The government has issued a press release urging businesses to ensure they have NHS QR code posters visible on entry so customers who have downloaded the new NHS COVID-19 app can use their smartphones to easily check-in when the NHS COVID-19 app is launched across England and Wales on Thursday 24 September.

Operators can create a QR Code and associated poster for their business that links with the app.

Priority Actions

All the Primary Guidance for Businesses on Working Safely with Coronavirus has been updated with a new section on Priorities Actions. This reads (with various for different business types):

Seven steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus.

  1. Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff. Find out how to do a risk assessment.
  2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
  3. Ask your customers to wear face coverings in any indoor space or where required to do so by law. That is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions apply. Check when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own.
  4. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one way system that your customers can follow.
  5. Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running ventilation systems at all times.
  6. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers for 21 days. From 18 September, this will be enforced in law. Some exemptions apply. Check Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace for details.
  7. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating.

Four more things to be aware of if your business is part of the ‘visitor economy’:

  • From 14 September, let customers know that by law they can only visit in groups of up to 6 people (unless they are visiting as a household or support bubble which is larger than 6). Until 14 September, the current guidelines apply. Check with customers on arrival who they are with and how many people will be attending. Put up signs to remind customers to only interact with their group.
  • Encourage contactless payments. Whenever possible, use online booking and pre-payment and ask for contactless payments.
  • Manage food and drink service safely. Minimise customer self-service of food, cutlery and condiments, as well as contact between staff and guests.
  • Understand how your business interacts with the local area. Limit risk by reducing queues on the street outside, staggering check in times and opening hours to other businesses, and advising customers to avoid particular forms of transport at busy times or routes to avoid crowded areas.

Duty Free extended to the EU from January 2021

From January 2021, there will be changes to duty free shopping. The following rules will apply from 1 January 2021:

  • Duty-free sales will be extended to EU-bound passengers.
  • Tax-free sales will be withdrawn and will not be extended to EU passengers.
  • Personal allowances will be introduced for passengers entering GB from the EU, with alcohol allowances significantly increased. Tobacco allowances will be maintained at current levels.
  • The VAT Retail Export Scheme will be withdrawn and will not be extended to EU residents.

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