Social distancing in the workplace – NCC Guidance

Not everyone can work from home. The government understands that employers and businesses may have concerns about how they can remain open for business safely, and so play their part in preventing the spread of the virus.

On the .gov website, there is tailored advice for different scenarios as an example of how social distancing and other measures might be implemented by employers in England to help protect their workforce and customers from coronavirus while still continuing to trade.

Pick-up and delivery services

You should ensure that no orders are taken in person on the premises. You should only take orders online or by telephone and communicate this to customers by clear signage in store and online.

The advice on social distancing measures applies to everyone and you should take steps to maintain a distance of 2 metres between individuals, wherever possible.


Where customers are collecting items, they should have staggered collection times. When customers whose orders are ready enter, they should enter one at a time to collect orders and make payments, maintaining a safe distance.

Where queuing is taking place, you should use queue management systems to maintain a safe distance.


Delivery drivers should be advised that no goods or food should be physically handed over to the customer. There should instead be a set drop-off point agreed in advance.

Tradespeople working in people’s homes

Tradesperson carrying out essential repairs and maintenance in people’s homes (or caravans – NCC), you can continue work, providing that you are well and have no symptoms. You should notify all clients in advance of your arrival.

On entry to the home you should wash your hands using soap and water for 20 seconds. You should wash your hands regularly, particularly after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing, and when leaving the property. Where facilities to wash hands are not available, hand sanitiser should be used, and you should carry this with you at all times.

You should maintain a safe distance (at least 2 metres) from any household occupants and ensure good ventilation in the area where you are working, including opening the window.

No work should be carried out in any household which is isolating or where an individual is being shielded, unless your work is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household, such as emergency plumbing or repair.

No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.

Manufacturing and processing businesses

Where it is not possible to follow the social distancing guidelines in full in relation to a particular activity, you should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to continue to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between staff.

If you decide the work should continue, staff should work side by side or facing away from each other if possible. You should increase the frequency of cleaning procedures, pausing production in the day if necessary for cleaning staff to wipe down workstations with disinfectant.

You should assign staff to the same shift teams to limit social interaction.

You should not allow staff to congregate in break times; staff should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or more at the beginning and end of every break, when they arrive at work and before they leave. To help with this, you should consider providing additional pop-up handwashing stations or hand sanitiser.

When entering and leaving, you should ensure your workforce stays 2 metres apart as much as possible. Colleagues must only come into work if they are well and no one in their household is self-isolating.

This advice is for general guidance only – it is extracted from Government guidance which you are advised to consult for fuller information. The Health and Safety Executive also has some useful advice.

There is specific information for construction, logistics and outdoor businesses, where it is not possible for workers to observe social distancing guidelines at all times. There is also information for transport businesses and about car-pooling.

ACAS also provides some good practice steps for employers.

NB There is separate advice for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.