Information for businesses affected by the coronavirus

Do you own or have responsibility for a business premises in our district?

Our Environmental Health, Food & Safety Team have some specialist advice about how to ensure your safety and that of your staff, your customers and visitors to your premises following the lockdown owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

When the Government decides that you can reopen your business you must make arrangements to promote social distancing, traffic management and infection control.

Social distancing measures must apply equally to staff and to customers.  There must be sufficient staff available to manage any queues safely including related traffic management for takeaways, ‘click and collect’ services and ‘drive through’ facilities.

We have devised a checklist in our downloads section to help you arrange your premises so that social distancing is managed safely. 

You can also visit the government's website on working safely during coronavirus.

Closed buildings

Many business premises will have been temporarily closed during the lockdown period, the closure of buildings can, in certain circumstances allow bacteria to build up in the unused water systems, which can lead to serious illness.

Managing your water systems

We must remind you that it is a legal requirement for internal and external water systems to be managed correctly at all times, even when the building is closed.

We have devised the document ‘The dangers of Legionella for businesses closed during the pandemic' (215.9 KB) PDF to help you with managing the water system when your building may have been partially or fully closed to staff and/or customers.

The practical steps detailed in the leaflet can help you prevent exposure to the harmful Legionella bacteria which can cause Legionnaire’s disease.

If you require any further information or have any queries on the above information please contact the Environmental Health, Food & Safety Team at South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils at

Pavement licences

Through the Business and Planning Act 2020, the government has introduced a new, temporary, fast-track process for businesses to obtain a pavement licence for the placement of furniture such as tables and chairs on the highway (including footpaths and pavements) adjacent to their premises. 

This permission can only be used for the purpose of selling or consuming food and drink in connection with the activity of the main premises, and licences will expire no later than 30 September 2021. This will help businesses to maximise their ability to trade whilst adhering to social distancing guidelines. 

If you’d like more information or apply for this type of licence, please visit our pavement licence page

Further advice for business owners and job seekers

There's lots of advice for business owners, self-employed and job seekers affected by COVID-19, please see our South and Vale Business Support website, including information about how to apply for the government grants including the Discretionary Grant Fund which opened for applications at noon on Wednesday 3 June.

There's lots of information on the government's website.

The government are also delivering a programme of webinars to support employers, employees and the self-employed - watch the first webinar and register for future sessions.

Taxi licences

We can accept email applications for some types of taxi licence but we cannot offer licensing appointments until further notice.   For more information head to our taxi licensing webpage.

Guidance for businesses, food retailers, takeaways and food delivery facilities 

There is important guidance for those businesses which are exempt from the Government’s recent regulations ordering non-essential businesses to close.

The Government’s website states clearly which businesses can stay open and which should be shut.

There is Government guidance for food businesses which can remain open.

If you run a business and are concerned whether your business can remain open or are converting your food business into a takeaway or delivery service and want more information on food hygiene please contact us on or leave a message on 01235 422403

Council officers and Thames Valley Police will monitor compliance with the new business closure regulations. People who manage, own or run businesses and open when they are not exempt from the regulations can be prosecuted and subject to unlimited fines.

If you are concerned that a business in Vale of White Horse or South Oxfordshire districts is failing to comply please report it to the council by email to

We will treat all reports in confidence but request that you provide sufficient information to enable us to investigate your concerns.

Last reviewed: 28 - 07 - 2020

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