Skip Navigation LinksMerton Council ❮ Coronavirus ❮ Businesses and self-employed ❮ 

Toolkit for reopening high streets safely in April 2021

Merton Council along with the Government, NHS and our local partners are providing help and support to allow all businesses in the borough to begin reopening safely from Monday 12 April 2021.

The toolkit below provides you with the latest guidance and links to useful and key information.

For full government guidance on re-opening, visit GOV.UK Coronavirus Business Support.


Online webinars were held recently for businesses to find out the guidelines for reopening including Q&As

Use the links below to view the webinars on YouTube most relevant to your business

Steps for reopening your business safely

Business reopening to customers must follow COVID-secure guidelines:

  • Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment and share the results with employees
  • Refer to the relevant sector guidance for your business and ensure you take all reasonable steps to help your employees to work safely in a COVID-secure workplace
  • Hands: Put in place cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures in line with guidance for your employees and customers
  • Face: Ensure that your employees and customers wear face coverings in line with current legislation
  • Space: Take all reasonable steps to maintain a 2 metre distance in the workplace for employees and customers to keep 2 metres apart. Put signage in place to manage flow of people and prevent queues and ensure good ventilation and fresh air

Workplace testing for employees

  • If you have 10 or more employees, from early April you'll be able to order tests for your employees to collect from their workplace and use at home twice a week. You can do this if you cannot provide testing in the workplace. Register your interest by 12 April. Lateral Flow Testing
  • Or your employees can get free, twice weekly, lateral flow tests at one of our test centres by booking online: Book a lateral flow test

QR code

Print a QR code for display in your venue, which visitors can scan when they arrive using the NHS COVID-19 app. This is to help trace and stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Create a coronavirus NHS QR code for your venue

Licensed premises

COVID-19 guidance for licensed premises using new outdoor spaces

Useful web pages

More coronavirus information for businesses and self-employed people here:

COVID marshals

COVID marshals are available to give face-to-face support and advice. Please email:

More ways to stay safe

Other important points to remember to keep you, your staff and your customers safe:

Frequently Asked Questions from the Webinars.

Do customers have to wear a face covering?

In retail premises, close contact services (beauty salons, barbers etc.) and indoor hospitality venues it is a legal requirement for customers to wear a face covering unless they have an exemption.

Do staff have to wear a face covering?

In retail and indoor hospitality venues, in areas of the premises that are open to the public or where staff are likely to come into contact with the public staff are legally required to wear a face covering, unless they have an exemption.

In close contact services, the individual providing the service (e.g. the hairdresser or barber) is required to wear a Type II face mask and either a face visor or eye goggles, unless exempt. Other staff such as receptionists should wear a face covering.

My staff will be working behind a screen, do they still need to wear a face covering?

If businesses have taken steps to create a physical barrier or screen between workers and members of the public then staff behind the barrier or screen will not be required to wear a face covering.

Can I wear a face visor instead of a face covering?

Face visors/shields can be worn in addition to face coverings, but not instead of.

Do I need to obtain proof from customers who say they are exempt from wearing a face covering?

There is no legal requirement for individuals to carry proof that they are exempt from wearing a face covering, therefore if a customer says they are exempt you must allow them entry into your premises without wearing a face covering.

Do I need to display a NHS QR code?

It is a legal requirement for all hospitality businesses and close contact services to display an NHS QR code poster.

In terms of retail, it is only a legal requirement for betting shops to display an NHS QR code poster. It is not a legal requirement for other shops to display one.

What if someone doesn't have a smartphone to scan the QR code?

You must ask every customer or visitor (aged 16 and above) to scan the NHS QR code. If for any reason a customer cannot scan the NHS QR code you must provide an alternative method to collect contact details which doesn't require a smartphone. The details you need to record are

  • The name of the customer or visitor
  •  A contact phone number for each customer or visitor
  • Date of visit, arrival time and, where possible, departure time

Can I open the customer fitting rooms at my retail premises?

Yes, you are permitted to open your fitting rooms, however you must have measures in place to control the transmission of COVID-19 in this area. More information on how to safely open your fitting rooms is available online at - Shops and branches - Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) - Guidance - GOV.UK (

What should I pay attention to when cleaning?

For hospitality venues you should be cleaning the tables and the contents of the table (unused cutlery, menus and condiment bottles) after each use. The same applies for close contact services, the chairs, treatment beds and any reusable equipment/tools used e.g. scissors should be cleaned between clients. You should use disposable gowns for each client, where this is not possible use separate gowns (and towels) for each client and wash them between use.

Hospitality Specific Questions

The only way to access my outdoor area is by walking through the premises, is this allowed from 12 April?
If there is no other means of accessing an outdoor area, then customers can walk through indoor areas of the premises to access the outdoor areas. You must ensure that whilst walking through indoor areas of your premises customers are wearing a face covering, unless exempt. You must also ensure customers are walking through the premises only.

I have a marquee in my outdoor area, can I allow customers to sit in this area?
To be considered 'outdoors' shelters, marquees and other structures can have a roof but need to have at least 50% of the area of their walls open at all times. These must be permanent openings in the walls - a window/door/passageway would not count as an opening.

Therefore, if you have a roof or ceiling and more than 50% of the area of the walls are permanently open you would be permitted to use this area.

If you would like us to look at your outdoor structures, please e-mail us some photographs on  

Can I allow customers inside the premises to use the toilets?
Yes, customers can use toilets, baby changing rooms and breastfeeding rooms located inside – please ensure guidelines on ventilation, face coverings, cleaning etc. are followed in these areas.

Can I provide takeaway alcohol now?
Yes, you are now able to provide takeaway alcohol. Takeaway food and drink (including alcohol) must not be consumed on the premises or adjacent to the premises. Additionally, customers purchasing food or alcohol for takeaway must not enter the premises to order or collect their takeaway.

Please encourage your customers to drink responsibly and not to gather in public spaces to drink in large groups.

Posters and social media assets