UK Government recommends use of walkie talkies

by Andrew Hughes – 27th May, 2020

GP340 radio in charger

The UK Government has suggested that walkie talkies may be a good way to maintain social distancing in workplaces to make them COVID-Secure. We’ve been taking a look at a practical example – a garden centre.

COVID-Secure Government Guidance

As the UK Government begins to ease the Coronavirus lockdown cautiously, businesses and establishments are being encouraged to carry out a procedure to become COVID-Secure. This is not dissimilar to a risk assessment.

Different organisations should be carrying out different processes and the government has provided guidance for each sector. In the advice for “Construction and other outdoor work” the government specifically mentions that walkie talkies may provide a way to keep staff as far apart as possible in the workplace.

Case Study – a garden centre.
Using radios in a COVID-Secure garden centre

I recently took a trip to a London garden centre where I saw a fantastic example of walkie talkies in action. Like many garden centres, this one lends itself naturally to social distancing because it has a separate entrance and exit which produces a natural one-way system effect. One member of staff was on duty and the entrance as well as another colleague at the exit, each with a walkie talkie.

I queued at the entrance, received a trolley with a cleaned handle and was given a squirt of hand gel. The staff used the tone feature on the radios to communicate customer numbers. Two beeps meant that two customers had left the centre, so two more could be allowed in. By using the tone features on the radios, the staff were able to communicate very clearly with hardly any verbal communication.

The beauty of using walkie talkies over say a mobile telephone is that there is always an established communication (no requirement to initiate a call) and battery life on a radio is likely to be far better than that on a mobile.


Read the government guidelines here: gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/.

You can see our walkie talkie hire range: radiofacilities.com/walkie-talkie-hire.