Business Best Practice
While there are no legal restrictions in place for businesses anymore, all businesses are asked to support their staff and customers in taking steps to minimise the spread of COVID-19 at any time and to consider what measures they can implement to mitigate risk.
All businesses are different and will have individual needs and internal policies. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to mitigating risk, so this guidance is provided to help you consider what risks are presented, and what actions could be taken. You will need to adapt this into the specific actions you need to take in your own business, depending on the size and type of business you operate.
The best way to ensure you are protecting your staff and customers is by carrying out a risk assessment which considers and evaluates the health and safety risks, as well as identifying the steps that your business will need to take to mitigate these risks. A risk assessment does not need to be onerous but should be updated regularly, and communicated clearly to both internal and external stakeholders.
Testing and positive cases
Unless otherwise mandated by their employer due to perhaps working in a high risk setting, if you experience any symptoms of COVID-19, you are encouraged to take a lateral flow test
If you test positive, the most effective way to avoid passing on COVID-19 infection is to at home and avoid contact with other people. You are also encouraged to follow the guidance for testing positive.
If you feel unwell but do not have COVID-19 symptoms, or your COVID-19 test is negative, you may still have an illness which could be passed on to other people. Many common illnesses, like the flu or the common cold, are spread from one person to another by releasing respiratory particles into the air or through contaminated surfaces or belongings. Staying at home until you feel better reduces the risk that you will pass on an illness to your friends, colleagues, and others in your community. This will help reduce the burden on our health services.
Although individuals with COVID-19 are no longer required to identify their close contacts to Public Health, you are advised to notify your own close contacts and employer, particularly if you work in a sensitive location where high-risk individuals are present/may visit.
Employers will be asked to respect and support the personal choices of employees who may decide to continue wearing face coverings, in particular in certain environments or occasions, or where required do so in particular settings.
Working from home
There are no legal limits on contact between people from different households including in the workplace. There is also no government requirement or recommendation for employers to limit capacity in the workplace. Employers may however wish to continue operating their own flexible approach to working at their own discretion.
The basic hygiene measures that have been important since the start of the pandemic remain relevant - hands, face, space and fresh air will continue to be important messages for the public who are encouraged to keep doing the right thing and follow the advice.
Business Contingency Planning
Although the removal of all restrictions has been mandated by the Isle of Man Government, all businesses, where possible, are encouraged to still consider business contingency planning in the event of another outbreak.
We recommend you take the following steps in relation to planning for any future impact on your business:
- Define a lead team who can create and carry out your business preparation planning
- Define your business’ critical functions of service that must be maintained at times of disruption
- Assess business needs and options to minimise the spread of infection including reviewing face to face contact, travel etc.
- Define the impact on service delivery – what needs to happen in 24 hours, first week, first month etc. and what essential resources are required (inc. staff)
- Establish list of key stakeholders that will need to be kept up to date
- Review staff processes and consider demand on certain areas of the business e.g. HR
- Ensure up to date list of all critical documentation and data, and detail on how this is accessed
- List and review suppliers and how they will be affected
- Detail sequence of tasks and individuals that are needed to provide a basic service while the overall process of full service recovery is being progressed
- Detail the sequence of events and individuals required to restore the service to normal – making people aware of their responsibilities
- Ensure adequate location and technology to continue activity
- Create detailed action plan based on all of this information and keep it regularly up to date
Hotel and Guest Accommodation
From 1 April 2022, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 is no longer required to identify their close contacts to Public Health. Instead, individuals (residents and visitors) will be advised to notify their own close contacts so they can be vigilant for symptoms and take an LFD test if they become symptomatic. It will be at the guest’s discretion to inform the accommodation provider if they have tested positive.
What this means is that we now look to live with COVID-19, accepting that the virus is present in our community for the long term, that it is monitored to ensure we understand how it is affecting the Island, but we do not look to identify each and every case. Ultimately, COVID-19 is to be treated in the same way as other communicable diseases (i.e a disease which is transmitted between people, for example norovirus).
The best way to ensure you are protecting your staff and guests is by carrying out a risk assessment which considers and evaluates the health and safety risks, as well as identifying the steps that your business will need to take to mitigate these risks. A risk assessment does not need to be onerous but should be updated regularly, and communicated clearly to both internal and external stakeholders.
If a guest tests positive for COVID-19 during their stay at your accommodation, they will be advised to notify their own close contacts so that they can look out for any symptoms and take an LFD test if they become symptomatic.
From 1 April 2022, any visitor who tests positive for COVID-19 is no longer legally required to self-isolate. Instead, they are encouraged to follow the guidance for positive cases, staying within their accommodation/room and keeping their distance where possible from other people whilst they are symptomatic. If a visitor is still symptomatic but well enough to travel on the date of their departure, they may do so but are strongly advised to wear a face covering and consider hands, face, space, and fresh air to help prevent any spread of the virus. Visitors should also check with their travel providers on any specific COVID-19 policies they may have in place before travelling.
Visitors should be encouraged to have adequate travel insurance in place before booking their holiday to the Isle of Man.
If a visitor is no longer able to travel to the Island due to COVID-19, it is the responsibility of the business to communicate with the visitor and manage this booking. Please refer to your terms and conditions in the first instance.
Keeping your accommodation clean will help to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Surfaces and objects can be contaminated with COVID-19 when people who are infected touch them or cough or sneeze near them. Think about how you can reduce this risk by cleaning your guest rooms and other communal areas regularly, and paying particular attention to surfaces or objects that people touch frequently. General cleaning advice and further detailed information can be found at gov.uk.
Rooms that have been used by guests who you are aware of having COVID-19 should be cleaned carefully and thoroughly. You should also take extra care with laundry from people who may have COVID-19. Guidance on COVID-19 cleaning and decontamination can be found at gov.uk.
In poorly ventilated rooms the amount of virus in the air can build up, increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19, especially if there are lots of infected people in the room. The virus can also remain in the air after an infected person has left.
Bringing fresh air into a room and removing older stale air that contains virus particles reduces the chance of spreading COVID-19. The more fresh air that is brought inside, the quicker any airborne virus will be removed from the room.
Use your risk assessment to think about:
- How to make sure there is an adequate supply of fresh air in your accommodation and guest rooms. Read about improving ventilation
- Finding out if there are areas within your accommodation that don’t have enough ventilation, and how you can improve fresh air flow in these areas. Read about poorly ventilated spaces