Covid-19: Business FAQs

What tier is Newcastle in?

Businesses in Newcastle are subject to National Lockdown regulations.

Information about what this means can be found on the Government website here.


On this page

When will the Tiers be reviewed?

All tier restrictions will be reviewed at least every 28 days.

However, if any changes are made it is not yet known when any amendments would come into effect.

What support is available?

What grants and financial support is available?

A range of business grants are available to support businesses impacted by local and national restrictions. 

Details, and the form to apply, can be found on our Covid-19: Grants and Financial Support page here.

Is there any help available for self-employed people? 

You can find more information about the governments Self-employment Income Support Scheme on the Government website here.  

What happens if I can’t afford to pay my staff because of Covid-19? 

The government has extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (known as furlough) until 31 March 2021, to help businesses pay their employee’s salaries if their businesses are affected by coronavirus. 

You can find out more on the Government website here

Can I get advice on how to adapt to new challenges and safeguard jobs?

Our Citylife Business Support service brings together expertise from across the city to offer free support to help small and medium sized businesses develop and implement new plans for their future.

Find out more on our Citylife Business Support page.

How can I ask for further help and advice?

To request further advice and support please email 

What if staff/a customer tests positive?

What do I need to do if a customer informs me that they have tested positive for Covid-19 after being in my bar / restaurant?

You MUST also notify the Council’s Single Point of Contact (SPOC) of any confirmed or suspected cases using the COVID-19 notification online form.

The information on your notification will be assessed and you may be contacted by Environmental Health.

What do I need to do if a member of staff informs me that they have tested positive for Covid-19?

You MUST also notify the Council’s Single Point of Contact (SPOC) of any confirmed or suspected cases amongst your staff using the COVID-19 notification online form.

The information on your notification will be assessed and you may be contacted by Environmental Health.

You will then need to identify if any of your other staff are close contacts of the employee confirmed as having Covid-19. 

What is a close contact?

A contact is a person who has been close to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (through a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test).

You can be a contact anytime from two days before the person who tested positive developed their symptoms, and up to 10 days after, as this is when they can pass the infection on to others.

A contact can be:

  • anyone who lives in the same household as someone with COVID-19 symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • anyone who has:
    • had face-to-face contact including being coughed on or having a face-to-face conversation within one metre
    • been within one metre for one minute or longer without face-to-face contact
    • sexual contacts
    • been within two metres of someone for more than 15 minutes (either as a one-off contact, or added up together over one day)
    • travelled in the same vehicle or a plane

An interaction through a Perspex (or equivalent) screen with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 is not usually considered to be a contact, as long as there has been no other contact.

If you are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 you will be notified by the NHS Test and Trace service via text message, email or phone and should follow this guidance closely.

How do I identify close contacts amongst my staff?

In order to identify who a close contact is of an employee with Covid-19 you will need to look at their work activities in the 48 hours before their symptoms began.

Think about

  • Their work activities or workstation
  • Who was on the same shift
  • Who did the case spend time with on their breaks?
  • Did they travel to work with anyone?
  • Have they been socialising outside of work with other staff?

Once you have that information look at the what a close contact is (See question 3) and whether any of the staff identified are close contacts.

It is important to remember that the wearing of face coverings (and visors) does not remove an individual from being a close contact. However, where staff have been protected by a Perspex screen and have had no contact in or out of work with the case, this then is deemed not to be a close contact.

What do staff identified as close contacts need to do?

Anyone identified as a close contact needs to self-isolate at home for 10 days starting from the date they last had contact with the case because they are at risk of developing symptoms themselves and could spread the virus to others.

Staff should only go for a test if they are displaying symptoms of Covid-19.

Even if the test result is negative they must not return to work until the end of the isolation period.   

For more information see the Government website here.

Can staff not identified as a close contact come to work?

Yes. Staff who have not had close contact with the original confirmed case do not need to self-isolate and can continue to attend work.

A colleague who was at work has been advised to self-isolate and is awaiting test results. What should we do?

Unless you or anyone at work are showing symptoms, there is no need to self-isolate and should continue to work.  

Do I need to close my business if a customer or employee has tested positive?

No. There is no need to close the workplace unless to have been instructed to do so.

Do I need to carry out additional cleaning if someone with Covid-19 has been in my business?  

Yes, you will need to ensure that any work stations or areas in which they employee has spent time have been thoroughly cleaned.

Follow the directions on GOV.UK - Covid-19 Decontamination in non-healthcare-settings

What do I do if a member of staff tells me they are a close contact to someone confirmed as having Covid-19?

If a member of staff has been identified as a close contact, then they must not come to work. They must remain at home and self-isolate.

My staff don’t speak English, do you have this information in other languages?

Yes, information is available on the Government website here.

What should I do if an employee develops symptoms of Covid-19 while at work?

If an employee develops symptoms of Covid-19 however mild, they need to be sent home to self-isolate for at least 10 days from when their symptoms started.

They should arrange to have a test to see if they have Covid-19.

You may wish to direct them to testing to arrange.

Staff health and workplace safety

Should staff be going to work during the coronavirus pandemic? 

Government guidance here states that employees should work from home wherever possible but there are some jobs where this is not possible. 

You should speak to your employees about whether they are required to continue to work at your premises or return to work following the changes.  

Can I force staff to return to work? 

Government guidance here says that everyone should work from home unless it is impossible for them to do so. 

If it is not possible to do a job from home, for example if someone operates machinery or works in the construction industry, then they should return to work if it is safe to do so.

This does not apply to staff who work in industries that must remain closed due to Covid-19 regulations.

I’m worried about the mental health of my staff self-isolating how can I help?

If you have concerns about the mental health of your staff then you may wish to direct them to read the Things we can all do to help take care of our mental health and wellbeing page here.

Enforcement of Covid-19 regulations

How can I report concerns about a business?

To report a concern about Covid secure measures in a business, workplace or other public building please email

Other business support

Where can I find information about non-Covid business support?

For information about the support available for businesses, including support for growth; help to find property; recruitment, training and workforce development; and funding opportunities see our Business Support in Newcastle page here.

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