses must adhere to this guidance. The aim is to ensure greater compliance with some of the key public health measures – such as physical distancing. Police Scotland and the local authority will, if necessary, enforce compliance with these measures.

    Hospitality services, such as pubs, restaurants, and cafes may operate within the reduced 1m physical distance rules. If they do, they must ensure that there are additional mitigating measures in place to reduce the risks of operating at 1m as opposed to 2m.

    • There must be clear signage displayed at entry points and throughout the premises to inform customers that they are within a 1 metre physical distancing zone.
    • Premises must collect and keep customer details. (see the Mandatory collection of customer details above).
    • Wherever possible, people should pre-book tables in advance. And there should be no queueing.
    • People should be seated, with table service.
    • Customers should not be standing together to watch football, dancing, or queuing at the bar.
    • There should be no queueing outside. If it is unavoidable for any reason, those in queues should be physically distanced.
    • There should be no background music – or volume from the TV. To ensure that people do not have to shout or lean into each other to be heard.

    Enforcement

    Enforcement options:

    • Prohibition Notices may be issued to the business under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations or the Health & Safety at Work Etc Act.
    • Fixed Penalty Notices may be issued by officers from Police Scotland
    • A report may be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.
    • We may object to Occasional Licences.
    • We may recommend that any permissions to use public spaces are revoked.
    • We may instigate a Public Health Review of the Licence.

    Information for the public visiting shops and hospitality

    Throughout the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, our priority is to protect public health, while providing support and advice to businesses across Falkirk Council.

    Trading Standards Officers and Environmental Health Officers have been striving to make sure that local businesses are complying with the legal requirements in the regulations. These requirements relate to the opening and closure of business premises and to the physical distancing measures that should be put in place.

    The Protect Scotland App

    The Protect Scotland app is now available. The Scottish Government is urging all smartphone users across Scotland to download NHS Scotland's new contact tracing app to help suppress the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). It lets people know if they have been in close contact with someone who later tests positive. It can be downloaded for free onto a smart phone from Apple's App Store or Google Play.

    Supported by a dedicated Protect Scotland website, the app is an extra tool complementing existing person-to-person contact tracing which remains the main component of NHS Scotland's Test and Protect system.

    Social gatherings

    From Monday 14 September there are revised social gathering rules: 6 people from up to 2 households can meet socially. (Under 12s from the 2 households are not counted within this limit). This applies in all locations – for example at home, in hospitality or outdoors in a park or garden. Limited exemptions apply.

    The attendance limit for weddings, funerals and civil partnerships remains at 20. Receptions and wakes are permitted in regulated settings (eg hospitality venues) also with a limit of 20 people.

    Mandatory face coverings

    A face-covering can be any covering of the mouth and nose that is made of cloth or other textiles and through which you can breathe.

    Religious face-coverings that cover the mouth and the nose count as face coverings for these purposes.

    A face visor on its own is no longer considered to be a face-covering and so if one is worn, a face covering (as above) must also be worn.

    Retail

    • A face covering must be worn by all people using a shop, which is any indoor establishment that offers goods or services for sale or hire when the shop is open.
    • You do not need to wear a face covering in hospitality premises such as cafes, coffee shops, restaurants, or pubs. (Face coverings do have to be worn for take-aways services)
    • It is strongly recommended that staff wear face coverings even when 2m physical distancing is applied. However, there is an exemption for staff where 2m physical distancing or Perspex screens are in place.
    • Face coverings are mandatory in indoor hospitality venues for staff and customers when not eating and drinking (eg when entering a venue).

    Transport

    A face covering must be worn by all passengers and staff or operators in the following settings:

    • taxi and private hire vehicles
    • bus stations, railway stations (including open-air stations) and airports
    • ferry services (unless the ferry is open to the elements and physical distancing can be achieved, or the vessel is large enough that physical distancing can be achieved)
    • airline services

    Other public places

    Face coverings must be worn in:

    • aquariums, indoor zoos or visitor farms, and any other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural site
    • banks, building societies, credit unions and post offices
    • cinemas
    • community centres
    • crematoriums and funeral directors premises
    • libraries and public reading rooms, museums and galleries
    • places of worship
    • storage and distribution facilities, including collection and drop off points.

    Face coverings exemptions

    Some people are not required to wear a face covering.

    These include:

    • children under 5 years of age
    • police constables or workers such as paramedics acting in the course of their duty
    • staff such as drivers or checkout assistants who are physically separated, by means of, for example, screens, from passengers or customers
    • shop workers if they maintain a 2-metre distance from customers or members of the public

    You may also have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if, for example:

    you have a health condition or you are disabled and a face covering would be inappropriate because it would cause difficulty, pain, or severe distress or anxiety or because you cannot apply a covering and wear it correctly, safely, and consistently. Individual discretion should be applied in considering the use of face coverings for other children including, for example, children with breathing difficulties and disabled children who would struggle to wear a face covering.

    • you need to eat or drink
    • you are taking medication
    • you are communicating with someone else who relies on lip reading
    • a relevant person, such as a police officer, asks you to remove your face covering

    Collection of customer and visitor details

    It has been mandatory, since 14 August 2020, for hospitality businesses to collect customer details.

    Other services are following guidance from the Scottish Government.

    You will be asked to provide your name and contact telephone number. Details will also be taken of the time and date of your arrival and departure. These details will be kept for 21 days. This is to ensure that the Test and Protect system can function as effectively as possible.

    Details will be requested if you are visiting any of the following:

    • Hospitality, including restaurants, cafes, and pubs, as well as hotels and other accommodation providers
    • Tourism and leisure, including theme parks, museums and cinemas
    • Close contact services, including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, tattooists, sports and massage therapists, dress fitters, tailors and fashion designers
    • Facilities provided by local authorities, such as libraries, leisure centres and registration offices
    • Cremation authorities, burial authorities, places of worship or funeral director service rooms offering funeral services
    • Places of worship which are reopening for congregational services and communal prayer or contemplation.

    Failure to provide contact details may mean that you are refused to be served.

    You will not be requested to provide contact details for take-away services.

    Physical distancing requirements businesses need to put in place

    All businesses, services and places of worship must take measures to ensure, where reasonably practicable:

    • The required distance is maintained between any persons on the premises (except for members of the same household or persons and their carers or between school pupils under 12 years old)
    • They only admit people in sufficiently small numbers to make the required distance possible
    • The required distance in any queue to enter the premises is maintained

    Required distance

    For some premises known as 'reduced distance premises', it is at least 1m whilst for all other premises, it is 2m.

    And reduced distance premises are:

    • Passenger transport service premises (bus stations, train stations, etc)
    • Premises used for the retail sale or hire or goods (ie shops) and including restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs.

    A business can move to the reduced 1m distance only if it has 'mitigation measures' in place.

    Remember that some people, for example, those with sight loss, autism, learning disabilities, dementia or other communication or mobility needs might find physical distancing rules more difficult to follow than others. Please be considerate by giving way when you're out and about.

    Exemption to the required 2 metre physical distance rules in hospitality premises

    The Scottish Government has issued new statutory guidance relating to indoor hospitality. The aim is to ensure greater compliance with some of the key public health measures – such as physical distancing. Police Scotland and the local Trading Standards and Environmental Health team will, if necessary, enforce compliance with these measures.

    Hospitality services, such as pubs, restaurants, and cafes may operate within the reduced 1m physical distance rules. If they do, they must ensure that there are additional mitigating measures in place to reduce the risks of operating at 1m as opposed to 2m.

    When you visit a hospitality business you may notice that:

    • There are signs at the entrance and throughout the building advising that you are in a 1 metre physical distancing zone.
    • You have to pre-book tables in advance.
    • There is no queueing outside. If, for any reason there is a queue, you should be physically distanced.
    • They will be collecting and keeping your contact details.
    • Inside, people will all be seated and there will be table service only.
    • Customers will not be permitted, to dance, to stand together to watch football or to queue at the bar.
    • There will be no background music – or volume from the TV. This is to ensure that you do not have to shout or lean into each other to be heard.
    • Face coverings must be worn by staff and customers when they are entering or moving around inside hospitality premises.

    The Scottish Government have issued guidance for customers visiting hospitality premises. They explain what you should do and what to expect when you visit them. The Scottish Government have said that "going to hospitality premises will not feel the same as it used to do".


    Are you concerned that a business is operating illegally?

    If you have concerns about a business in Falkirk that is not complying with the closure requirements or social distancing and want to report that, please report your concerns to the Environmental Health and Trading Standards Service:

    We will investigate your concerns and where necessary deal with the business using powers contained in The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.

    If you have any concerns about people gathering in public or not wearing a mask in a shop (shop’ is any building, room or other indoor establishment used for the retail sale or hire of goods or services), please contact Police Scotland.

    Police Scotland