Important COVID-19 Update to Businesses

Important Update

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 28 May 2020

Stay Alert > Control The Virus > Save Lives

NHS Test and Trace Service Launched

The new NHS Test and Trace service has launched today across England. The service will help identify, contain and control Coronavirus, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.

By following The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy  (BEIS) guidance, employers can reduce the risk of co-workers having to self-isolate if a member of staff tests positive for COVID-19.

This information explains how employers and businesses can play their part in the NHS Test and Trace programme to slow the spread of the virus, protect the health and care system and save lives.

Test and Trace Graphic

What is the NHS Test and Trace Service?

COVID-19 Testing

The NHS Test and Trace service:

  • provides testing for anyone who has symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19) to find out if they have the virus.
  • gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had.
  • alerts those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them they need to self-isolate to help stop the spread of the virus.

By following instructions to self-isolate, people who have had close recent contact with someone with Coronavirus will be protecting their family, friends, colleagues and other people around them, and will play a direct role in stopping the spread of the virus.

Find out how Test and Trace relates to your business NHS test and trace: workplace guidance.

How Can Employers Help?


It is vital that employers play their part by making their workplaces as safe as possible, by encouraging workers to heed any notifications to self-isolate and by supporting them when in isolation. Although this may seem disruptive for businesses, it is less disruptive than an outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace will be, and far less disruptive than periods in lockdown.

The NHS Test and Trace service is designed to support businesses and economic recovery by:

  • providing testing for anyone who has symptoms of Coronavirus, so that if they have been tested positive, they and their household member know to continue to self-isolate.
  • helping to stop the onward spread of the virus in the workplace and wider society, so that fewer people develop Coronavirus and have to self-isolate.
  • enabling the Government to go further in safely easing or lifting lockdown measures, as far as it is deemed safe to do so, thereby allowing the nation to return to normal as quickly as possible.

To facilitate the NHS Test and Trace service, employers should encourage workers to heed any notifications to self-isolate and provide support to these individuals when in isolation.

Find more information here on NHS test and trace: workplace guidance

Guidance should be used together with:

What if There's a Workplace Outbreak?


If multiple cases of Coronavirus appear in a workplace, an outbreak control team from either the local authority or Public Health England will, if necessary, be assigned to help the employer manage the outbreak.

Employers should seek advice from their local authority in the first instance. 

For further detailed information on all guidance for employers, go to: NHS test and trace: workplace guidance

DCC - National Beacon Council

Devon County Council logo

Local councils are to play a central role in developing new local track and trace plans for their local areas. 

Devon County Council is one of 11 national Beacon Councils – the only one in the South West – and will help lead and share good practice across the region. Find out more at Devon County Council's News Centre.