New working safely guidelines and extended retail hours for reopening

Published 1 April 2021
Last updated 1 April 2021

New information on ventilation, testing, and fitting rooms, provides guidance to high street businesses ahead of reopening no earlier than April 12. In addition government has announced an extension to non-essential retail opening hours.

Government has published updated guidance for working safely during COVID-19, which all high street businesses should review and adopt ahead of future reopening.

The new measures are aimed at ensuring that people can safely return to workplaces, non-essential retail, and close contact services, by minimising COVID-19 transmission risk. The roadmap for easing COVID-19 restrictions allows many businesses to reopen no earlier than April 12.

In addition, daily opening hours will be extended for non-essential retail, helping to manage potential high demand and keep people safe. When reopening, no earlier than April 12, shops will have flexibility to open from 7am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday.

Updates to working safely guidance includes:


Ventilation should be used to mitigate transmission risk in enclosed spaces, alongside other control measures such as cleaning and social distancing. There are different ways to provide this ventilation, including fans, ducts, natural ventilation through doors, windows and vents, or a combination of these.

More information is available at GOV.UK and advice on air conditioning and ventilation from HSE.


New guidance reiterates the need to take measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission even if workers have received recent negative test results and/or had a COVID-19 vaccine.

Businesses should understand how to provide or signpost testing to their employees. Employers can register to order rapid lateral flow tests to test employees with no COVID-19 symptoms. Regular testing is vital to reduce the risk of transmission and businesses should register to receive tests before April 12.

More information is available at GOV.UK.

Customer fitting rooms

Nine steps to minimise the risk of transmission through customer fitting rooms have been published. These include limiting entry, one person at a time in cubicles, allowing for break time between customers, providing hand sanitiser, leaving doors or curtains open where possible to improve ventilation, and setting clear use guidelines for customers.

More information is available on GOV.UK