Information for researchers visiting CLF for experiments: Covid-19 guidance
07 Oct 2020



Information for researchers visiting CLF for experiments during the Covid-19 period ​




​STFC is currently at alert level 2, from the 1st of April 2022 STFC will move to Operational Alert Level 1. During this transition period we will move towards a new normal but we continue to ask visitors to follow the guidelines below.


Responsibilities of visiting researchers and their employer / host institution


Although it is no longer legally necessary for Covid-positive persons to self-isolate in England, CLF would continue to ask you not to come in if you have been tested positive. As such, we would request that you take a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) before coming to RAL. This is standard practice for staff at RAL, who are asked to do two tests each week.  We would encourage you to bring LTF kits with you. We can reimburse the costs of the tests kits if necessary. The CLF do have some LTF kits available if required during your stay.

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, and that you have your employer's permission to travel to RAL.

We ask you not to travel to RAL if you have Covid-19 symptoms before travel. However, if you develop Covid-19 symptoms during your stay at CLF, you would be requested to return to your STFC accommodation and take a Covid-19 test (LFT). If you've tested positive, we would recommend you to return home, if it is safe to do so. If you are unable to travel home, the CLF will make provisions for you to continue your stay at STFC accommodation; we will cover all living expenses incurred as a result.

For overseas visitors, it is up to their 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) or your repatriation. 

The UK has removed all travel restrictions and all quarantine rules for overseas visitors will be lifted from April 2022 regardless of their country of origin and vaccination status. However, if they are reinstated in future, STFC will not provide quarantine facilities. Researchers must continue to check the UK travel rules for their home country prior to the travel and if quarantine is necessary on arrival, they must arrange their own accommodation and cannot visit CLF until the quarantine period is over.

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 a responsibility to ensure the safety of our staff and visitors at STFC facilities during the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are visiting CLF for an experiment, you should check with your local contact regarding current requirements. STFC advises visitors to:

  • Wear face coverings in communal areas although this is not mandatory
  • Most CLF offices and laboratories have been equipped with new ventilation systems.  In a few areas, where the  new ventilation systems have not yet been installed,  you will be required to wear a FFP3 mask whilst working
  • Follow good Hygiene practice and continue to use to use the hand sanitiser stations  which will remain in place on our sites
  • Continue to remain respectful of each other personal space.
  •  If you choose to travel off the RAL site during your visit, e.g. shops or a pub, you should observe all precautions that are required, along with regular hand-washing and use of hand sanitiser.

Booking visits to RAL

The CLF User Office remains in operation and can be contacted through the normal email addresses.  Visits no longer require the specific authorisation by the CLF management team nor an invitation letter.

The PI for each experiment will be responsible for the visit, liaising with your local contact and User Office.  

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. Only card / contactless payments are being taken at the moment – no cash. The coffee lounge and café in building R1 is generally open, but check with your local contact as staff shortages due to Covid can lead to its closure.  Vending machines in the experimental halls are being checked and stocked regularly.

Ridgeway House is open for guests, with Covid-19 measures in place – please see and scroll down for the 'Covid User Guide'.  A boxed breakfast or R22 restaurant breakfast voucher is being left for each occupied room each day, and a cooked evening meal can be ordered at Ridgeway or taken at the R22 restaurant as normal.

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 avoid contact with other members your team and CLF/STFC staff.
  1. If you have already checked in to the accommodation facility and are unable to travel home, return to your accommodation and take a Lateral Flow Test in first instance. LFT can be made available for you if you do not have a test kit.  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.  Talk with your local contact if you are not sure how to do this.
  1. You can 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. It's no longer legally necessary to self-isolate if you test positive. As such, you should return home if you can. Ideally you should use private transport (hire cars) but only drive yourself if you can do so safely. It is advisable not to use public transport, but this is not a legal necessity.
  3. If you cannot return due to your personal circumstances, you can remain at STFC accommodation, but should avoid contact with others.
  4. The CLF local contact will identify and inform the other team members who may also need to take a Covid test.
  5. If you continue to use STFC accommodation, 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 test positive (LFT), 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-19 symptoms within 2-days of visiting CLF

  1. You should inform your home institution and your local CLF local contact
  2. You are advised to stay home although this depends on the local rules of your institution
  3. We will ask you to 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. We would encourage you to take a Covid-19 test (Lateral Flow) and inform us the result. We can reimburse the costs of the test, if necessary

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