Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Instagram ACS Podcasts Contact details Email us

Coronavirus Testing

The Government has extended COVID-19 testing to essential workers with symptoms and people who live with essential workers and have symptoms. This includes workers involved in the sale of food including convenience retailers and their staff.

Employers can register their staff through a digital employer portal by emailing

Employees are also able to self-register through a separate employee portal.

ACS has developed a template letter that retailers can use to communicate with staff over email, post or display in staff rooms about how to self-refer for testing.

The government has confirmed there are two ways that essential workers can obtain COVID-19 tests:

Employer Referral

  • Employers can use the employer referral portal to refer essential workers who are self-isolating either because they or members(s) of their household have COVID-19 symptoms, for testing.
  • Employers will be able to upload the full list of names and contact details of self-isolating essential workers.
  • If referred through this portal, essential workers will receive a text message with a unique invitation code to book a test for themselves (if symptomatic) or their symptomatic household member(s) at a regional testing site.
  • To obtain a login to the portal, employers should email with two email addresses that will be primarily be used to load essential worker contact details. Once employer details have been verified, two login credentials will be issued for the employer referral portal. (ACS is currently confirming with Government whether employers must provide two email addresses or up to two email addresses)


  • Essential workers who are self-isolating can book a test directly.
  • Two testing processes will be available. These include a regional test site drive-through appointment or a home test kit. 
  • The government has developed guidance on the self-referral process here. Essential workers can book a test directly by clicking here. Please note that the self-referral portal currently states that applications are closed. The Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that there has been significant demand for tests today (24th April) and more tests will be available tomorrow (25th April).  

ACS is currently engaging with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to find out more about the testing process and the employer referral portal. We will be developing a dedicated section on how employers can refer their staff for testing on our coronavirus support webpage shortly.

Please note that this testing process only applies to England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may have they’re only processes. We are currently working with devolved administrations so we can communicate the details of their processes to retailers.