COVID-19 – ADVICE FOR ANIMAL RELATED BUSINESSES AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES IN ENGLAND
11th May 2020 (This guidance is subject to change depending on Government advice)
This guidance has been updated in the light of revised Government advice (11.5.20) on Coronavirus to balance public health protection requirements and the need for businesses to keep working. There remains no evidence that pets are implicated in the transmission of Coronavirus to people and infection of the pet is unlikely, but that there is some risk of virus being carried by pets and their belongings. However the risk of transmission between infected clients and business staff remains and the disease status of the client, if known, will assist in risk assessment.
The status of a household is an important element of risk assessment. Clearly contact with an infected or self-isolating household carries a higher risk than with any other. The risk to the household of shielding or vulnerable people is greater and therefore requires more precautions. Because there is some possibility of the pet carrying virus between households it is appropriate to evaluate the risk in each circumstance to minimise the public health consequences. It is inevitable that the status of a household can change from one group to another and that the precautions suitable for the pet will change at the same time.
The simple precaution of washing hands for twenty seconds as frequently as possible should now be intrinsic in every activity. In this advice document it is assumed that hand washing and social distancing are intrinsic in all activities.
CFSG has produced a handover protocol between people walking friends’ and neighbours’ dogs. The protocol should also be used when handing over dogs between a business and the client.
Where it is recommended that a pet is wiped down the cloth used should be disposable and similar to the size and material of a J-cloth. It should be thoroughly wetted and squeezed first, used to wipe down the pet and should then disposed of directly into a waste bin. Do not re-use the cloth. You should not use any disinfectant.
Social distancing rules must be observed throughout every activity. This is a 2 metre distance between each individual. If at all possible, and if it is safe to do so, any handovers should be done outside. Risk assessments need to be undertaken to ensure the business is working in a safe way to protect members of staff and the public. The principles have been set out by the government.
Guidance on which journeys are appropriate is taken from UK Government Guidance on Social Distancing published 11.5.20.
In all circumstances where payment is included in a process the use of cash should be avoided. Where possible payment should be made using a credit or debit card or by electronic banking.
Groomers and their clients should consider whether the necessary human contact and journeys may be better delayed to protect public health. In many cases, groomers may, therefore, consider that maintaining contact with clients remotely and offering advice to them about their pet’s coat is the safest outcome for all concerned.
An owner may take and collect a pet by vehicle to be groomed by appointment. The necessity for an appointment is to ensure social distancing between clients. If dogs are brought to site owners should remain in their vehicles until staff are ready to accept their dog. You should only have one person in the reception area at a time. The handover protocol (see below) set out by CFSG should be followed and should take place in a room or space large enough for the client and staff to maintain their social distance.
Groomers can collect dogs from client’s homes as long as they can disinfect their vehicle between collections. Pets from infected or self-isolating households should be collected individually and separately from other dogs in different journeys and after pets from other non-infected households. A client may walk their dog to be groomed by appointment. Once the dog has been groomed either the dog may be walked home or the groomer may return the dog. Social distancing should be maintained at all times and the handover protocol set out by CFSG should be followed (see below) with the owner retaining all equipment such as leads.
Multiple dogs may be taken in at a time where a grooming salon has sufficient space to separate them and for groomers to maintain social distancing whilst working. Dogs from self-isolating or infected households should not be admitted until the household is clear. Admission and return of dogs must be by appointment only to ensure social distancing where the reception area is large enough to do so. Where clients bring their dogs to the salon when possible they should wait in the car until the salon is ready to accept the dog. The reverse procedure should be used for return. The handover protocol set out by CFSG should be followed with the operator wiping the dog down with a pet-safe disposable damp cloth which should be disposed of properly afterwards even though they may be bathed later in the procedure.