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Businesses: Test and Trace

NHS Test and Trace is a key part of the country’s ongoing COVID-19 response to help break the chains of transmission of coronavirus. 

Some businesses and venues in certain sectors must have a Test & Trace system to record contact details of customers, visitors and staff. This is the help stop the spread of Covid-19 and reduce hospitalisations and deaths. Specific settings are required by law to display official NHS QR code posters at their venue. 

Contact details 

Designated venues in certain sectors must have a system in place to request and record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff.  These records must be held for 21 days. This  reflects the incubation period for COVID-19 (which can be up to 14 days) and an additional 7 days to allow time for testing and tracing. NHS Test and Trace or Public Health Officers will ask for these records only where it is necessary. Businesses must take steps to comply with General Data Protections Regulation (GDPR). Businesses can be fined for failure to comply.  


The NHS Test & Trace app, which uses QR codes, is a vital part of the NHS Test and Trace service. Benefits of the app include: 

  • Anonymity: the app notification will not mention the name of your venue, just that the app user has recently been to a venue where they have come into contact with coronavirus
  • Speed and Ease: the app is extremely quick and simple to user for both businesses and users as it’s a one click check in system with no “log-in” requirements
  • Data Management: the app is highly secure and data is automatically deleted after 21 days. Users can also delete their own check in data at any point
  • Cost: there is no cost to generate a QR code or for the user to download the app 

Designated venues in certain sectors are also required by law to display official NHS QR code posters at their venue. Find out if your business is required to do this.

Businesses and venues that are not currently expected to maintain visitor logs are encouraged to display official NHS QR codes if they have indoor areas where visitors are likely to congregate or sit-down in close contact for 15 minutes or more.  

By using the NHS QR code system, businesses will be helping to protect themselves and their customers from the impact of the virus.

How to download your QR code 

  1. Enter your verification code into the website form – this will allow you to continue with registration
  2. Next enter your venue/business name and address and continue
  3. Once all your details have been entered and accepted, you will receive an email with the QR code poster
  4. Download and print the poster for display. If you do not have access to a printer, you can display your QR code poster at your venue using digital signage. For example, a TV screen or iPad. If you do not have these then contact your local library who can print it for you for. For more information go to Protect your visitors and staff
  5. Display your poster in a visible place – visitors will then be able to scan the poster to check in

Please visit covid19.nhs.uk for the latest information on the Test and Trace app. Here you will also find a list of common questions for more advice for businesses and organisations and downloadable resources.  

Coronavirus (COVID-19): testing guidance for employers

Some employers may want to introduce their own internal testing programmes outside of the NHS Test and Trace service. This Department for Health and Social Care guidance will help them ensure that their testing programmes are as reliable and effective as possible.   

Reporting outbreaks of Coronavirus

Guidance is available  to make sure that people who run businesses or organisations:

  • know how to recognise and report an incident of coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • are aware of measures local health protection teams may advise in order to contain it

This information is contained within ‘action cards’ that have been designed for specific situations where an outbreak could occur. This could be a restaurant or office, or a construction site. The action cards are designed to be downloaded or printed and kept on hand in your business or organisation.

The action cards are available by sector: 

For more information, please see COVID-19 Early outbreak management