Information for researchers visiting CLF for experiments during the Covid-19 period
07 Oct 2020



​​This page gives key information for researchers physically coming for experiments in the CLF.




On Monday 5th July, the PM announced the full lifting of all Covid restrictions from 19th of July.

STFC Executive Board have taken the decision to delay removing site controls till Monday 16th  of August as an extra precaution to provide further safety assurance to staff and visitors to our sites. This means Covid controls will stay in place on our sites until Monday 16 August, at which time STFC will move to Operational Alert Level 2 and all controls will be removed.

Please read below information on the current controls and procedures in place at STFC.


Responsibilities of visiting researchers and their employer / host institution

Whether you are visiting CLF from the UK or overseas, your employer remains responsible for your health and safety while you are undertaking work at CLF, notwithstanding the duty of care CLF owes to you to provide a safe working environment. You should ensure that your employer has pre-prepared plans to support you should you become ill while working at CLF, whether COVID-19 related or not. However, if you develop Covid-19 symptoms during your work at CLF, CLF will arrange provisions for self-isolation in STFC accommodation, ask you to take a Covid-19 test and, if necessary, your continued self-isolation in STFC accommodation if you are tested positive for Covid-19.  For overseas visitors, it is up to the employer to ensure that you are adequately covered by insurance in the event that medical treatment is necessary in the UK (whether Covid-19-related or not).  Your employer may wish to see risk assessments for your visit to CLF, and the User Office can provide these. You should consider doing your own risk assessments for your travel to and from CLF.

STFC will not provide quarantine facilities if it is a requirement for researchers from overseas to isolate for 14 days once they enter the UK.  Researchers must check immediately prior to travel the quarantine status of the bridge between their home country and the UK, and if they choose to travel to the UK under these conditions, they must arrange their own accommodation for quarantine and cannot visit CLF until the quarantine period is over.

Overseas travellers should cancel their travel plans if showing symptoms of Covid-19 before travel. In the event of a visitor becoming ill whilst in CLF, and / or testing positive for Covid-19, then we will allow the visitor to remain in their booked accommodation (at Ridgeway House or the Cosener's House).  We will cover all living expenses incurred as a result of the CLF visitor having to self-isolate in a STFC accommodation.


Please see the section below for more detailed instructions on what to do if you feel ill whilst at RAL.

Health and Safety is our key priority


We have introduced new systems and ways of working to help protect staff and visitors at STFC facilities during the Covid-19 situation.  These include 1-way or prioritised routes around buildings; hand sanitiser readily available; signs and notices to remind everyone to socially distance at 2m; occupancy limits on cabins, experimental areas, etc. 

You will be required to watch the STFC training video in advance of your visit to site – you will not be allowed on site until you have seen this and completed the short on-line test. You will also be required to have facility-specific training, and will receive further guidance from your local experiment contact.

You will have a risk assessment and method statement for your experiment which will include matters related to Covid-19.  Please remember that all the normal hazards found at STFC facilities still exist and should be carefully considered in your work, in addition to Covid-19.


If you choose to travel off the RAL site during your visit, e.g. shops or a pub, you should observe all precautions (face coverings, social distancing) that are required, along with regular hand-washing and use of hand sanitiser.

Booking visits to RAL

The CLF User Office remains in operation (although staff are working from home for most to the time), and can be contacted through the normal email addresses.  The process must be followed in order to visit RAL for experiments until further notice:

  • All visits to CLF must be authorised by CLF management. CLF will inform the Facilities User Office of your visit – this is required at least two weeks in advance of your visit, so it is essential to discuss your visit with your facility contact as early as possible. 
  • The User Office will then send you an invitation email.
  • Following this, you should submit the details of your visit through our online visits system at least one week in advance of your visit.  Please do not do this until you have had an invitation from the User Office.
  • Once the online visit request has been received, and it has been confirmed that all relevant safety training has been completed, the User Office will issue a site pass for you to collect from the RAL Security lodge.

It is very important that you do not come to RAL without having arranged your visit through the User Office and completed the online training – you will not be allowed on site if you have not done this.

Restaurants, and Ridgeway and Cosener's House

The restaurant at RAL is open for take-away meals, and has been reconfigured to allow socially-distanced seating. There are two separate routes through the restaurant – one for hot food, one for cold.  Only card / contactless payments are being taken – no cash. The coffee lounge and café in building R1 are currently closed.  Vending machines in the experimental halls are being checked and stocked regularly.

You can see a short video showing what the R22 restaurant is like at the moment here:  Since the video was produced, the seating area of the restaurant has been re-opened to allow a limited number of guests to eat meals with appropriate social distancing.

Ridgeway House is now open for guests,– please see and scroll down for the 'Covid User Guide'.  A boxed breakfast is being left for each occupied room each day, and a cooked evening meal can be ordered.

The Cosener's House is also open, and further details can be found here:

If you become unwell whilst at an STFC site

If you become unwell during your stay, and particularly if you show symptoms of Covid-19, you should follow the procedure below:

  1. You should inform your home institution, your local STFC local contact (by phone) and your accommodation provider.
  2. You should self-isolate straight away. 
  1. If you have already checked in to the accommodation facility and are unable to travel home, return to your accommodation to self-isolate.  You should inform the accommodation reception team.  Please contact the reception team from your room telephone for any requirements.
  2. If you have not checked in to the accommodation facility and are unable to travel home, you should contact the accommodation facility to arrange accommodation for you to self-isolate in.  Talk with your local contact if you are not sure how to do this.
  1. You should make arrangements via NHS 111 to arrange a Covid-19 test through the UK NHS. Users can request a home test kit to be delivered to the accommodation if they can't use private transport (hire car) to travel to a test in a local NHS test centre.
  2. If you are confirmed to have coronavirus (COVID-19), you should return home if you can do so by car. You should use private transport (hire cars) but only drive yourself if you can do so safely. Public transport should not be used.
  3. If you cannot reasonably return home you can remain at STFC accommodation.
  4. The CLF local contact will identify and inform the other team members that may also need to self-isolate.
  5. The CLF local contact will have regular contact with you to check if you need further assistance.
  6. If symptoms worsen then your circumstances should be discussed with an appropriate health care professional.


Whilst you are isolating, rooms will not be cleaned during your stay.  Meals will be served to your room and will be left outside the room door, and disposables will be used for cutlery, etc.   Fresh linen and towels will be provided as required and will be left outside the bedroom door. Linen bags and additional waste bags will be provided for used linen and rubbish, and all should be retained in the room until a negative Covid-19 test or checkout when it will be left for 72 hours before cleaning or disposal.

If you develop Covid-19symptoms within 2-days of visiting CLF

  1. You should inform your home institution and your local CLF local contact
  2. You should self-isolate straight away. 
  3. Identify personnel who have been in close-contact with you within the past 48 hours. Close contact is working at or less than 2m for an extended period (> 15 minutes) or at 1m or less for however short duration.
  4. You should make arrangements via NHS 111 to arrange a Covid-19 test through the UK NHS.
  5. You should inform us the result of your Covid-19 test

Contact: Towrie, Helen (STFC,RAL,CLF)