Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


We appreciate that the advice given to date could be open to interpretation.

The guidance only qualifies a “substantial meal” as "a full breakfast, main lunchtime or evening meal". 

The 'meal' must amount to more than a 'bar snack'. The Council does not consider that a sandwich with crisps or other such snacks such as pies or sausage rolls to be a substantial meal. Examples of a substantial meal would include:

  • pie with mashed potato and peas
  • lasagne with salad
  • burger with chips and salad
  • large pizza
  • curry with rice or naan bread
  • 'sunday roast' with carvery meat, roast potatoes and vegetables.  

The meal must be purchased by the customer at the premises and when purchasing the meal the customer may also purchase alcohol.

A reasonable amount of alcohol may be purchased to accompany a meal. 

Allowing the purchase of copious amounts of alcohol to be consumed with the meal, or with the intention that the alcohol is likely to be consumed long after the food has been eaten, is not allowed.

If customers are not eating the food they have ordered and are simply just drinking then premises should stop the supply of alcohol

Yes – you can open to sell purely coffee/teas, cakes and sandwiches as well as light bites. However, if the customer wants alcohol then this must be accompanied by a substantial meal.

Simply, it is a pub that does not sell food.

Exercise classes can have more than 6 people in them in Tier 1 and 2, as long as they follow the COVID secure guidelines (including keeping social distancing). However, you are not allowed to have more than 6 people mixing (closer than 2m).

Carol singing or carol services can take place if all attendees follow advice in the suggested principles of safer singing and guidance for the Performing Arts developed by an expert group coordinated by Public Health England. This applies to both professional and amateur choirs. For adult amateur performances and rehearsals, you should consider the case for proceeding (or not), given the wider health context in your area and the context of your participants, particularly if vulnerable individuals are involved.

If you do proceed, you should follow performing arts guidance and will be subject to local gathering limits. This means that if more than one household (in tier 2) is performing or rehearsing indoors, they must not interact, ‘mingle’ or otherwise socialise together. You should maintain social distancing between groups or households at all times, including when entering or leaving the building or in any breaks. Direction can continue to take place during the activity i.e. between a conductor and a group, but other physical and social interaction is prohibited.

Door-to-door carol singing can take place in a group(s) of no more than six participants. If there are more than six people in total, each ‘group’ must not interact, ‘mingle’ or otherwise socialise. Participants should adhere to public health advice, including to ensure that you maintain at least 2m distance from anyone you do not live with and the threshold of any dwellings.

Performances by pupils, such as nativity plays and other seasonal events, should take place within existing school bubbles and avoid mixing across groups.

Whether audience members, including parents, are permitted to attend festive performances will depend on the tier in their area.

In Tier 2, audiences are permitted to attend, subject to the appropriate safeguards being in place. Schools planning a performance should consult the guidance on music, dance and drama and the performing arts.

If you live in a Tier 3 area, you must continue to follow Tier 3 rules when you travel to a Tier 2 area. You must not stay with anyone you do not live with elsewhere in the UK or visit their home (unless you share a support bubble). People living in a Tier 3 area should only be travelling into Tier 2 when it is an absolute necessity (for example work, education, caring responsibilities, moving home, medical appointment). Travelling into a Tier 2 area to visit a pub or restaurant is not an essential journey.

Government guidance says that you should work from home unless it is impossible for you to do so. If it is not possible to do your job from home, for example if you operate machinery or work in the construction industry, you should return to work if it is safe to do so unless you work in one of the industries that must remain closed.

Visit the GOV.UK website to view the latest Government guidance 

If you are concerned that your employer is not taking all practical steps to promote social distancing or make your workplace safe then you can report this to your local authority or the Health and Safety Executive who can take a range of action, including where appropriate requiring your employer to take additional steps. 

Visit the GOV.UK website for advice on working safely during COVID-19  

There is a legal duty for people to self-isolate if they have been instructed by NHS Test and Trace. Penalties for those breaking the rules, including fines on a sliding scale from £1,000 up to a maximum of £10,000 for multiple breaches. There is also a legal obligation on employers that they must not knowingly enable or encourage their employers to break the law on self isolation. 

Test and trace support payments are part of a new legal duty for people to self isolate, which came into force on 28 September 2020, and ensures that those on low incomes are able to self isolate without worrying about their finances.

Government has asked local authorities to administer the payments. 

To be eligible for the £500 lump-sum test and trace support payment, you must meet the following criteria:

  • have been instructed to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, either because they’ve tested positive or are the close contact of a positive case 
  • are employed or self employed
  • are unable to work from home and will lose income as a result
  • are currently receiving:
    • Universal Credit
    • Working Tax Credit
    • income-based Employment and Support Allowance
    • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income Support
    • Housing Benefit and/or
    • Pension Credit .

Parks and playgrounds are open. You must adhere to social distancing guidelines when you are outside you home. 

Visit the GOV.UK website for information about staying safe outside your home

If you see or know of a businesses or premises that is open that you believe shouldn’t be please report this in confidence by email   

You can meet one person from outside your household if you are outdoors.  You can only do this on a one to one basis. Public gatherings of more than 2 people from different households are prohibited in law.  

Visit the GOV.UK website for information about staying safe outside your home

If you believe someone is breaking social distancing rules you can report this to the police.

Visit the West Mercia Police website to report a possible breach of COVID-19 measures

It is compulsory to wear a face covering on public transport including in taxis and in public indoor settings, unless you have an exemption. 

You may be fined if you do not wear a face covering where required. The police have powers to issue a £200 fine for a first offence (reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days. For repeat offences, the fine will double up to a maximum of £6,400. There is no early payment discount for repeat offence fines. 

Those exempt from wearing a face covering include children under the age of 11, those unable to wear a face covering due to a disability or impairment, or you are communicating who relies on lip reading. For safety reasons, children under the age of three should not wear face coverings. 

Visit the GOV.UK website for a list of exemptions on wearing face masks

A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks used as part of personal protective equipment by healthcare and other workers. These need to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace such as health and care workers. 

A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single adult household) and one other household of any size.

Visit the GOV.UK website to view the Government’s advice on forming a support bubble

Government guidance says that "premises where face coverings are required to take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the law". Reasonable steps include in store communications or notices at the entrance.

Please be mindful that there are exceptions for people who have valid reasons wearing of a face covering may inhibit communication with people who rely on lip reading, facial expressions and clear sound.


The responsibility for compliance rests with the police. However, businesses are asked to take reasonable steps to encourage people to do so but should not routinely ask for written evidence of exemption. In respect of staff, the guidance says "face coverings are not required by law for employees as employers already have a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment". And "employees should continue to follow guidance from their employer based on a workplace health and safety assessment".

Government guidance says "the police can take measures if members of the public do not comply with this law without a valid exemption" and "If necessary, police can issue fines to members of the public for non-compliance".  In practice, the police may not be able to respond to every incident of someone refusing to wear a face covering.

If you have been defined as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus you should work from home. Please stay at home as much as possible, except for exercise outdoors.

If you cannot work from home, there may be support such as Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

If you are clinically vulnerable, you are reminded to minimise contact with others, carefully follow the rules and continue to thoroughly wash your hands, as well as frequently touched areas of your home and workspace.

Visit the GOV.UK website for guidance on people who are clinically extremely vulnerable

You can meet them if they are part of your support bubble. You can only have one support bubble. You can exercise or meet in a public outdoor space with one other person outside of your household.

You can form a childcare link with one other household for childcare purposes where a household has at least one child aged 13 or under.

This means that grandparents/family members can look after your child. However, this must always be between the same two households.

Friends or family you do not live with and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare.

Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and no to enable households to mix indoors otherwise.

You can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders and providers offering before or after school clubs or other out-of-school settings for children. You can also continue to employ nannies, including those living outside of the region.

You must not meet people who you do not live with inside your home (except those in your support bubble). However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule listed below:

  • official/registered tradespeople for work purposes as long as they follow national guidance on how to work safely
  • to provide emergency assistance
  • to attend a birth at the mother’s request
  • to visit a person who is dying
  • to fulfil a legal obligation
  • for work, volunteering or charitable purposes
  • for education or training purposes
  • for the purposes of childcare provided by a registered provider
  • to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • to facilitate a house move (this includes viewing a property)
  • to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as one or more of their parents.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must follow the government’s advice to isolate for a period of 10 full days.

You cannot end your isolation early by getting a negative test.  

After completing the 10 days isolation period, so long as you feel well and you don’t have any temperature, you can return to work – if you can’t work from home or if you wish to return.

You do not need a negative test to return to work.

Support is available to those on low incomes to self-isolate, view more information about support payments