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Clackmannanshire Council Online

Social Distancing Rules for Businesses

Social Distancing Rules for Businesses

We are now in phase 3 of the Scottish Government’s Route Map which has eased the restrictions on certain businesses further; this is good news for business owners whose businesses have been affected the most during the pandemic.

In order to continue to move through the phases of the Route Map, there is a responsibility to continue to comply with the control measures that are already in place i.e. physical distancing, controlling the number of people gathering and increased hygiene measures.

Legal requirement

Physical distancing duties are set out in Regulation 4(1) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. A person who is responsible for carrying on a business or providing a service must take all reasonable measures:

  • to ensure that at least one metre is maintained between any persons on shop premises, two metres in any other premises (except between members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer),
  • to ensure that they only admit people to its premises in sufficiently small numbers to make it possible to maintain that distance,
  • to ensure that a distance of two metres is maintained between any person waiting to enter the premises, including shops (except between members of the same household or a carer and the person assisted by the carer).

All people entering a shop must wear a face covering.  People responsible for a shop (or their employees) do not need to wear a mask if there is a partition between the staff and members of the public or a distance of at least 2 metres can be maintained them and the public.  Shops do not include restaurants, dining rooms, members clubs, cafes, canteens, public houses or banks and building societies, money shops, etc.  Police Scotland are responsible for the regulation of these provisions.

As well as Coronavirus Legislation, business operators have further legal obligations to protect their staff under health and safety legislation, which must also be complied with.

Please see the following link for Health and Safety advice relating to Coronavirus in the workplace. See the step-by-step guide in “Make your workplace Covid-secure” section for businesses preparing to re-open. This guide covers:

  • risk assessment
  • talking with workers
  • PPE
  • cleaning and hygiene

Assessing risk

As a minimum we expect:

  • planning for a restart to be a joint effort between employers and employees with both parties fully contributing as part of an ongoing commitment to work together in ensuring a safe workplace
  • a risk based approach should be followed to protect health and safety of employees and ensure safe working practices which are essential to ensure businesses can effectively restart and trade through the phases


As businesses re-open it is important that those in charge of a business put their own control measures in place to keep their staff, customers and visitors safe while on their premises; this is required by law. It is also important that staff implement these controls in order for them to be effective.

The Scottish Government also produced supplementary guidance for businesses which includes some sector specific advice (see businesses and employers section).

Many businesses were allowed to operate throughout the lock down, below are some examples of the control measures that have been used and been found to be effective in keeping people safe:

  • Identify maximum number of people that can be in the store at the same time to allow for physical distancing (include staff numbers in total count)
  • Determine how staff will maintain 2m distance e.g. separate workstations
  • Appoint a member of staff to monitor numbers within store and to limit numbers when maximum is reached
  • Provide signs with details of social distancing and circulation with floor marking indicators showing route and reminding customers of the 2m distance requirement
  • Provide queues markings at till area
  • Introduce a one-way circulation system if possible
  • Maximise access and introduce one-way entry and exit points (if the layout of the building allows for this)
  • Keep entrances clear and provide queue markings outside the main entrance
  • Phasing of access and opening times
  • Phase delivery timings in loading bays
  • Provide hand sanitiser for customers entering the store
  • Sanitise all hand contact points regularly
  • Provide sanitiser spray for customers to sanitise baskets/trolleys if this service is not provided by your staff
  • Provide staff with personal protective equipment
  • Stagger start/finish times of staff and break times

It is important that employers introduce control measures that are suitable for their business type, premises, workforce and customers.

Regulation and Support

Environmental Health has powers to deal with businesses that do not follow Coronavirus social distancing rules but not the wearing of face coverings. Our approach aims to achieve compliance through engagement, explanation and encouragement with enforcement as a last resort.  We are here to help everyone comply with this new law.

We understand the difficulties business operators are currently facing and the work involved in developing and implementing these additional systems. We would urge businesses to make use of this service if they are unsure of their obligations.

We can help businesses get it right and ensure they fully understand what they are supposed to do.  This will help us engage with them and help them continue to trade by following the rules.

Please contact the team by email at or phone 01259 450000 and ask to speak to Environmental Health.

Further Online Guides

Face Coverings
Working safely during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Talking with your workers about preventing coronavirus
Managing risks and risk assessment at work
Hand sanitiser products and surface disinfectants during the coronavirus outbreak – use, manufacture and supply
Regulating occupational health and safety during the coronavirus outbreak
Legionella risks during the coronavirus outbreak