Advice on reporting concerns about local businesses operating against government guidelines during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

The government has issued guidelines about businesses opening during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

The law is designed to protect both those working in businesses and customers from the transmission and spread of Covid 19. This is currently being achieved through some businesses remaining closed, others re-opening with Covid 19 controls in place and controls on social gatherings.

Changes to guidelines as lock down eases

While the Government is relaxing the lockdown restrictions for a number of businesses, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives, the Government still requires certain businesses and premises to remain closed.

For a list of businesses that are to remain closed please visit the website.

If you have concerns about a business that should not be open, or about inadequate control measures in shops that are open please let us know.

Report a concern

Alternatively, you can call 01707 357 242 or email

Advice to employees and businesses

The Government has published guidance for businesses as they re-open.

Environmental Health regulators across Hertfordshire have developed simple guides and checklists to support businesses re-opening, we are updating this regularly as new information is released by central Government.

The latest information and advice for employers, employees and the self-employed can be found on the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership website

Does my business have to collect customer's details for NHS Test and Trace?

NHS Test and Trace is a key part of the country's COVID-19 response. If we can rapidly detect people who have recently come into close contact with a new COVID -19 case we can take swift action to minimise transmission of the virus.

To help control the virus some business sectors should collect details and maintain records of staff, customers and visitors to their premises.

This information should be recorded digitally if possible but you can make a paper record. The information required is a name and contact phone number and/or email. This should be retained for 21 days and held in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) - not held any longer than necessary or used for anything other than its intended purpose - to be shared with NHS Test and Trace when requested to help contain outbreaks quickly.

Which sectors should collect information?

  • Hospitality including pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes.
  • Tourism and leisure including hotels, museums, cinemas, zoos and theme parks.
  • Close contact services including hairdressers, barbers, beauticians and tattooists.
  • Local authority facilities.
  • Places of Worship

For further advice and guidance please contact Environmental Health on 01707 357 242 or email

What if I am concerned about lack of social distancing in shops?

Retailers must ensure they have taken measures to ensure they are maintaining a two metre distance between customers themselves and staff or one metre plus.

The one metre plus rule means keeping one metre apart in addition to taking certain precautions, for example wearing a face covering in confined spaces or installing a screen. All shops must take reasonable steps to reduce the risk of spread of the virus, such as limiting the number of people inside the shop, queueing customers outside, use of disinfectant and screens at checkouts.

Customers must respect these new measures.

My local shop has increased its prices, is this allowed?

If the price of goods has risen to cover legitimate costs/maintain margins this is acceptable. However if prices are artificially increased and are seen to be taking advantage of the Coronavirus crisis then this may be considered to be an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.

Please report to trading standards on 01992 555204 or email

Can tradespeople still work in people's homes?

Yes they can but no work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless it is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repairs and where the tradesperson is willing to do so. In such cases, Public Health England can provide advice to tradespeople and households.

If the above does not apply and no individuals in the household are exhibiting any symptoms, then you can carry out work at people's homes as long as you are well and not exhibiting any symptoms yourself and use social distancing guidelines

Is it ok for my shop to refuse to take cash?

Yes, shops do not have to accept cash for payment of goods. However it must be made clear to the public what payment types are accepted before people decide to make a purchase.

Updated: Thursday 9 July 2020 (12:24pm)